Monday, February 2, 2009

Sabathia Tailor Made For Pinstripes

In the weeks leading up to the much anticipated arrival of spring training, CC Sabathia is already proving to be a perfect fit for Yankees pinstripes. I am of course referring to his actions off the field, and not the benefit of the illusionary ‘thinning effect’ of the pinstripes themselves.

The 300-pound hurler, and recent addition to the Yankees’ nine-figure contract club, has made an excellent first impression to the Yankees universe. CC’s personality has been as pleasantly striking off the field as his unhittable slider will be on it.

Joba Chamberlain has been publicly raving about how much he has enjoyed Sabathia’s company, one of the first signs of how inevitably beloved he will be in the ever-changing Yankees clubhouse.

It will be absolutely priceless to watch the daily interaction between these two, especially in the dugout during their days away from the mound. The team should have its collective head on a swivel in anticipation for plenty of pranks on the horizon.

Sabathia has gone as far as to fly to Florida to participate in Derek Jeter’s recent charity golf event. There is no better way to cement your place in the clubhouse than to rub shoulders with the Yankee captain, and CC is clearly making a strong effort to be immediately accepted and respected in NY.

CC’s scheduled coast to coast move of his family from California to their soon to be New Jersey home is another positive sign. The important phrase associated with the move is the perceived “full-time” stamping.

Sabathia used to live in Cleveland with his family during the season, before returning to his California home for the offseason months. A full-time relocation implies that the Sabathias are here to stay for the duration of the contract (or at least initially committed to).

Reports of CC and his family having reservations about a journey aboard the money train to the Bronx may or may not be true. What we do know is that they are all making a spirited effort to make it work.

Though a full-time commitment to NY was not always expected of his wife and children, a determined and dedicated CC Sabathia was never questioned. Once the ink dried on the contract’s pages, CC’s focus was entirely directed at doing whatever it takes to get a ring for his finger, his team, and his new city.

The heart that Sabathia showed as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers is more than enough evidence of what is to be expected from the southpaw workhorse.

Though initially not thrilled to be shipped to Wisconsin in mid-season, he never complained or pouted. He instead carried the team on his back into the playoffs, compiling an 11-2 record and 1.65 ERA.

Even while knowing he would never throw a pitch for the Brewers organization following 2008, Sabathia pitched countless games on short rest down the stretch. As the pitches and innings piled up, CC risked the most important offseason of his life in favor achieving the Brewers first playoff appearance in 26 years.

Greg Genske (agent) was holding his breath every time CC took the mound after only three days of rest. He was always just one ‘pop’ or tear away from becoming more like his teammate Ben Sheets than the only unquestioned ace on the market.

As it turns out, his long-awaited exploration of free agency went more perfectly than even Sabathia could have imagined. He was coveted more than the head cheerleader in high school, and secured the most lucrative contract ever signed by a pitcher.

Whether CC’s Yankee footsteps will follow the path of David Cone or Vazquez and Pavano is yet to be seen. If nothing else, CC Sabathia knows that he has a job to do, and he will not rest until he finishes it.

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