Tuesday, October 6, 2015

CC Sabathia's weekend bender at Baltimore hotel led to rehab: Report

Even with three seasons of declining play and a couple of controversial off-the-field incidents this summer, it came as a real shock to everyone Monday when Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia suddenly announced he was headed to rehab instead of joining his teammates in postseason play.

And what led the one-time Yankees ace's decision to dry out? According to a New York Post source, was a weekend-long bender during the team's final road trip to Baltimore was the turning point.

“His drinking got really bad this weekend, and it put him in a really bad place,” said a source close to the team.
      “He was afraid. He felt that if I don’t do this now and go into rehab, I don’t know what is               going to happen.”

The last straw, according to sources, was when Sabathia arrived at the Yankees' team hotel (the Four Seasons) in Baltimore and "spent most of his time pounding drinks" there, looking "out of it" on Friday while the Yankees waited out an eventual rainout at Camden Yards.

It was even worse than that claimed the source:
"He drank every day last week apart from the day he pitched. The tipping point was Friday when he was at the stadium. He carried on drinking Saturday. ... His drinking got really bad this weekend, and it put him in a really bad place. He was afraid. He felt that if I don't do this now and go into rehab, I don't know what is going to happen."
A bartender there told The Post he didn’t personally see CC, but said “We have a strict policy. Whenever sports teams or big names come in, We give them whatever they need, no questions.

“We have 24 hour room service here,” he added. “Whatever happens in their private room is out of our control.”

The 35-year-old Sabathia, a father of four, made the announcement the day before the Bombers’ do-or-die wild-card game Tuesday against the Houston Astros at Yankee Stadium.

Sabathia was known for helping bring in alcohol for celebrations, including the champagne for Thursday's playoff spot clinching moment and for Alex Rodriguez reaching 3,000 hits for his career.

Sabathia will spend a minimum of 30 days in a Connecticut facility and will miss the entire postseason.

Yankees-Astros ticket least expensive in wild-card game history

Maybe, no make that definitely, the New York Mets have become the hottest ticket in town.

You would think Yankee fans would be lining up longer than the No. 4 train to get a chance to see their team in a do-or-die playoff game after a three year span.

But, according to TiqIQ.com, which monitors secondary ticket market sites, the average asking price for the Astros-Yankees American League wild-card game at Yankee Stadium was $180.09.

If that figure holds up, it will be the least expensive ticket in the four-year history of wild-card games.

And, as of Tuesday morning, you could get a ticket for a mere $50 on StubHub.

Meanwhile the cheapest seats at Citi Field for the Oct. 12 NLDS game against the Dodgers are already starting at $205. And Wednesday's National League wild-card game between the Cubs and Pirates in Pittsburgh was averaging $300.41 as of Monday.

It's a surprising fact since the Yankees (87-75) haven't been to the playoffs since 2012, while the Astros (86-76) last went to the postseason in 2005. 

Houston won the season series against New York 4-3, splitting a four-game set at Minute Maid Park in its first meeting and taking two of three at Yankee Stadium.

But, if you went by payrolls, you would think the Yankees ($21.9 million) would be huge favorites over the visiting Astros ($81.2 million.)

They're not, and maybe Yankees fans sense a letdown.

The one-game playoff will be on Tuesday (8:05 p.m. ET on ESPN) with a trip to the division series on the line.

Monday, October 5, 2015

CC Sabathia enters alcohol rehab, will miss playoffs: Report

After three straight injury-plagued seasons of increasingly declining pitching — and a couple of out-of-character off-the-field incidents this season — CC Sabathia has reportedly entered a rehab facility for alcohol abuse and will be missing the New York Yankees's first trip to the playoffs since 2012, reported the New York Daily News.

The one-time Yankees ace has checked himself into an alcohol rehab facility Monday, in what is a shocking development that comes one day before the Bombers open the playoffs against the Astros at the Stadium.

In a statement released by the team Monday Sabathia said:

"Today I am checking myself into an alcohol rehabilitation center to receive the professional care and assistance needed to treat my disease.

"I love baseball and I love my teammates like brothers, and I am also fully aware that I am leaving at a time when we should all be coming together for one last push toward the World Series. It hurts me deeply to do this now, but I owe it to myself and to my family to get myself right. I want to take control of my disease, and I want to be a better man, father and player.

"I want to thank the New York Yankees organization for their encouragement and understanding. Their support gives me great stregnth and has allowed me to move forward with this decision with a clear mind."

"As difficult as this decision is to share publicly, I don't want to run and hide. But for now please respect my family's need for privacy as we work through this challenge together.

"Being an adult means being accountable. Being a baseball player means that others look up to you. I want my kids - and others who may have become fans of mine over the years - to know that I am not too big of a man to ask for help. I want to hold my head up high, have a full heart and be the type of person again that I can be proud of. And that's exactly what I am going to do.

"I am looking forward to being out on the field with my team next season playing the game that brings me so much happiness."

