Before traveling to Southern California two weeks ago to meet with Gerrit Cole, the Yankees filled a container shaped like a home plate that housed tablets with reams of information on the organization.
“Background on the Steinbrenners, front office, background on the player development, where to live in Manhattan, where to live outside of the city, and it was quite nice,’’ Cole said Wednesday at a Yankee Stadium press conference after his nine-year, $324 million deal was official.
Tucked inside the structure was a bottle of Masseto Merlot courtesy of Lou Cucuzza Jr. who runs the visiting clubhouse at Yankee Stadium. During visits to The Bronx, Cole would spend time in Cucuzza’s office and talk about wine and other subjects. The pitcher mentioned the wine he and wife Amy celebrated an anniversary with in Italy, and when it came time for the meeting, Cucuzza mentioned Masseto should be included in the package.
“I am really good friends with Lou. He is just about as classy as it gets,’’ Cole said. “There are clubhouse guys who are close to my heart and Lou is one of them.’’
Cole showed Cucuzza a picture of a meal he and his wife shared in Florence, and…