The Big LeadThe Big Lead

Joe Girardi Teared Up Paying Tribute to CC Sabathia

Barring something wildly unforeseen, CC Sabathia has thrown his last Major League pitch. The man who for so many years built a reputation as a warrior will unfortunately depart on an image of him walking off the mound with a significant injury, mid-at bat in a crucial playoff game.

It is not a storybook ending, though the New York Yankees could make it so by overcoming a 3-1 ALCS deficit and going on to send Sabathia out a World Series winner. But last night felt like the end of something special.

Joe Girardi, who managed Sabathia for several years, was visibly moved by the scenes playing out in the Bronx. He became noticeably choked up delivering a message for his seat at the MLB Network studio.

“You were a great husband. You were a great father,” he said. “You probably were the greatest teammate I have ever been around because of your ability to pull all 25 and sometimes all 50 people together in a clubhouse. You were the guy that I always wanted on the mound, when we needed a win.”

That weird feeling you see people grappling with is them wrestling with the humanization of a pair of Yankees. Weird times.

Girardi's reaction was earnest and powerful. It takes a lot of confidence to be that real and raw. It's too bad such a moment came up, but it did provide for some compelling television.