Wednesday, October 6, 2010

CC Sabathia always has his team's back

CC Sabathia always has his teammates' backs, on the mound and in the media room.

Baseball pundits and writers have been busy predicting big trouble for the New York Yankees if Sabathia doesn't win Game 1 of the American League Division Series against the Minnesota Twins tonight. Their argument is centered on the fact that Andy Pettitte hasn't shown that he is fully recovered from his injuries and that Phil Hughes has never started a postseason game in his young life.

To all that, Sabathia basically said hogwash. The big guy was mystified by a question about whether this supposed uncertainty about the rest of the Yankees starting rotation put more pressure on him.

"I don't see what you guys are saying about uncertainty," he replied firmly, but politely. "Andy Pettitte is the best pitcher in the playoffs in the history of baseball. I think our rotation stacks up pretty good against anybody."

The thing that I loved most about CC's response is that he refused to even accept the premise of the question. He seemed genuinely puzzled by the notion that his teammates were something less than him, that they couldn’t match his performance and that the Yankees’ championship hopes rest on his shoulders. With CC, you know it's not an act because he doesn't have a fake bone in his ultra-large body. He genuinely believes in his teammates and has confidence in their ability to step up and help him win another World Series championship.

His teammates often talk about what a good guy he is and how much they love sharing a clubhouse with him. I have no doubt that love grew by leaps and bounds when they heard that answer. Whether it's CC hitting opposing batters just to send a message that hitting his guys is unacceptable or stepping up to the microphone to defend his guys, Sabathia always has his teammates' backs and he'll have their backs again on the mound tonight.

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