CC Sabathia Is Rooting for Gerrit Cole and Yankees in Wild Card Game Against Red Sox

The Yanks are slight favorites over Boston at MaximBet.

The New York Yankees’ Gerrit Cole and CC Sabathia
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CC Sabathia is retired from Major League Baseball, but he still follows the Yankees closely and will be watching Tuesday night when the New York visits the Boston Red Sox for a one-game Wild Card playoff.

He has very little advice for starting pitcher Gerrit Cole, who he says will know exactly how to handle the pressure. Cole will oppose Nathan Eovaldi, and currently the Yanks are listed as small MLB odds favorites (-117) at MaximBet.

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Sabathia also had very few nice words to say about Fenway Park, the bandbox off Causeway Street where the American League postseason game will be played at 8 p.m. EDT on Tuesday night with the winner moving on to the ALDS.

“I don’t know if I have any fond memories of playing at Fenway,” Sabathia told Maxim.com on Monday during a charity golf event at the Alpine Country Club in Demarest, N.J. “I never really liked playing there. Just didn’t like it. It’s an old nasty park. The showers in the visiting locker room do not always work.”

Sabathia, who pitched for the Bronx Bombers from 2009-2019, said he runs into Yankees fans daily. He’s now retired and looking a heckuva lot slimmer than he did in his playing days. In December 2018, after developing shortness of breath and other symptoms, Sabathia underwent a cardiac catheterization and was found to have a blockage of a coronary artery. A stent was placed to open the blockage. After his heart scare, Sabathia undertook a major exercise and diet program, losing 60 pounds from his peak weight.

He arrived for the golf outing Monday on a cloudy, cool morning looking svelte and fit. He and his wife Amber, who recently became a sports agent after raising the couple’s four children, got ready for 18 holes of golf at one of northern New Jersey’s finest clubs. 

It was a rare feel-good sports day in New York. The Giants and Jets both won NFL games in overtime and the Yankees had a walkoff bottom-of-the-ninth 1-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays to qualify for the Wild Card game in Boston (That game will be held at Fenway because the Red Sox won 10 of the 19 regular-season matchups between the two rivals.)

As mentioned above, the Yankees are small favorites while the over/under for the total runs in the game is 8.5. New York’s odds to win the American League pennant and World Series are +500 and +1200, respectively, according to MaximBet

A year and a half into the COVID-19 pandemic, New Yorkers remain a miserable lot. Manhattan office buildings are still 70 percent vacant and mask mandates are still the main topic of discussion on the nightly news after Mayor Bill DeBlasio ordered all New York City teachers to get vaccinated or surrender their jobs.

Sunday felt so unbelievably different to a New York fan base that has become accustomed to seeing the Jets look hapless, the Giants lose instead of win on the final play of the game, and the Brooklyn Nets having their path to an almost certain appearance in the NBA Finals thrown into doubt because of Kyrie Irving’s stubborn refusal to get a COVID vaccination.

So, the clouds and the fog and the rain could not dampen the spirits of Sabathia or former Giants Michael Strahan and Justin Tuck as they arrived for the charity golf outing benefitting the PitCCh In Foundation, which gives grants to youth sports programs established by Sabathia in the Bronx and in his hometown of Vallejo, California.

Giving money away comes easily to Sabathia, who in 2007 signed a seven-year, $161 million contract with the Yankees that at the time was the richest in baseball history. His contract has since been dwarfed by the nine-year, $324 million deal that Cole received from the Yankees, and Cole will be asked to live up to that salary on Tuesday night in the win-or-go-home game.

Cole has a personal four-game winning streak against the Red Sox this season, which is one of the reasons why he and the Yankees are slightly favored in the matchup.

“There’s nothing that you can do different. He’s pitched in Boston before, he pitched in basically a one-game playoff a couple Fridays ago. They had to win that game. They’ve got to win this game coming up. But he’s got the experience,” Sabathia says. “It was a long season, and up-and-down, but the way they finished going into the playoffs was good. Hopefully they’ll have a good game tomorrow.”

But back to giving.

We all face daily decisions about where to spend our money, how much to budget for the basics, and how much to stash away for frivolities. Everyone’s financial situation is different, and when it comes to donating to charities it is easier for a multi-millionaire to make a generous donation than it is for someone making five- or six figures.

Still, it might come down on any given night to a choice of whether to buy a $400 bottle of wine at a restaurant, or whether to go with the $100 bottle and set aside the other $300 for those less fortunate. Sabathia did not have any particular advice for folks who will be reading this article and making that type of decision sometime in the near future, but he does have perspective.

“For me it’s not a thing I have to trigger or catch. I know where I came from, and I know what type of things those kids need,” Sabathia said. “For me, it’s mandatory or something that’s instilled in me. I’m going to give back. I’m going to help out whoever I can in order to lift them up, too.”

“Being in tough spots, growing up in a Boys and Girls Club in Vallejo, my mom was very good at teaching me to be humble and understanding that everyone does not have certain things. So, I got it from those beginnings.”

The PitCCh-In Foundation helps make those things happen, so keep them in mind next time the waiter brings the wine list. A $400 bottle of wine is certainly superior to a $100 bottle of wine, but do you know how far $300 will go in the ghetto when it comes to outfitting a Little League team playing on a dirt field?

Getting folks to think about those types of things was the primary reason why the Kaulig Companies, owner of the Kaulig racing team in the NASCAR Xfinity series, held this inaugural golf outing. 

“It is an honor to partner with the PitCCh-In Foundation for such an iconic event that gives back to communities in a way that is so special to Kaulig Companies,” said Matt Kaulig, who made his fortune through LeafFilter and serves as Executive Chairman of Kaulig Companies and founder of Kaulig Giving.

“With both of us having ties to Cleveland, sports and philanthropy, it was an authentic connection when we were first introduced to CC’s team, and an easy decision to align with their efforts to give back, much like we do at Kaulig Giving. We are looking forward to doing our part to raise the most we can during this inaugural event.”

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