On Thursday in Clearwater, an unfortunate ump learned the sad truth about Cole’s mindset; namely, it never gets turned off.
Watching a Cole spring training start can be frustrating only because, well, any skittish Yankee fan is worried about both bullets being potentially wasted and the risk/reward of the whole situation.
If Cole goes hard? You cringe with every pitch, even if you don’t want to admit it. If Cole takes his foot off the gas pedal? You get secretly frustrated with every home run he allows to the Detroit Tigers (do not bring up that Miguel Cabrera 2020 game, please).
Then, sometimes, you get to turn your anxiety off for just a few precious minutes and revel in the fact that Gerrit Cole actually pitches for the New York Yankees.
Thursday was one of those starts, in which Cole was irrationally angry and typically funky from the get-go.
Yankees ace Gerrit Cole has angry energy in any month.
Amid all the things Cole brings to the Yankees — most importantly, the clear and persistent threat of an ace in every deciding game — his bulldoggedness tends to get overlooked.
Sometimes, though, it simply helps to have a gamer in big spots. And it really helps when said gamer also happens to throw 98 with a devastating knuckle-hook and changeup. And it really really helps when that gamer grew up a Yankee fan, and lives and dies with every pitch the way every fan in the stands does.
Of course, some people (read: Ex-World Champion Boston Red Sox) were a bit salty about his spring display.
Yeah, Kevin Youkilis never once whined about a perceived slight while on the field. This is a great point. Frame it.
The Yankees are at their best when they’re feared and despised by their opponents instead of laughed at for being gaudy and mostly a facade.
Forget Cole’s contract; remember his sneer.