(CBS Local)– C.C. Sabathia spent 11 seasons with the New York Yankees, won a World Series title in 2009 and became a fan favorite in the Bronx. The Cy Young Award winner and 6x All-Star is the subject of a new documentary from HBO Sports “Under The Grapefruit Tree” where the southpaw tells his life story and shares footage from his final year as a member of the Pinstripes.
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Sabathia’s journey began in Vallejo, California and he got selected out of high school by the Cleveland Indians. The southpaw won over 250 games in his big league career, struck out over 3,000 batters and was the 2009 ALCS MVP. The former Yankees pitcher is excited for fans to learn the full story of his journey through the documentary.
“We didn’t start filming the year with the anticipation that it would be an HBO documentary. We just wanted to have some cool home videos and we knew we were coming up on 250 wins and 3,000 strikeouts and thought it would be cool to document some of that stuff for my kids,” said Sabathia, in an interview with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “We got halfway through filming the last season and thought it would be cool to tell the whole story. I hadn’t talked about my alcohol abuse or going to rehab or anything like that and thought it would be a good time to dive into that whole story. MLB was awesome enough to help us with the footage. It turned out to be such an authentic and organic documentary.”
While Sabathia had many great seasons with Cleveland and a dominant pitstop in Milwaukee, his years with the Yankees defined his career. The former MLB pitcher will never forget what it was like to win a World Series in the Bronx and he says that 2009 Yankees team was one of the closest he ever played on.READ MORE: New York City Public High Schools To Reopen March 22, All Sports To Return Mid-April
“We had a brand new stadium and we had signed a bunch of free agents and it was the first time the Yankees hadn’t made the playoffs in a long time in 2008,” said Sabathia. “Me and A.J. Burnett and Nick Swisher come in and Mark Teixeira and I felt like we changed the culture of the team. We were walking people off and A.J. was throwing pies in people’s faces. Swish was loud and I was loud in the clubhouse and we kind of changed the dynamic. I just remember that team being really close. We had a lot of fun and everybody knows the end result of us winning the World Series. That was one of the closer teams I played on in New York. There was A-Rod’s birthday party, us going out to dinner and different things like that. You realize how special that group was 10 or 11 years later.”
Throughout the documentary, Sabathia also addresses the ups and downs of his relationship with his late father and his battle with alcoholism. In 2015, Sabathia checked himself into a rehab center after he realized he needed help. It was important for the former Yankees pitcher to address that in his documentary because the experience helped him to become the man he is today.
“My kids were really young at the time and didn’t really understand what was going on,” said Sabathia. “To have them relive it and see what was going on in my life and Mom and Dad’s life when they were kids helped in us being able to have a family conversation about alcoholism and addiction. Everything was a big deal. I wanted to talk about it and have my kids understand it. That’s what I wanted to get across in the doc.”MORE NEWS: Times Square's 'Naked Cowboy' Robert Burck Arrested In Florida
Watch all of DJ Sixsmith’s interviews from “The Sit-Down” series here.