Via River Ave Blues:
CC Sabathia has dropped 15 pounds through a combination of cardio workouts and weight training this offseason and is aiming to drop 15 more before Spring Training begins. “I’m turning 30 this year, getting a little older,” he joked. “Hopefully [the weight loss] will take some pressure off my knee and extend my career.” Sabathia had surgery to repair a partially torn meniscus in his right knee after the season, but his rehab was complete in less than a month and he’s well into his offseason routine and playing some light catch.
Is this officially the prelude to the first, “He’s in the best shape of his life” spring training stories? Its hard to imagine that a little weight loss can’t hurt Sabathia. There are a lot of big, heavy, muscular players in the majors, but Sabathia definitely has a lot of weight sitting on his 290 lb frame that’s not muscle. Shedding that, as Sabathia says here can help.
It reminds me of one of my more favorite stories about David Wells. Sabathia is a big, fat guy, but he’s not unathletic. We use the term athletic frequently to describe all sorts of things – how fast a person is, how many tools they have, how physically strong they are – but that’s not the only way to approach it.
The question came up on ESPN one day. Who is the most athletic professional athlete out there? Some interesting names came up – Lebron James, Ichiro Suzuki, Alex Rodriguez. But one commentator immediately said Tiger Woods – Woods has been and will be again the most dominant golfer of his time with few players coming particularly close. The discussion continued – Tiger Woods himself will admit that he’s good at nothing but golf. He played quite a bit of pick up basketball, but got his ass kicked by tons of non-professional athletes.
This is where David Wells came in. David Wells does not have the physique of Tiger Woods. He’s not dominate in his sport like he was, or even like his teammates Roger Clemens or Derek Jeter. He wasn’t as fast as Alfonso Soriano, and probably couldn’t throw as hard as Raul Mondesi. But David Wells one thing David Wells could do was kick everyone’s ass at pick up basketball. The big, fat guy who drank and ate like Homer Simpson was in that way the best athlete on the Yankees dynasty teams.
I bet that C.C. Sabathia is a lot like David Wells in that way. I bet he could smoke Alex Rodriguez in a game of 1 on 1 basketball. He probably has the hand-eye coordination, balance, and instinct that allowed David Wells to pitch very effectively into his late-30s and 40s. Its what fueled his fantastic control throughout his career, even though he didn’t have the physical talent of a lot of other pitchers out there. Sabathia has a lot more physical talent than Wells – he throws harder – but I bet he also has that same innate athleticism that Wells had. It bodes well for his career as he starts to get older.