Here it is ... the FIRST picture of Gerrit Cole as a New York Yankee sans his famous beard -- and we gotta say, IT LOOKS WEIRD!!!
The new Yanks' ace adhered to team policy ahead of his introductory press conference Wednesday ... ditching his face fur for the first time in a LONG time.
You can see the 29-year-old looks about 5 years younger ... and if you saw his reaction to being forced to chop off his scruff earlier this week -- ya can tell he was dreading this moment.
But, Cole does kinda look fresh ... and seeing as he had about 324 MILLION reasons to pick up the razor this week, it was probably a good call.
As for his long hair, doesn't seem Cole's got around to cuttin' that down just yet ... but it looks like Yankees' brass might let it slide if he goes with a little product in it.
By the way, the press conference is still ongoing ... but it's pretty clear the Yanks are STOKED to have the guy in pinstripes for the next 9 years ... GM Brian Cashman even handed Cole's wife a bouquet of roses!!
Oh, and Cole even showed up with the same sign he brought to Yankee Stadium when he was a fan of the team as a kid!!
Welcome to NY!
Gerrit Cole has arrived in NYC -- and here's the first video of the superstar pitcher talking about his new team, his new $324 million deal ... and the Yanks famous NO-BEARD policy!
The 29-year-old was swarmed by fans on the way into the Mandarin Hotel in New York where he signed baseballs, posed for selfies and was super nice to the media.
The questions were rapid-fire ... but here's the gist of it.
-- Cole says signing with the Yanks was a hard decision, which is shocking considered he had 324 MILLION reasons to put pen to paper.
-- Cole explained why he's excited to be a part of one of the most storied franchises in all of pro sports ... "The history. The fans. Competitiveness."
-- And, the beard ... that famous, beautiful beard? He seems to be coming to terms with the fact it's a goner.
We asked Gerrit if he would try and keep his scruff or if he would embrace the Yanks decades-long, clean-cut tradition.
"That's nuts," Cole said ... before saying he would "unfortunately" part ways with his face-warmer. (At least that's what it sounded like he told us. It was super loud.)
The Yankees' courtship of Cole has been one of the biggest stories in baseball ... the guy had a ton of suitors in free agency these past few weeks -- from the Yanks to the Dodgers to the Angels. Everyone was willing to throw insane amounts of cash at him.
Of course, Cole ultimately landed with NY ... and despite him saying it wasn't the easiest choice ever -- he added he's sure as hell happy he made it.
Cole's official welcome press conference is set for Tuesday -- so enjoy the beard while you still can.
Sorry, Boston ... Roger Clemens is predicting a MONSTER career for Gerrit Cole with the New York Yankees, telling TMZ Sports, "It's gonna be great, man."
Cole just inked the fattest contract EVER for a pitcher ... signing a 9-year, $324 MILLION deal to play in pinstripes.
When we got Clemens out in NYC ... he told us he has ZERO doubts the 29-year-old is going to live up to that lofty deal -- saying the ace is just that good.
"We're going to miss him in Houston," Clemens says.
Of course, the Rocket knows a thing or two about succeeding in NY ... the dude is a Yanks LEGEND -- and he tells us Cole's got the right makeup to succeed at Yankee stadium.
"He absolutely does," Clemens says.
As for off the mound ... Roger is just as high on Cole there -- telling us, "He's a better person than he is a pitcher. That's how good a kid he is."
Music to Brian Cashman's ears!!
Gerrit Cole just got PAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIDDDDDDD!!!
The superstar ace reportedly just signed a new 9-year, $324 MILLION contract with the New York Yankees ... making him the highest-paid pitcher EVER!!!
Cole was electric for the Houston Astros the past two years ... piling up 602 strikeouts in 412.2 innings, and he finished second in the AL Cy Young voting just a couple weeks ago.
He was the hottest free agent on the market this offseason ... with the Yanks, L.A. Angels and L.A. Dodgers reportedly falling all over themselves to ink the 29-year-old.
