C.C. Sabathia dug deeply into his bag of tricks in order to get his competitive juices flowing against Jackie Bradley Jr.
The former New York Yankees pitcher revealed this week on his “R2C2” podcast why he appeared to hate the Boston Red Sox outfielder. Sabathia famously would glare at Bradley whenever he pitched against Boston and he told ex-Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts he created a “beef” with Bradley in order to raise his intensity against their team.
“I made up a beef with Jackie Bradley Jr. just so I can hate y’all,” Sabathia said, per WEEI’s Rob Bradford. “You have to make it intense.
Betts then chimed in: “To this day, we never know. Me and Jackie would be like, ‘I don’t know why … ‘”
Sabathia continued: “I made up a whole beef, dog, I would I do that (expletive) with different people. I would point out a guy and be like, ‘I’m not going to like that guy so I can hate the whole team.'”
Sabathia’s “beef” with Bradley was born on Opening Day in 2013.
“I’m going to tell you exactly when it started,” Sabathia said. “We played you guys Opening Day when he first got called up. I pitched that day. And I think I walked him bases loaded on a 3-2 close pitch. And Aaron Boone was doing the game. And he was like, ‘Oh my God, Jackie Bradley. This is so great. CC has lost it. Tanaka is the ace now. Jackie Bradley just proved that.’ I just (expletive) lost it. Just hearing his name in that moment made me not like him.
“All he did was have a good at-bat,” Sabathia chuckled. “And Booney egged it on. That’s how it happened. That’s how the whole (expletive) started.”
Why Sabathia disliked Bradley so much had been one of the great mysteries of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry. Just about everyone else’s high praise for Bradley made it a head-scratcher. Seven-plus years later, we finally can say “case closed.