"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Giant Steps


Our thoughts and support go out to CC Sabathia. You aren’t alone, Big Man. Hang in there. We believe in you. Now, you just need to believe in  yourself.

[Photo Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports]

Categories:  1: Featured  Baseball Musings  Yankees

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1 rbj   ~  Oct 5, 2015 12:40 pm

Stunning. Best of luck to him, see you in February.

2 Start Spreading the News   ~  Oct 5, 2015 12:57 pm

I am amazed that this couldn't wait till after the playoffs. It must have been pretty bad to announce it this early

3 bp1   ~  Oct 5, 2015 12:58 pm

Amen, AB. Hoping for the best. It's gonna be a life long battle, but it sounds like he's taking the right steps. Best wishes.

4 Dimelo   ~  Oct 5, 2015 12:59 pm

I feel there's something more to this story, this is all very odd - the timing of it all.

Regardless of my skepticism, I wish CC all the best.

5 Alex Belth   ~  Oct 5, 2015 1:16 pm

You've got to imagine it's really bad for him to walk away from his team during the playoffs. His life is more important than the team. But yeah, he must be a really dark place.

6 Ara Just Fair   ~  Oct 5, 2015 1:28 pm

The timing is certainly alarming. Damn. All the best, CC.

7 Shaun P.   ~  Oct 5, 2015 2:24 pm

I really hope Sabathia is able to get the help he needs. You never know athletes for real, but he's always seemed like a good guy, and I wish him well. I am sure his teammates are pulling for him.

I do feel a little strange looking at some of the pictures from the Wild Card clinching celebration now.

8 Ben   ~  Oct 5, 2015 2:40 pm

I gotta hope that this is a great move for him. If he's an addict, and ready to deal with that, then he must have seen that win or lose in the playoffs the temptations to lose control are very great. I wish him the very best. Hopefully he got this early before it messed his personal life too badly.

What was it Curtis Martin said, three things to wish on your worst enemy to really screw his life up: talent, money and fame... something like that.

9 Alex Belth   ~  Oct 5, 2015 3:16 pm

8) Here here.

10 rbj   ~  Oct 5, 2015 3:30 pm

Cashman said the Yankees were going to let him take an unspecified leave, but CC wanted to get it out in the open. That's good.

11 Evil Empire   ~  Oct 5, 2015 4:04 pm

I've been thinking that CC's been our best pitcher from August 6 forward. He had a 2.86 ERA over his last 9 starts. I'd actually decided that he should be our #3 starter in the post-season over Pineda and Nova. I hope he's able to overcome his demons, heal, find some peace in his world, and come back next year.

I'm not glad that CC is gone, but I'm glad that he's pitched so damn well over the last 8 weeks that his loss actually hurts (if that makes any sense). I will miss Big CC.

12 Greg G   ~  Oct 5, 2015 4:55 pm

I got sober myself and there is never a convenient time. The good time to do it is now and the worst time to do it is tomorrow.

This might be something to get the team to rally around. Lord knows they have looked like sleep walkers lately.

Sabathia notched their last win, and that proved to be a very valuable win at that.

God speed CC and I hope you find peace.

13 MSM35   ~  Oct 5, 2015 5:06 pm

Good luck big fellow! While you are at it slim down a bit. Carrying that weight is not good. Young kids need a healthy Dad to drive them to soccer games and dance at their weddings.

14 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Oct 5, 2015 5:30 pm

Wow..this was a shock to wake up to. CC has always seemed like a great guy and teammate, it must indeed be very serious for him to leave now. I hope he gets better soon! Great to see all the support out there too, he's obviously respected by his peers.

15 kenboyer made me cry   ~  Oct 5, 2015 6:16 pm

We don't know the whole story, we really don't know the man. Such courage to publicly admit his affliction and seek treatment at the peak of public scrutiny of the team and players. Who are we to judge?

Win for the Big Man!

16 Matt Blankman   ~  Oct 5, 2015 7:00 pm

[12] Good on ya, and good on CC.
Good luck, big man. We love ya.

