New York Yankees starting pitcher and former Indians Cy Young winner CC Sabathia released a statement Monday, announcing that he will miss the postseason in order to immediately check himself into an alcohol rehabilitation center:
"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 strength 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."
As Sabathia acknowledges, this will strike some as an odd time to make this decision, but he is absolutely right that getting treatment for a disease and doing what his best for his health and for his family must absolutely be his priority.
In terms of the baseball side of thing, Sabathia has struggled during the last three seasons, but pitched fairly well in August and September, with a 2.86 ERA during 50.1 innings of work, and (if the Yankees beat Houston on Tuesday), he'd have been a part of their ALDS rotation.
Sabathia spent seven and a half seasons with the Indians, highlighted by winning the 2007 American League Cy Young Award. He has a strong case as being the best Tribe pitcher of the last forty years, and while I could never bring myself to root for him as a Yankee, I certainly root for him as a person, and hope he gets the help he needs, and is back on the field next April.