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Monday, May 24, 2021

When Your Central Park Softball Teammate Is a Former Yankees Superstar

During his final season with the Yankees, six-time All-Star C.C. Sabathia sometimes dreamed of one day playing for another team — namely, his friends’ rec-league softball team, the Warriors. And this year, two years after retiring and one year after the pandemic wiped out the 2020 season, Sabathia is finally getting his chance. He’s played in two games so far, and in between getting gawked at pregame by high-school kids finishing their own matchups and taking post-game photos with onlookers (and sometimes with opponents), Sabathia has been wowing his citizen teammates by mashing the ball all over Central Park’s North Meadow.

“This is something I’ve been talking about doing for years,” says Sabathia. “Playing softball in Central Park was like a bucket-list thing, and getting to do it with my buddies is even more fun.”

The Warriors were founded in 2012 by manager Mike Lunetta, a finance guy who assembled the initial roster from colleagues at his firm and some other assorted pals. One of those friends, Matt Siegel, had previously worked at the YES Network, which televises Yankees games, and he brought along a few friends of his own, including Ryan Ruocco, now an on-air personality at the network who also hosts a podcast with Sabathia.

Over the years, Siegel had become close with Sabathia, first at YES, then during a stint at Roc Nation Sports (which represents Sabathia), and now at Patricof Co (an investment platform for athletes, where Sabathia is a client). Softball would frequently come up in a group-text chat that included Siegel, Ruocco, Sabathia, and a couple of other guys. “It was a running joke that once he retires he was gonna come join the squad, and then this year, he was like, I’m ready, let’s go,” says Siegel.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 24, 2021 at 03:38 PM | 15 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cc sabathia

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   1. Baldrick Posted: May 24, 2021 at 03:58 PM (#6020602)
I irrationally disliked Sabathia for years and kept trying to find reasons to justify that dislike, but over the years it became increasingly clear that he's just genuinely a pretty good dude.
   2. Walt Davis Posted: May 24, 2021 at 05:48 PM (#6020611)
I've mentioned it plenty of times but I once played rec league softball against Rick Fox and Pete Chilcutt just before the NBA draft. (Probably not the smartest thing they've ever done.) Chilcutt bombed one over the fence. Fox played 1B with his foot squarely on the bag.

I also once served dessert to Billy Graham (the TV preacher not the wrestler). Unless you're into jazz, I think that sums up my celebrity encounters.

Until this moment when I checked, I didn't realize Chilcutt lasted 8 years in the NBA.
   3. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 24, 2021 at 05:54 PM (#6020613)
Sabathia pitched in the majors for 19 years. He won 251 games, good for 13th place all-time among left-handed pitchers.

And I guarantee you that every time he comes to bat, someone on the other team still yells "LEFTY!!"
   4. vortex of dissipation Posted: May 24, 2021 at 06:01 PM (#6020615)
When Sabathia got hold of one, he had great power. I suspect he'd be a monster slow pitch softball player...
   5. Howie Menckel Posted: May 24, 2021 at 07:30 PM (#6020623)
a buddy of mine who has been playing Central Park softball on Sundays for decades says they often take in "strays" if they are a bit short in the field.

one gentleman who appeared to be in his 50s, if not early 60s, got in a few innings in the OF. buddy says he looked a little rusty - but also a little familiar.

and that's when they realized they were playing with ex-Yankees CF Mickey Rivers (who is now 72 years young).....

Mickey was traded for both HOFer Hoyt Wilhelm and HOVG-er Bobby Bonds.
   6. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: May 24, 2021 at 09:30 PM (#6020640)
I irrationally disliked Sabathia for years and kept trying to find reasons to justify that dislike, but over the years it became increasingly clear that he's just genuinely a pretty good dude.

He's a serious redass, so if he was barking at your team about some perceived slight or another, it wouldn't be irrational to dislike him. But he definitely seems like a good dude off the field. (And a good teammate, as far as I could tell.)
   7. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: May 24, 2021 at 09:32 PM (#6020642)
one gentleman who appeared to be in his 50s, if not early 60s, got in a few innings in the OF. buddy says he looked a little rusty - but also a little familiar. and that's when they realized they were playing with ex-Yankees CF Mickey Rivers (who is now 72 years young).....

He was flying around the bases at an Oldtimer's Game about five years ago.
   8. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: May 25, 2021 at 07:59 AM (#6020715)
it wouldn't be irrational to dislike him

Disliking a Yankee is perhaps the most rational thing a man can do.
   9. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: May 25, 2021 at 08:06 AM (#6020716)
If the BTF softball game doesn't try to get him to come to the game you've all disappointed me.
   10. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 25, 2021 at 09:37 AM (#6020727)
We had a Triple-A player play on our beer league team once. Only he was terrible because he'd had so many surgeries on his elbow and knees.
   11. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 25, 2021 at 10:04 AM (#6020728)
I played intramural softball in college with a future NHL player (2nd round draft pick but had a pretty short pro career). He hit lasers every time up and I was honestly worried he was going to hurt one of the infielders. Needed to work on his launch angle.
   12. Ron J Posted: May 25, 2021 at 11:14 AM (#6020733)
When I was reffing touch football, an active CFL player in a contract dispute showed up. He was playing against one of the top teams in the country and showed the difference between pro and very good amateur is.

One of the top tier teams had a retired CFL QB playing QB for them. Impossible to sack because he took such a deep drop.

And two hall of fame linebackers played in the senior league. They weren't very good, but pro linebackers are not a great fit for touch football.
   13. Howie Menckel Posted: May 25, 2021 at 12:47 PM (#6020744)
played a set of doubles against Billie Jean King (and with her doubles partner Anne Smith) and 18 holes with Lawrence Taylor.

best softball comp I can think of so far is ex-US Senator Bob Torricelli and his girlfriend, Mick's ex-wife Bianca Jagger.

wait, BB-Ref founder Sean Forman ! but that was at BBTF's annual game, so plenty of us check off that box.
   14. depletion Posted: May 25, 2021 at 09:49 PM (#6020820)
From wiki:
When Reggie Jackson remarked to a reporter that he had an IQ of 160, Rivers responded, "Out of what, a thousand?"
   15. villageidiom Posted: May 25, 2021 at 09:54 PM (#6020821)
If the BTF softball game doesn't try to get him to come to the game you've all disappointed me.
He wouldn't be the first former MLB player to join us.

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