Voelkel: Saying ‘See ya, CC’ not so bad

first_imgSo you’re a Milwaukee Brewer fan, and you’re bummed. The Yankees are dangling a $140 million lamb chop in front of CC Sabathia, and with two teams from the left-handed ace’s home state of California expected to get in the mix with big money offers as well, the Brewers’ chances to retain his services are slim to none. And slim is one of the last words applicable Sabathia.You’re disappointed. It’s natural. Pitchers like Sabathia aren’t exactly a dime a dozen. (More like 1,400,000,000 dimes per, but who’s counting?) What Sabathia did over the last three months of the season was unreal. The dude threw seven complete games, averaged nearly a strikeout an inning and had a WHIP of 1.00. (For the uninitiated, that’s very, very good.) On top of all that, he was an absolute rock star in Milwaukee, pitching three times in the final nine games of the season to carry the Brewers to the playoffs for the first time since before Jacko started dancing to “Thriller.”All that, and now the economics of baseball swipe him away. The small market Brewers just can’t compete with the New Yorks and San Franciscos of baseball when it comes to putting zeros at the end of paychecks.But now’s not the time to break into a woe-is-us song, Brew Crew. Nope. While it may sound counterintuitive, in the end, not signing Sabathia is probably for the best.Actually, it is for the best.“How’s that?” you ask, especially when he earned a damn near 100 percent approval rating and probably is the reason there’ll be multiple Carsten Charles enrolling in Milwaukee kindergartens in four years. He vanquished the Cubs to send the Brewers to the playoffs, ya know.That’s true. And I was there. Thing is, that was the absolute climax for CC in Milwaukee. Pitching on three days rest. Shutting down the Cubs on the final day of the season and tossing a complete game to blow the lid off of 26 years of frustration.That day, CC was a god. The stadium rocked with chants of “CC! CC!” for what seemed like half the game. And he came through. For pulling off that magic, he was Favre.Thing is, if he sticks around much longer, Sabathia would be liable to turn into, well, Favre.In the deciding game four of the Divisional Series against the Phillies, the Brewers trailed 5-0 in the bottom of the third. With his team’s season flat lining, interim manager Dale Sveum sent Sabathia to pinch-hit for pitcher Jeff Suppan. Sabathia struck out on three pitches. But even down five runs, Sabathia earned a standing ovation, thanks for everything he did to make the playoffs a reality.No Brewers fan will forget what CC did for them and for the team. Sabathia will never forget the love poured on him by his teammates and fans. It was perfect.Even if Sabathia spurned the extra $40 mil the Yankees are reportedly offering, it wouldn’t be for five years like the last three months. It’s not like the Brewers couldn’t find other ways to use that $100 million, either. For that much, they could sign another starting pitcher and shore up other areas of the roster.There’s no way Sabathia would ever be able to live up to the standards he set. He’d fail at some point and probably come out looking flat at times. After pitching nearly 500 innings over the last two seasons — by far the most of any major league pitcher over that time — he could fall victim to injury. Sabathia might not live up to the huge investment the Brewers would be making in him, an investment that would cripple the franchise if the lefty flamed out.Any of that would likely taint Sabathia.And that would suck. Because, like we saw with Favre this summer, when relationships in pro sports start to go bad, they go bad quick, and they get nasty.After a whirlwind courtship that played out like something from a storybook, the Brewers and Sabathia need to end happily ever after.Ben is a senior majoring in journalism and political science and is a former sports editor at The Badger Herald. Disagree with him? He’d love to hear it. E-mail him at [email protected]last_img

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