But, bidding ended Tuesday night ... 'cause Cole signed the biggest pitcher contract of all-time to move from Texas to New York.
In case you're wondering just how massive of a deal it is ... if Cole makes 33 starts for the Yankees this year like he did for the 'Stros last year -- he'll make more than $1 MIL PER OUTING!!!
The one downside for Cole to all of this? The Yankees don't allow facial hair, so his beard will have to go in 2019.
But, hey, at least he can afford a nice razor!!!
The Yankees shouldn't put all their eggs in the Gerrit Cole basket ... because it's gonna take more than one star pitcher to make NY a legit contender, so says Johnny Damon.
Of course, the Yankees are trying like hell to sign the former Houston Astros star -- they reportedly sent everyone from GM Brian Cashman to Yanks legend Andy Pettitte to California this week to meet with the free agent.
29-year-old Cole was a STUD in 2019 -- finishing 2nd in a CLOSE Cy Young race to his teammate, Justin Verlander.
"He's a great pitcher," Damon tells TMZ Sports ... but he notes, "They need to get a couple of great pitchers because they haven't won a World Series since they got this one (shows his ring)!"
Damon was a part of the championship Yankees team that beat the Phillies in 2009.
"It's been 10 years so they need to do what they can."
Sources close to Kanye tell us ... Ye and Joel will take center stage at baseball's cathedral on May 2, 2020 for a mega event that certainly plays like a tour stop. The NYC event is part of Joel's "America's Night of Hope" ... which he takes to several cities across the country.
We're told Joel will do his sermon at Yankee Stadium, and then let Kanye and his choir do their thing with the music. Call it a double play, considering the setting, similar to what they did a few weeks ago in Houston.
If Joel's past appearances at Yankee Stadium are any indication, this one's sure to sell out quickly ... especially now that Kanye's involved. The stadium has a max capacity of 54,251 ... almost 10,000 more than Lakewood.
This will be Joel's third time doing 'Night of Hope' at the Stadium, but his first with Ye.
Our sources tell us the Lakewood get-together went so well, Joel recently asked Kanye about when they will do a sequel ... and they agreed Yankee Stadium would be the perfect backdrop. They're coordinating details now.
As far as how much these tickets might go for ... they could be decently priced. Past tickets for 'Night of Hope' sermons have gone for $15 a pop, but nothing's set in stone quite yet.
"Alright, I'm about to a hit home run because I know what pitch is coming!"
Yankees outfielder Clint Frazier SAVAGELY roasted the Houston Astros on his Twitch stream Tuesday ... throwing shade at the AL champs over their alleged use of trash bins in their 2017 cheating scandal.
The clip is pretty hilarious ... Frazier -- who's in the middle of a Call of Duty stream -- hits his virtual gun on some empty cans and says, "Two bangs, slider!"
After his avatar eventually goes down, he ribs the 'Stros some more, adding, "He said two bangs was a curveball and he banged twice and it was a heater!"
Of course, Houston is accused of stealing signs with video cameras 2 years ago and using dugout trash bins to relay the message to its hitters.
While it's a joking matter for Frazier -- who didn't make the Yankees' playoff roster when they played the Astros in the 2017 ALCS -- most guys in the MLB ain't laughin'.
Houston's penalty will reportedly be STEEP if it's found guilty ... and Yankees players and fans are still (rightfully) pissed over the whole deal.
In fact, CC Sabathia just said Tuesday he still sometimes wakes up "angry" over the whole issue!!!
But, hey, sometimes ya just gotta laugh to keep from crying!
Here's proof CC Sabathia gave EVERYTHING he had to try to get the Yankees another World Series title ...
TMZ Sports got the former MLB ace out in NYC on Tuesday ... and he was sporting a bulky brace on his pitching arm.
When we spoke to sources close to the 39-year-old, they told us he needed surgery last week to clean up the mess he made in his left arm after pitching for the Yanks against Houston in the ALCS.
Tough dude, right?!
