Good stuff from Tyler Kepner of the NY Times on how CC Sabathia has embraced the role of leader and go-to guy within the Yankees clubhouse:
TAMPA, Fla. — C. C. Sabathia played the role of good teammate on Sunday and, as usual, it came naturally. Sabathia uses a slide step from the stretch, which helped Jorge Posada catch three potential base stealers in a minor league game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
When General Manager Brian Cashman and his staff evaluated Sabathia, they found many examples of his value as a teammate. In Cleveland, Cashman was told, Sabathia’s mother would invite the Indians for barbecues.
“He’s not going to punch the clock at work and tag out and say, ‘See you all tomorrow,’ ” Cashman said. “He’s on call 24/7 as a teammate. He exemplifies the definition of teammate. It’s not just from when you show up at the ballpark until when you leave. Teammate means friend to him.”
The article also reiterates Saba’s tendency to flip the bill for Orlando Magic courtside seats and the infamous Toy Story ride he shared with Joba Chamberlain while at Disney World.
In some ways, the hefty lefty reminds me of David Cone, who many around the “Dynasty Yankees” referred to as the heart and soul of the championship teams. It wasn’t Derek Jeter or Paul O’Neil or Tino Martinez, but a starting pitcher who commanded the locker room with his voice and his performance.
And, like Coney, Mr. Sabathia is a [selfless] hired gun, here determined to win a championship.