CC Sabathia and his wife Amber will be playing Santa to two groups of kids in California today. There’s no word on whether CC will be dressing up – though it’d be something to see if he did – but he’s going to be greeting foster children at a Toyota dealership in Vallejo and then giving kids from his PitCCh In foundation a shopping spree at a Sports Authority in Vacaville.
Sabathia has proved to be one of the few superstars to come to New York from a smaller market and have a near-seamless transition. Roger Clemens and Randy Johnson both had their share of speed-bumps in their first years in the Bronx, but Sabathia stayed healthy, was incredibly effective and became a team leader without ever stumbling at all.
His greatest quality may have been his stability: Every time out, the Yankees could almost bank on what Sabathia would give them. Look at his game log and it’s ridiculous – in August and September he went six innings or more in 11 consecutive starts, seven innings or more in 10 of those 11. In the AL East, especially, that kind of reliability is worth plenty.
One of the first things CC (and Amber) said at the introductory press conference last year was that they were making New York their permanent home. Unlike most players, Sabathia didn’t want to be going back and forth between New York and somewhere else, and he wanted his kids to be comfortable and settled in New York. He still has family in California, though, so it’s not surprising to see him doing charity work in his hometown area.
What can we expect from Sabathia in 2010? There’s no reason to think anything less than more of the same. As the Yankees try to figure out the back end of their rotation – Joba? Hughes? Sheets? Duchscherer? – they can take comfort in knowing that they are one of the few teams with a genuine rock-solid ace at the front.