CC Sabathia will be at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas tonight for the welterweight fight between Oscar De La Hoya and Manny Pacquiao. It should be a good fight. But for baseball fans, it’s the sub-plot that will be more interesting.
Brian Cashman is headed to Las Vegas early and plans to meet with CC regarding the record $140 million offer the Yankees made a few weeks ago. Before the Winter Meetings start on Monday, Cashman wants to look Sabathia in the eye and get a sense of whether the lefty has any intentions of playing in New York or is waiting for a West Cost team to make him an offer.
(Just an aside here. De La Hoya weighed in at 145 and Pacquiao at 142. You figure CC outweighs them both? I’d say by 15 pounds. If this was the old WWF, CC would climb in the ring and toss them both around. Now that would be worth the PPV cost.)
This is tricky business for Cashman. In the end, you still have to figure that the Yankees will literally make Sabathia an offer he can’t refuse. At some point, we all have a number. But what if Sabathia truly has no desire to play in New York? Is it then worth it for the Yankees to bribe him into acceptance?
I personally believe that location and lifestyle are two vastly overrated factors in the eyes of the public and some members of the media. Over the course of the baseball season, a player spends roughly three months in his home city. The other three months are on the road and the first seven weeks are in spring training.
The Sabathia family could live quite comfortably in Westchester or New Jersey. If they managed to lead a happy life in Cleveland, I’m sure they could handle New York. Wealthy people also have private jets at their disposal.
It was amusing to read this piece in the San Francisco Chronicle suggesting that Sabathia should take less money because California is such a wonderful place to live.
It has all the standard paint-by-numbers arguments. New York is “madness” with a “relentless press corps hounding him at every turn.” CC prefers “more down-to-earth pursuits.” The Yankees are a “parade of mindless sheep.”
Let’s see. Nobody who writes for a paper in San Francisco can call out New York for madness. San Francisco retired the madness title a long time ago. As for his earthy pursuits, CC hangs out with LeBron James, sits courtside at NBA games and is flying in to Vegas for the weekend to see a fight. That’s not exactly gardening.
Meanwhile, as a member of the relentless press corp in New York, I’m here to tell you that we usually talk to a starting pitcher two or three times a week. Even cranky Mike Mussina managed to come to grips with it.
Mindless sheep? The only prominent Yankee acquired via free agency from another team is Johnny Damon. Johnny is many things, a sheep is not one of them. There might not be a more independent minded player in baseball, in fact.
Two predictions: De La Hoya knocks out Pacquiao. He’s too big for him. And Sabathia takes the title as wealthiest pitcher in history. It might not happen soon, but it will happen.