Today: Jun 24, 2024

Yankees legend Sabathia visits university

Luke Gadson – Sports Editor

Six-time all-star and World Series champion with the New York Yankees, CC Sabathia came to visit the university in the John Lyman Hall to share his story of baseball, addiction and recovery.  

 Sabathia’s first major league pitching appearance was a moment he will always remember. “When I realized I was in the big leagues, was when Cal Ripken stepped in the box. I threw him a fastball right down the middle, and he hit a double,” Sabathia said.  

Facing a hall-of-fame player like Ripken in your first appearance may hinder a young player’s confidence, but it seemed to do the opposite for Sabathia who went on to have a hall-of-fame career of his own. This is just one of the many stories that Sabathia told Friday night at the university while he was interviewed by former ESPN personality Rob Parker, and university graduate.  

Sabathia jerseys flooded the crowd, and by the amount of cheering and applause, it was evident that the audience was ecstatic to get a more in-depth perspective of Sabathia’s career and life. 

This event was a great opportunity for current athletes to listen to and gain advice from an elite professional athlete. Teams in the audience varied from little league baseball to college baseball, with even some different sports in the mix to hear from the hall of fame MLB player.  

“It’s good to hear the perspective of a professional athlete. As a college athlete, you like to hear from professionals to see how they got to the majors and their story. It can give you a perspective that you can take into your own life,” said tight end Tim O’Shea, a graduate student.   

Sabathia revealed plenty to the audience, and some of his answers were unexpected. The most challenging hitter he went up against? Manny Ramirez. A batter he could never get out? Evan Longoria. The smartest player he ever played with? Roberto Alomar. “Whenever he was asked a question about a player, it was always an answer you didn’t expect. It was always people that were close to him and that gave him good advice, and I think that’s a good lesson to take into your own personal life,” O’Shea said. 

Hosted at university, this event attracted a multitude of Yankees fans, whether they were New York natives, or just from the Northeast in general. So, it was probably hard for them to hear that Sabathia never necessarily wanted to be a Yankee.  

“I’m from New York and a big Yankees fan, so I heard CC Sabathia was coming and my coach was able to get us tickets. So, I definitely wanted to come hear him speak,” said shooting guard Sean James, a sophomore.  

Although, the crowd did erupt when Sabathia said coming to New York was the “best decision of my life.” Sabathia opened up about factors that affected his career, such as alcoholism. He recalled on his darkest moments that his problems with alcohol led him to, and how he got past them.  

“To that point, baseball had been above everything in my life, even my family,” Sabathia said. “I was fortunate to have good people supporting me to make changes in my life.”  

One main component that can be taken from this interview is Sabathia’s resilience. “From being a youngster trying to make it to the big leagues, to dealing with his problems with alcohol, to him fighting whether he wants to play baseball, he persevered through everything,” James said. 

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