Former Yankees‘ great CC Sabathia had a problem with alcoholism during his tenure in the bigs. In “Under the Grapefruit Tree: The CC Sabathia Story,” which is set to premiere Dec. 22 on HBO, the now 40-year-old ex hurler talks about how the issue nearly destroyed his MLB career.
In the documentary, Sabathia, who led the Yankees to a World Series title in 2009, in his first season after signing a record free agent deal, says that he was at one point “too drunk to do my job” while pitching for the Bombers, per the New York Post’s Dan Martin.
That exact moment came during the 2015 regular season’s final series in Baltimore, when he couldn’t throw a bullpen on the final day of the year.
“(A) secret I was hiding really could have destroyed all of this,” Sabathia said. His problem with alcohol got to the point that he needed to check into a rehab facility in 2015, not before he was involved in two separate incidents: one smoking marijuana in Atlanta (photographed in public) and a fight on a Toronto nightclub.
A toxic routine between starts affected the Yankees’ hurler
After making a start, the former Yankees star would drink to the point of being “hammered” for two full days. After that, he would take a couple of days to recover in time to take his next turn in the rotation, per Martin.
Alcoholism and Sabathia’s relationship with his father are two of the main themes of the upcoming production.
“The weekend in Baltimore, the effect my dad’s passing had on me,” Sabathia said. “I wanted to give him his tribute. He’s a big reason why I made it as far as I did.”
Corky Sabathia passed away 17 years ago, after suffering from cancer.
After completing his rehab, Sabathia returned to the Yankees in 2016 and decided to retire in 2019 after an excellent career. He says he hasn’t had a drink in five years.