This is an article from the July 4, 2011 issue
Sabathia became the majors' first 10-game winner last Saturday with a nine-K gem against the Rockies at Yankee Stadium.
Dan Patrick:Sunday was Old Timers' Day at Yankee Stadium. Of the guys you saw there, who would you like to pitch against?
CC Sabathia: Reggie [Jackson] would be pretty fun.
DP:How would you pitch to Reggie?
CS: He's a lefty so it would be a pretty good battle. I'd probably go [inside] a couple of times. Give him a few breaking balls.
DP:Who's the one hitter who really gets your attention now?
CS: Miguel Cabrera. He hits everything all over the park, and he's such a tough out.
DP:Who's the guy in the Yankees' lineup you wouldn't want to face?
CS: Robinson Cano. Robinson is an unbelievable hitter. Lefties, righties. He's got gap power, home run pop. He's definitely one of the better hitters in our lineup.
DP:How many of Derek Jeter's nearly 3,000 hits do you think you gave up?
CS: I didn't count, but I'm sure it's a lot. These guys hit me pretty good when I was in Cleveland.
DP:In 29 at bats, 13 hits.
CS: Yeah, that's bad.
DP:Any chance your former teammate Prince Fielder will stay in Milwaukee?
CS: I definitely don't think he's going to be there next year. Hopefully, he can stay healthy, and I just wish the best for him because he's a great kid, an unbelievable talent.
DP:When you decided to leave the Brewers, why did you go to New York and not closer to home in California?
CS: It just came down to having a chance to win every year. You can't beat that with the Yankees. You put yourself in a good position to win a championship. We were able to get that done in 2009, fell a little short last year, but we're right in position this year.
DP:The Yankees pulled you after eight innings when you were going strong on Saturday. Are you ever O.K. coming out?
CS: No chance. Once I'm out there I want to finish what I started. I haven't had a lot of opportunities to do that here because we have [Mariano Rivera] in the bullpen. You can't argue with that. When you get that rare opportunity, [however] you definitely want to finish.
DP:Have you ever protested too much?
CS: No, I've never tried to do anything where I showed up the manager or the coaching staff. Usually if I'm mad, I'll take it down underneath [into the clubhouse].
DP:Was it painful watching your Lakers lose in the NBA playoffs?
CS: Yeah, that was definitely painful. Especially getting swept like that.
DP:Did you lose money?
CS: It was unbelievable how many guys wanted to bet me. It's horrible that you're with these guys eight months out of the year and they can root against you so bad.
DP:Who won the most off you?
CS: Jeter. He went with Dallas every game.
DP:What do you do on an off day?
CS: I got four kids. We just hang out, swim, play baseball, basketball.
DP:Do they want to pitch to you?
CS: My son always wants to pitch to me. I'm taking him deep on the regular.
• Rory's Story
The comparisons between Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods continue. But the young Northern Irishman has wisely distanced himself from the hype. McIlroy told me his U.S. Open victory wasn't nearly as impressive as what Tiger did at Pebble Beach in 2000, because of the favorable conditions at Congressional. Though he's only 22, McIlroy recognizes the pitfalls of his new fame and doesn't want it to affect his play. Said the Open champ, "I've surrounded myself with enough good people who help me keep my feet on the ground."
• Bad Rap
Some announcers are going too far with cultural references. (Full disclosure: This is partially my fault because of what we started at SportsCenter.) Last week a high school lacrosse announcer dropped Notorious B.I.G.—"Believe me sweetie, I got enough to feed the needy, no need to be greedy"—after a goal. Even Al Michaels told me he may change his style: "I'm thinking about adding some R. Kelly or Katy Perry lyrics to my play-by-play this year."
• Line of the week
Top NBA draft pick Kyrie Irving on expectations in Cleveland: "I'm not really looking to be the next LeBron James unless I grow six inches in the next two hours."
Now Hear This
Listen to the podcasts at danpatrick.com
1. Terry Francona discusses his admiration for rival Derek Jeter.
2. Kevin Love talks about hearing his own name in trade rumors.
THE FINE PRINT: The Rockets and the Suns aren't going to be happy about their draft picks when they learn that the Morris twins are played by one guy.