It would be tough for most baseball fans to wrap their heads around a member of the Boston Red Sox going the extra mile for a New York Yankee, but that’s exactly what took place at this year’s MLB All-Star Game.
CC Sabathia originally was not slated to take part in the Midsummer Classic festivities at Progressive Field, but American League manager Alex Cora felt the veteran left-hander, who will retire after this season, should be a part of it. After all, Sabathia played the first eight-plus seasons of his big league career with the Cleveland Indians.
So, Cora pulled a few strings and Sabathia unofficially joined the AL, who notched its seventh straight win over the National League on Tuesday. Sabathia didn’t throw a single pitch, but Cora sent out his former teammate and current rival for a “mound visit” in the ninth inning, allowing the six-time All-Star to have a special moment with Cleveland’s diehard fanbase.
Sabathia was awfully appreciative of Cora’s gesture.
“Alex was the one who contacted me and asked me if I would do it, if I had any plans,” Sabathia said, per The Boston Globe. “I was honored that he asked. He contacted the league and made it all happen. That he even thought about me like that, I was honored.”
The 39-year-old billed the tribute as “one of the cooler moments” he’s had in baseball. In Cora’s mind, it couldn’t have been more well-deserved.
“The fans recognize he’s been one of the best pitchers in the big leagues,” Cora said. “The guy has won more than 250 games, 3,000 strikeouts. Everything started here in Cleveland. We all know he’s going to retire. I was like, ‘Hey, let everybody know who he is.’ I think it was a nice tribute.”