The House That CC Sabathia Built

If you want the latest on the Yankees negotiations with CC Sabathia, as well as some great photos of the new Yankee Stadium, might I recommend Pete Abraham’s blog.  He’s got a bunch of great stuff over there, as can be expected considering he great work he’s done as Yankees beat writer.

As for some insight from myself on Sabathia, I interviewed the very friendly big man in June of 2007 at RFK Stadium for a piece I was working on regarding notable EL alums, a piece that ran in the Democrat in January of 2008.

Here’s the Sabathia section of that piece…

Before CC Sabathia was a Cy Young Award winning pitcher for the Cleveland Indians, he was one of the top prospects in the Eastern League during the 2000 season, pitching for the Akron Aeros.

Sabathia went 3-7 with a 3.59 ERA in 17 games for the Aeros before making the jump to the big leagues the following season.

“Akron was nice, we had a pretty good team,” Sabathia said.

“I don’t really remember pitching that well for them, but I had some good games and some good memories. It was definitely a tough league, a lot of guys that were in that league then are in the big leagues now.”

Sabathia also pointed to some similarities between his old stomping grounds and his current one that helped him along the way.

“Akron helped me because it’s kind of like Cleveland,” he said.

“It’s a big city with a lot of fans, and there’s a lot of attention. That definitely gets you ready for the big leagues.”

An added benefit for Sabathia was that he got to play for current Indians manager Eric Wedge, who at the time was making his way up through the system and serving as Akron skipper.

“I grew up with Wedgie, I’ve been playing for him my whole life,” said Sabathia, who also played for Wedge in Single-A Kinston the previous season.

“If you look at the relationship we have now, it’s a great relationship. He got a chance to see me as a kid, and to develop into a grown man now. It just makes our relationship a lot better.”

And about the jump from Double-A to the big leagues, which few players are able to do and even fewer are able to do as successfully as the three-time All-Star ultimately has, Sabathia said it wasn’t as difficult as you might think.

“The Eastern League was pretty tough, so it really wasn’t that different to be honest,” he said.

“I hate it to say it like that, but it wasn’t for me. I just kind of fell into a good team, and had some good veterans around me, and they helped me get off to a successful season.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

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