As for his future, a timeline for recovery doesn't matter much anymore ... Sabathia is done pitching for good -- and if you expect to see him around the diamond next year, don't count on it.
The guy told reporters Tuesday he has ZERO interest in managing or broadcasting ... and seems he wasn't kidding when he told us earlier this year he's looking to do a ton of fishing in retirement!
Giancarlo Stanton is ready for two more superstar teammates ... the Yankees outfielder tells TMZ Sports he wants NYY to sign BOTH Gerrit Cole AND Stephen Strasburg!!
"You can never go wrong with Cole and Strasburg!" Stanton says.
The two stud pitchers are set to be free agents this offseason after epic playoff runs for the Astros and Nats respectively ... and when we got Stanton outside of Il Pastaio, he made his Pinstripes pitch to both guys.
"I'm pretty sure Gerrit grew up a Yankees fan, so he'd always like to do that," Stanton tells us. "And, Stras, we debuted together, so he'd like that!"
As for if there'd be any jealousy in a clubhouse full of superstars adding TWO MORE to the mix ... Stanton says hell no, telling us, "You can never have too many!"
So, could it actually happen? Maybe. Both guys are reportedly in line for some MASSIVE contracts, and everyone knows the Yankees have the cash to bring in big free agents.
By the way, Stanton -- who only played in 18 of 162 regular season games -- also tells us he's ALREADY working to make sure a repeat of his injury-shortened 2019 season doesn't happen again next year.
The 29-year-old slugger says he's trying to start his workouts WAY earlier this offseason ... and showed us he's serious about it -- already decked out in gym attire!
As for his future in NY, Stanton tells us, despite the rocky start to his Yanks career ... he's all in with the squad, saying, "We got to bring a championship. That's what we need."
CC Sabathia just wrote a goodbye letter to his New York teammates and the sport of baseball altogether ... and we gotta say, it's getting a little dusty in here.
With the Yanks getting eliminated by the Astros on Saturday ... the future Hall of Famer's career is now over -- and he took some time to reflect on it on social media Monday.
"Through the ups and downs, baseball has always been my home," 39-year-old Sabathia wrote ... "From Cleveland, to Milwaukee, New York, and everywhere in between, I'm so thankful to have experienced this journey with every teammate past and present."
Sabathia tried to pitch through injuries to get the Yanks past Houston and into another World Series ... but he couldn't quite finish the run, reinjuring himself in Game 4.
Still, the pitching legend got a huge ovation from fans when he walked off the NY mound for the final time last week.
"I'm so proud of this year's team, we fought til the end," Sabathia said, "Love you guys!"
CC added, "I'm going to miss going out there on the mound and competing, but it's time to say farewell. Thank you, baseball."
WE'RE NOT CRYING, YOU'RE CRYING!!!
Barring a miracle, Sabathia's career ended Thursday night ... when the 39-year-old star pitcher was forced to leave Game 4 of the Yankees-Astros ALCS game when his knee buckled on the mound. The Yanks are 1 game away from elimination ... and CC's retiring after this season.
So, when former longtime manager Joe Girardi -- who managed CC from 2009-2017 -- was asked to talk about the legendary hurler during his MLB Network TV gig, it got emotional.
"That was not the way I wanted to see it end for him."
"CC, you're a Hall of Fame pitcher that was as tough as any man I was ever around, what you went through on a daily basis to just be able to get on the mound."
"You were a great husband. You were a great father. You were probably the greatest teammate I've ever been around because of your ability to pull all 25, sometimes all 50 people together in the clubhouse."
Girardi continued, and this is where it really gets emotional ... "And, you were the guy I always wanted on the mound when we needed a win. And, it was a privilege for me to manage you for 9 years. I love you, man."
WE'RE NOT CRYING, YOU'RE CRYING!!!!
If this is it for the 251-game winning, 6x All-Star and 2007 AL Cy Young winner -- and it certainly looks like it's a wrap -- Sabathia's next stop is likely Cooperstown
Salute to CC ... where the tissues at?