17 Boatzilla   ~  Oct 5, 2015 11:12 pm

[15] I'll take a stab at judging. I call BULLSHIT on this. Totally, totally selfish move by CC. Now way this could not have waited until the end of the post season.

Was he in jail? Any one get hurt or killed. A slight scuffle in Toronto was no big deal. A cigar on a veranda? We haven't heard reports of domestic violence. He must be afraid of a PHD or cocaine positive test.

Mikey Mantle played hung-over every damn day. Gooden pitched high in the World Series. Keith Hernandez batted drunk. There is no way an athlete of his stature could not tough out the post season and help his team get through the playoffs in what will surely be his last chance (and perhaps A-Rod's) at post season glory.

His employers should expect nothing less less, given his salary. He does not deserve one once of sympathy, and should be docked for every day he misses. He put himself into a potion and the bailed when all the chips were on the line.

No support from me. Non at all. Fucking selfish mug. Two more weeks were not going to kill anyone.

[For the record, I know what it takes to quit drinking heavily (2 years now). Didn't need any Hollywood rehab or counseling, either. It was like turning off a light switch, and I never stopped working.]

Most of us don't have a choice for fancy "rehab" or "death leave". I conducted a creative seminar the day after my sister suddenly died in June, and taught a marketing class the following day, because people were counting on me.

You grieve when you have time. You make sure you are sober for work. It's not that difficult.

18 Boatzilla   ~  Oct 5, 2015 11:44 pm

[17] errata: "PED" "Mickey Mantle"

BTW, I am a HUGE CC fan. He's one of my favorite Yankees. Moreover we know he possesses exceptional tenacity and commitment (see: knee brace, see: Brewers), and has wealth of recourses to steer him from game to game as painlessly as possible. Again, that's why I say, at this time, in these circumstances, this is either huge cop out, or there's something else going on.

19 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Oct 6, 2015 2:27 am

[17] Ooooo, Boat...you're going to get some feedback on this one.

I hear 'part' of what you're saying. You did a great job goign cold turkey when you had to, but not everyone can do that, right? We don't know exactly what his current mental & physical condition is. Perhaps he's had an emotional breakdown and simply CANNOT pitch? Don't you think that CC, especially from all we've seen in the past with him doing everything to put the team on his back, WOULD pitch if he COULD?

As ou say in [18], maybe something else IS going on, but regardless. If he had a broken hand or foot he'd be out. Maybe it's his head that's broke now and needs help. Or do you not believe mental issues are the same as physical ones?

20 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Oct 6, 2015 6:06 am

Wow, so sad. And so stunning.

21 Dimelo   ~  Oct 6, 2015 8:12 am


I got sober myself and there is never a convenient time. The good time to do it is now and the worst time to do it is tomorrow.

Excellent way to put it.

22 rbj   ~  Oct 6, 2015 8:56 am

You're at the top of your game. You've gotten two historically sad sack teams into the playoffs. And gotten a rich contract to help the historic team back to being on top of the heap.

But suddenly you aren't dominating anymore. A bad game is a one off. But now you're stringing them together. There's always going to be some guy whispering about you, but now there are a lot of those guys and the whispers are shouts. You've always been the best player on the team but now you aren't. But hey, your buddy Jack Daniels is there and you consult with him a lot the past couple of years.

Getting older sucks and requires adjustment. Not all handle it well.

I do not know, [17] but this could be one scenario.

23 RIYank   ~  Oct 6, 2015 9:13 am

I always rooted for him, even when he was struggling.
Now he's really struggling, and I'll still root for him.

I have no idea what happened. But I know that on one side of the balance, there's a game. Yes, it's a big game, but it's a game. And on the other side is his life. So no second-guessing from me.

24 Boatzilla   ~  Oct 6, 2015 9:59 am

[19] Actually, you are right. Mental problems should be given the same weight as physical ones. I have had them recently and it's hard to own up. In fact it takes amazing courage to say, "I'm losing it" when you are not joking.

So maybe I am being too harsh. If he's at that place where he just can not manage, then he's doing what he has to do, and self and family come first. If you're a parent, taking care of yourself is the same as taking care of your family (I should include life partners hanging in for each other, too).