Sabathia is expected to be in treatment for a month, a source told the News, which would keep him out of the Yankees’ playoff rotation for as long as the team plays this postseason.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Monday that the team is supporting Sabathia fully as he enters rehab. He said that Sabathia called him around 1 p.m. Sunday and told him of his plan to seek treatment. 

“It wasn’t a phone call I was expecting,” said Cashman. “Wasn’t expecting this type of press conference today.”

Sabathia ran into a bit of trouble during a Yankees road trip in August when TMZ released a video of the lefty involved in a street fight in Toronto.

The video shows the 6-7 Sabathia, wearing bright red shoes, yelling and pointing at someone before a few friends, who are holding him back, get him into a taxi cab.

He also found himself being accused of smoking a blunt when he was photographed lighting up a cigar on an Atlanta balcony this summer.

Sabathia finished the season 6-10 with an ERA of 4.73 in 29 starts, including the final game against the Boston Red Sox when he threw five innings of one-run ball, helping the Yankees clinch their elusive Wild Card bid after losing the previous three attempts.

He has two years and $50 million remaining on the eight-year, $186 million contract he signed prior to the 2009 season.

Stephen A. Smith goes all Tony Soprano on Kevin Durant (VIDEO)

When Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant strongly denied a Stephen A. Smith report that he was considering a move to the Los Angeles Lakers, tensions between the two heated up over the weekend. And Smith fired back on Monday morning, telling Durant “you don’t want to make an enemy out of me.”

In a somewhat fascinating segment on ESPN First Take, Smith hijacked the desk from co-host Skip Bayless and told Durant, “You don’t want to make an enemy out of me. And I am looking right at the camera.”

While it seemed more like a Sopranos audition tape than sports journalism, this sort of behavior has become sort of the norm for Smith — who tweeted he would he would continue later:

Durant responded to Smith's original story at the time: “I don’t talk to Stephen A Smith at all. Nobody in my family, my friends, they don’t talk to Stephen A Smith. So he’s lying.”

Smith specified that he never spoke to any of those people in Durant's circle.

But the habit of sports reporters becoming part of the story is getting tiresome. Although Smith did make a point to say that if he was lying in his initial report about Durant going to the Lakers, Durant should sign a long-term deal with Oklahoma City to prove him wrong, his street corner threat doesn't cut it.

Whether or not it is appropriate for journalists and professional athletes to battle in public is one thing, but Smith is in no position to tell Durant what to do with his life in order to prove a point.

Here's Smith's full rant:

Police pull Maria Sharapova over … to take her picture

Tennis star Maria Sharapova had a little scare after being pulled over by police during a recent trip to Germany. The 28-year-old Sharapova was pulled over by cops during an early-morning drive through the town of Dusseldorf.

But it wasn’t because she was breaking the law — the German officers simply wanted to get a photograph with the Russian beauty.

The pro tennis star didn't seem too perturbed by the flashing lights or the flashbulbs. She can be seen smiling brightly with a female officer in the photo she posted on Twitter.

Sharapova wouldn't be racing to any tournaments anyway. She has been sidelined for most of the year due to injury. The five-time Grand Slam champion had to withdraw from the Wuhan Open last week, in her first match in three months, because of an arm injury.

Nike unveils Oregon Ducks uniform paying tribute to Lewis and Clark (PHOTO)

Nike is no stranger to blazing trails on the sports front, but now the shoe and apparel company has designed a really unique uniform for the Oregon Ducks that might even be called historic.

Yes, Nike — which has managed to turn Oregon uniforms into 31 flavors —  has created a new "Pioneers" uni that the Ducks will wear against Washington State on Oct. 10 that will pay tribute to the state of Oregon and Lewis and Clark. 

And no, that's not Ray Lewis and Dwight Clark for all you history flunkies — it's the explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark

Phil Knight's company has found a way to include "a sublimated, tonal pattern of the Oregon Trail" in the jerseys, with each player's jersey featuring a different part of the map. The jersey is gray to reflect the look of a vintage map.

Although fans probably won't notice the Oregon Trail pattern on television, they will be able to see Oregon's helmets. And, though taking some intellectual liberty with factual accuracy, that is the Oregon Duck with the explorers and Lewis looking through a telescope.

Just what any fan wants at a leisurely Saturday afternoon game — a freakin' history lesson.

Grumpy Ndamukong Suh gets funny response from British staffer after loss to Jets (VIDEO)

The British may not be too familiar with the well-known surliness of Ndamukong Suh but, after the Miami Dolphins looked more like filleted flounder at London's Wembley Stadium on Sunday, one English staffer got a close up view of the angry lineman after he left his press conference and prepared for the long — very long — flight home to Miami.

After the disappointing loss to the Jets, Suh stepped away from the podium and he and the unidentified man appeared to share some brief eye contact and — I mean brief.

The much smaller Brit did his best to get out of Suh's way, then seemed to do his best imitation of Suh's grumpy face for everyone to see.

Or maybe it was just that stoic British stiff upper lip. Cheerio.