Here's MLB legend Jeff Bagwell happy as hell he's not on the Yankees right now ... 'cause he tells TMZ Sports the way Gerrit Cole is currently pitching is straight-up scary!!
"He's the closest thing I've seen to Randy Johnson," the Astros legend says ... "He's tough. He's a monster out there."
Cole has been mowing down lineups all season ... and nothing's changed so far in the playoffs -- especially in Houston's HUGE Game 3 win over the Yanks on Tuesday.
Bagwell -- one of the greatest power hitters ever -- says it's truly impressive what the flamethrower has been able to do over the last few months.
"He's just a different animal," Bagwell says ... "There's something out there when he's on the mound where it just looks like he feels like he's just better than you."
In fact, Bagwell is so impressed by GC ... he says it actually reminds him of when Randy Johnson was shoving for the 'Stros back in 1998!!
By the way, we also asked Jeff about his confidence level in Houston for the rest of this ALCS ... and he also gave us his take on the MLB's alleged ball juicing this season.
Listen up, Marlins fans ... Derek Jeter says Miami WILL have a playoff squad to cheer for eventually -- he tells TMZ Sports it's just going to take a little more time!!!
"I preach patience," Jeter says. "I don't have any myself, but we'll get there!"
The Marlins have been pretty awful since DJ took over as part-owner of the team ... and a lot of people are bent by the fact that No. 2 has traded away Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, J.T. Realmuto AND Marcell Ozuna in the last few years.
But, when we got Jeter out at his annual Turn 2 Foundation Dinner in New York Monday night ... he told us he's got a plan -- and he's sure it's all going to work out.
RIP OFF YOUR SHIRT AND BEAT ON YOUR CHEST LIKE KING KONG, NICK TURTURRO!!!!
The "NYPD Blue" star lost his friggin' mind Monday night when the Yankees swept the Minnesota Twins out of the playoffs ... and Nick busted out the broom at his home to make the point!
Of course, Nick is a diehard Yanks fan ... like, probably in an unhealthy way.
But, the dude couldn't have been happier watching the Yanks hang 5 on the Twins -- the adrenaline took hold, the shirt came off and the self-flagellation began!
Aaron Judge made 2 of his biggest fans bawl their eyes out ... but they definitely weren't sad tears, 'cause the MLB slugger hooked them up with his bat and gloves!!
The moment is incredible ... a little girl and boy got to meet their favorite player on the field before NY faced off against the Rays in Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
But, Judge -- who's always down to meet his small supporters -- didn't want them to leave empty-handed ... gifting the boy his bat and the girl his batting gloves!!
The kids' reactions will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside ... as they start sobbing with happiness when they realize what just happened. The girl even collapsed to the dirt with emotion!!
Judge knows what these moments mean to his fans ... remember, last month he surprised a little kid whose dad just recently died.
Props to Aaron Judge for this ... these kids will NEVER forget it.
Yankees legend David Cone is calling Domingo German's domestic violence investigation a "sad" situation ... and tells TMZ Sports losing the pitcher is going to really affect NY.
"It's sad," Cone says. "The whole thing is sad. I don't know what the details are, but it really hurts the Yankees."
German was placed on Administrative Leave by the MLB last Thursday after an allegation of domestic violence was reported to the league.
No police report was filed in the incident ... and details of the accusation are still unclear -- but what is known is German seems VERY unlikely to pitch again in pinstripes this season.
Cone obviously thinks that's a pretty big loss for the Yanks ... 'cause the 27-year-old was 18-4 with 153 strikeouts in 143 innings -- and NY's pitching staff ain't exactly the best.
But, good news for Yankees fans ... Cone seems pretty confident CC Sabathia can pick up the slack, 'cause he tells us the guy is 1st-ballot Hall of Famer with an unreal resume.
"I think he's one of the best pitchers of his generation," Cone says.
Yankees will begin their quest to win their 28th World Series title next week ... though it's still unclear who their starting pitcher will be for Game 1 of the playoffs.