CC Sabathia's decision to enter an alcohol rehabilitation center—and missing the Yankees' post-season—is getting praise and support from teammates. Alex Rodriguez, no stranger to personal drama, Tweeted last night, "We all support you, Big Man" with the hashtag "#WePlayForCC"
— Alex Rodriguez (@AROD) October 6, 2015
Rodriguez told reporters, "It’s a very courageous thing to do. We play for CC now. CC has gone to the mat for us many, many times. … So now we go to the mat for him. CC is a friend and a great teammate; like a brother to me. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have a championship ring from ’09. What he did was very courageous. It takes a very tough guy to do what he did."
Outfielder Chris Young said, "At the end of all this, I think he’ll be looked at as a hero. He stepped up, and that takes an extreme amount of courage. I’m very proud of him."
And Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman said, "The fact that he is tackling this in an honest and open way, the fact that he’s doing it right before our postseason starts, you take a step back and you acknowledge the courage that must take. Will we miss him? Of course we’re going to miss him. Could we have used him? Of course we could have used him. But none of that stuff matters.” He added, "The issue he has is bigger than what we are going through right now."
The NY Times reports, "He did not attribute his absence to vague personal reasons, though that would have been understandable. He did not cite his chronic knee pain, which would have sounded plausible. Manager Joe Girardi said Sabathia could have simply sought help without telling the world. 'That’s not C. C.,' Girardi said. 'C. C. manned up.'"
According to the Post, Sabathia had been drinking all weekend during a road trip:
The last straw for Sabathia came during the team’s final regular-season series in Baltimore, where he spent most of his time pounding drinks at a hotel, the source said.
Sabathia, 35, arrived there with his teammates late Thursday after his home victory against the Red Sox clinched a playoff spot for the Yankees.
By Friday, the pitcher looked “out of it” as the team waited around Baltimore’s Camden Yards to play a game that was eventually rained out.
“He drank every day last week apart from the day he pitched,” the source said. “The tipping point was Friday when he was at the stadium. He carried on drinking Saturday.”
The team had been staying at the Four Seasons hotel during their Baltimore series. A bartender there told The Post he didn’t personally see CC, but said, “We have a strict policy. Whenever sports teams or big names come in, we give them whatever they need, no questions.
“We have 24-hour room service here,” he added. “Whatever happens in their private room is out of our control.”
Yesterday, the ace posted this image with his statement:
Be Back Soon..... I love baseball and I love my teammates like brothers, and I am also fully aware that I am leaving at a time when we should all be coming together for one last push toward the World Series. It hurts me deeply to do this now, but I owe it to myself and to my family to get myself right. I want to take control of my disease, I want to be a better man, father and player. Today I am checking myself into alcohol and rehabilitation center to receive the professional care and assistance needed to treat my disease. I want to thank the my coaches and teammates for their encouragement and understanding. Their faith in me gives me great strength and has allowed me to move forward with this decision with a clear mind. As difficult as this decision is to share, I don’t want to run and hide. But for now please respect my family’s need for privacy as we work through this challenge together. Being an adult means being accountable. Being a baseball player means that others look up to you. I want my kids—and others who may have become fans of mine over the years—to know that I am not too big of a man to ask for help. I want to hold my head up high and have a full heart and be the type of person again that I can be proud of. And that’s exactly what I am going to do. I am looking forward to being out on the field with my team next season playing the game that brings me so much happiness. - CC
Sabathia checked into a Connecticut facility for a 30-day visit on Sunday. Former Yankees and Mets pitcher Darryl Strawberry who has battled addiction himself said, "It’s long road, and it may become lonely. And it may become lonely because you get so accustomed to doing what you are doing and putting down the drink or the drug, whatever you have to put down. It’s very hard. It’s not an easy process. You have to work. You have to work on yourself. The biggest obstacle for him — it happened to me when I was playing — it’s very hard while you’re playing. You have to stop going around certain people, places and things."