I suppose I was only thinking of his job responsibilities. Unfortunately, for some of us there's no "company" or "team." If I don't work, my brand will collapse.

But yeah, now I get it.

25 Bronx Boy in NC   ~  Oct 6, 2015 10:54 am

I would take a middle ground that hews largely to the main thread here but admits tinges of [17].

First in any list of reactions: Like the guy, wish him an effective recovery and long, happy life, in or out of baseball.

But it's neither inconsistent with that nor disrespectful to raise an eyebrow at the timing. It is fluky. I don't have a wealth of experience with people in CC's situation, but I have more than zero, and this is usually something that builds over time. It can lead you into all kinds of danger, some of which leads to 911 calls. But by itself the need for rehab isn't a sudden emergency.

I saw an interesting speculation in the NYT comments thread that may turn this on its ear: The question may not be "why not wait two weeks?" It's possible he knew a while ago that he needed this, and for a long time the question has been, "could he gut it out and wait?"

The reasoning being: A significant loss of regular-season playing time would have dinged his pay. Once the regular season ended, that was no longer the case. (CBA nerds, is this true?)

In a scenario like that -- which is nothing but speculation -- the problem that "built over time" had already done the building, and CC checked in not prematurely, but some time later than he should have.

None of the possible explanations is any happier than any of the others. The need to fit pegs into holes is hard to resist even when it doesn't do any good, or isn't any of your business.

26 Chyll Will   ~  Oct 6, 2015 2:05 pm

[25] I would add that it's probably too early to ask any one to process all of this, as it was pretty much "dumped" on us as fans (in reality: outsiders); it's not fair to expect us to completely make heads or tales of it. The news is going to do what they do, unsurprisingly, so I would take anything they say (speculate) in the next week or two with a huge grain of salt.

That said, there was a question in my mind that was extrapolated on rather nicely in this editorial by Kavitha A. Davidson on Bloomberg View.

27 Greg G   ~  Oct 6, 2015 2:08 pm

24) Really well put, "If you're a parent, taking care of yourself is the same as taking care of your family."

I have spent over 13 years in recovery and I have heard many personal stories, and they are all personal.

Some people can go about their business and live with a problem for a long time and not have anyone know. Others are in the paper all the time, and you wonder how they are still alive. Some are in between those two things.

Nobody knows what is happening but CC. Maybe he was sober for the past few weeks and that was how he strung together a good stretch and it wasn't the knee brace at all? Maybe he just went back to the bottle? Maybe he is depressed? Maybe he was driving drunk with his kids in the car and had a near miss?

We have to give CC the benefit of the doubt.

23) You are so right that this is a game. Albeit they get paid a lot and many of us feel fully invested in the outcome. As is often said, "At the end of someone's life you rarely hear, I wish I spent more time at the office." The ballpark is CC's office and the man has always appeared to me, to be a man of character and integrity.

Will CC be missed? You bet he will. A month or two ago, we would have rejoiced at the news that Girardi didn't have to put CC on the roster for the playoffs.

It might make it easier for us to accept that he was in an accident or his family was abused. I am glad if that is not the case. Everyone has a different bottom, when they say they have had enough. Hopefully, CC caught this before that stuff could happen.

28 Bronx Boy in NC   ~  Oct 6, 2015 2:25 pm

Much more mercenary, brass-tacks question, with no disrespect to CC intended:

Does this allow the Yankees to add someone to the postseason roster (assuming that roster has a shelf life of more than the next seven hours) who would otherwise not have been eligible?

29 RIYank   ~  Oct 6, 2015 3:24 pm

[27] Indeed, well put.

[28] Yes, everyone on the 40-man is (was, really, since it's set now) eligible for the post-season roster. Here it is. (It's a pic from Twitter -- I'm too lazy to track down the official source.)

30 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Oct 6, 2015 4:06 pm

(I just wanted to thank everyone for all the thoughtful, sensitive, heartfelt comments and wisdom here. It's touching and a reminder of what makes this community so special.)

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
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