CC Sabathia’s premature announcement that this would be his final season if the Yankees win it all should come as a disappointing, though inevitable event for fans of baseball everywhere, and especially here in New York. If only it were just about his pitching, it wouldn’t be so bad…
CC Sabathia is a man in a big frame with a big heart. He will turn 38 this July and still pitches like he is 28. No, let me refine that. He pitches far differently now than high and tight fastball artist he was then, but he still holds onto the one skill all pitchers must have, which is to get hitters out any which way you can.
CC Sabathia is important to New York and the Yankees for reasons that go far beyond his talent as a pitcher. Along with Brett Gardner, new Yankees manager, Aaron Boone, did not hesitate even as far back as February to add another tier to Sabathia’s role with the Yankees, telling NJ.com:
And given all the young and impressionable talent the Yankees have on their squad these days, if Sabathia had settled only into that role, it would have been enough. Except Sabathia has kicked up everything with his performance on the mound as well.
Sabathia has made six starts for the Yankees in 2018 and is 2-0 with an ERA of 1.39 and a minuscule WHIP of 0.886. His strikeouts are down considerably (23 in 32+ innings), but that is more than offset by his surrendering a mere five walks.
In short, CC Sabathia is now a pitcher’s pitcher and something to behold because it will be a long time before the likes of him ever stand on the mound at Yankee Stadium again.
It goes well beyond that, though, because Sabathia is also a man’s man. Yankees players and fans will recall the fateful weekend in 2015 in Baltimore just after he had pitched the Yankees to a victory over the Red Sox, propelling the team into the playoffs when Sabathia went on a weekend-long bender that, forcefully removed him from the stay for a postseason stay in rehab.
Everyone in the Yankees organization, fans, and of course, his family rallied around Sabathia because they knew and trusted in him, that this wasn’t likely something to be recycled for the remainder of his life. Nothing has changed, and Sabathia is still an alcoholic, he just doesn’t drink anymore. He’s a husband, a father, and he pitches baseballs for the New York Yankees.
At some point this season, probably in late June or early July around All-Star game time, it’s likely CC Sabathia will either be forced to shut down for a short while with a minor injury, or the Yankees will invent something to five him at least a two-start respite. It’s been that way for the last two seasons and this year should be no different.
Sabathia’s aching and punished body will get the rest it deserves with, hopefully, some quality family time sprinkled in as well. And then, he’ll come back as strong as ever ready to make the push through September and beyond.
When CC Sabathia finally decides to cash in his chips, a discussion will immediately ensue regarding his election to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The point is moot for now. But it’s likely Sabathia will fall in that middle ground Jack Morris found himself in for so many years until he was finally elected.
From where I sit though if the electors follow their own rules as stated in Rule 5, there should be no question as to where CC Sabathia lies when judgment day comes:
In the meantime, we can all marvel at, appreciate, and enjoy the abilities of CC Sabathia, in much the same way we watch the ageless wonder Bartolo Colon get hitters out with nothing more than know-how and guile.
Watch now, because these fleeting moments will pass quickly, and then CC Sabathia will be gone.