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Hartnett: Overlooked Yankees’ Ace CC Sabathia Is The Genuine Article

‘Hart of the Order’
By Sean Hartnett
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When you pitch for most recognizable team in American professional sports and are listed at 6’7” and 290 pounds, it’s hard to fly under the radar.  You would think that CC Sabathia would be as heralded as ‘Louisiana Lightning’ Ron Guidry considering the amount of success he’s had since donning pinstripes.

Maybe it’s because he slimmed down roughly 25-30 pounds this off-season but CC should be the owning the Big Apple.  When Roger Clemens arrived in the Bronx, there was a huge buzz and marketing campaigns behind him.  Heck, even Hideki Irabu was given the red carpet treatment before he had even thrown a pitch in the major leagues.  You would think for a team that likes to do everything big, the Yankees’ marketing people would seriously get behind their mammoth ace.

We all remember the charade put on by the franchise when Clemens made his return from ‘retirement’ when he ‘unexpectedly’ graced George Steinbrenner’s box at the old Yankee Stadium.  After all the ridiculousness of the staged WWE-type announcement, Suzyn Waldman’s infamous live reaction and the playing of Elton John’s ‘Rocket Man,’ the only thing missing was Clemens taking the field dressed like “Cowboy” Bob Orton.

‘The Rocket’ turned out to be a dud who was paid $4.7M per month to finish the season 6-6 with a 4.18 ERA and was later shelled in his lone 2 1/3 inning postseason appearance against the Cleveland Indians.  For all the things you could label Clemens with during his career: (cheater, egomaniac, intolerant racist, diva, adulterer, etc.) Sabathia is the complete polar opposite, an anti-Clemens if you will.

Whereas Clemens injected himself to gain superhuman powers on the mound, CC is a naturally hulking presence.   He doesn’t need anything to boost his already considerable pitching gifts and is indeed the genuine article.  Sabathia prefers to stay away from the limelight and lets his pitching do the talking.  Maybe that’s the reason why he isn’t getting the attention he deserves even though every season he’s pitched as a Yankee has been better and better.

Despite leading the majors with 13 wins and logging in a sparkling 2.72 ERA, Sabathia was left off the original American League All-Star roster.  Eventually, he was named as an All-Star replacement but won’t pitch in the Midsummer Classic as his last start came this past Sunday.  In his final appearance before the All-Star break, CC went the distance as he pitched a nine inning shutout.  He was as dominant as ever, only walking a single batter while striking out nine Tampa Bay Rays.

Still, I don’t feel that Sabathia gets the sort of credit he deserves in this town.  Outside of Justin Verlander, I can’t think of another starter as crucial to his own team’s success this season.  Without the retired Andy Pettitte, CC is joined by the enigmatic A.J. Burnett and a cast of stopgap starters.  Until the return of Phil Hughes and Bartolo Colon, the Yankees were dealing with journeyman Brian Gordon who was released to sign with Korea’s SK Wyverns.  Ivan Nova had his share of successes and bumps in the road and is better suited developing where he is now, back in Triple-A.

Hughes may need time to settle back into the rotation and both Colon and Freddy Garcia could revert back to mediocrity at any moment.  Who knows if Burnett will ever find the consistency he requires to go along with his top-notch stuff?  The pressure of carrying the Yankees’ rotation is on CC’s broad shoulders and it’s time the fans, media and baseball universe wakes up and realizes just how special Sabathia is.

Is CC in fact an under-appreciated ace?  Leave your comments below and send your tweets to @HartyLFC.

  • josh

    Lydia…het over yourself. Maybe you should attempt to find a man at the local laundery.

  • josh

    98 MPH in the 9th…wow
    Since he entered the game in 2001 no pitcher in baseball has more wins. He was 17-5 as a rookie. Given that he’s never had arm problems and he plays for winning teams, he’s almost a lock to win 300 games. If he averages 16 win a year fol the next 7 years he’ll get to 300. He has more wins before the age of 31 than any pitcher in recent memory…more than Maddox, Glavine,. Clemens, and Johnson…all 300 game winners. He almost cetainly will become the winningest black pitcher in MLB history. He’ll blow pass Jenkins in a few years. Oral Hirchhiser says he’s a historically sgnificant player….and he’s a good huy. Other than Halliday, he’s the only pitcher in the game with a chance to win300 games…First Ballot HOF.

  • lydia

    It looks like CC hasn’t been bellying up to the salad bar lately, he looks noticeably heavier then at the start of the season.I am a 28 years old doctor, mature and beautiful.and now I am seeking a good man who can give me real love , so i got a username Andromeda2002 on–s’e’ek’c’ou’ga’r.c óm–.it is the first and best club for y’ounger women and old’er men, or older women and y’ounger men,to int’eract with each other. Maybe you wanna ch’eck ‘it out or tell your friends!

  • ed

    On what grounds are you calling Clemens an intolerant racist? You can call him a lot of terrible things (most of which would be true), but that’s pretty serious. Especially considering I can’t find any evidence of it. You can rightfully be angry at his PED use, but calling him a racist without evidence is yellow journalism at its finest.

    • hartylfc

      Said during the 2006 World Baseball Classic: “None of the dry cleaners were open, they were all at the game, Japan and Korea. So we couldn’t get any dry cleaning done out there, but I guess the neatest thing is that 50,000 of them were at Anaheim Stadium.”

  • Flash

    the last 3 years CC has been the best pitcher in the AL. He should have won the Cy Young Award last year or 2 yrs ago.

    He has had bad luck when it comes to the awards. Writers love to give it to pitchers with just 15 wins or like last yrs 13 wins who pitch for bad teams.

    With 19 wins in ’09 , 21 in ’10 and so far with 13 win makes CC the winnest pitcher in baseball the last 3 yrs.

    Other then Roy Halladay I’ll take CC over everyone else.

  • AK

    One day, hopefully sooner rather than later, Cashman, Steinbrenner, and Yankee fans will realize that CC is the only consistent pitcher on the team. AJ is still a nut job–can’t wait until his contract ends so the Yankees can get a real 2nd ace. By then, CC may decide to go elsewhere.

  • dabooch

    It looks like CC hasn’t been bellying up to the salad bar lately, he looks noticeably heavier then at the start of the season. CC is also going to OPT out of his contract and shake the Steinbrenner boys for some more coin.

    • hartylfc

      Why shouldn’t he opt out? The Yankees would be a non-playoff team without him. It would take a huge amount of prospects to acquire an arm near CC’s. Sabathia’s people can pretty much dictate a price and the Yankees will be forced to match it. – Sean Hartnett

  • spark

    Maybe one day Francesa will stop saying Johan Santana is better.

  • Paul D

    He da man!

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