Yesterday, New York Yankee pitching ace C.C. Sabathia announced that he was entering an alcohol rehab on the eve of the team’s single elimination playoff game against the Houston Astros. While much of the baseball world was attributing Sabathia’s less than mediocre season on age as well as a slow recovery from last-year’s season ending knee surgery – many fans were caught off guard to learn that the Yankee pitcher had a severe drinking problem.
“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,” Sabathia said. “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.”
It was sobering news for Yankee fans, who were counting on Sabathia to start some games during the post-season.
Sabathia added: “I want to thank the New York Yankees organization for their encouragement and understanding. Their support gives me great strength and has allowed me to move forward with this decision with a clear mind.”
“It is good to see that the Yankee baseball brass has been supportive of Sabathia,” said Karen Corcoran-Walsh, owner of Inspirations for Youth and Families teen rehab and the Cove Center for Recovery adult drug rehab. “Fans often get caught up in the game itself and fail to grasp the severity of alcohol or drug abuse.”
According to the National Institute on Alcohol, nearly 88,000 people (approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women) die from alcohol-related causes annually, making it the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States.
Corcoran-Walsh added that many fans lose sight of the core issues in life such as the importance of person’s health and well-being and treat the players as if they were objects rather than actual human-beings.
Against the back-drop of all the good-will statements exchanged at the press conference announcing Sabathia’s shocking news; there was plenty of attention placed by the sports pundits on the impact of his absence during the post-season and how it will jeopardize the Yankee’s chances to prevail in the post season.
“In many cases the press and sports fans fail to show the compassion that a professional sports athlete deserves who is battling alcoholism,” said Corcoran-Walsh. “Despite the fact that Sabathia earns an astronomical amount of money ($25 million a year); alcohol is a disease and people should not be blamed for it whether you are a star pitcher or restaurant waiter.”
“It is only natural for Yankee fans to try to absorb the recent developments and try to predict Yankees manager Joe Giradi’s next moves,” said Corcoran-Waslsh. “The problem arises when people start to cast the blame on Sabathia. This is where the stigma of alcoholism rears its ugly head.”
It is possible that the recent off-the-field Yankee developments will be a win-win for both the team and Sabathia in the long run. The Yankees may actually perform better on the diamond without having to deal with Sabathia’s antics. The other winner could in fact be Sabathia if his stay in alcohol treatment proves to be successful and he recovers from the evil clutches of alcohol abuse.