Yankees: Let’s hear it for all the fat people on our planet

TORONTO, ON - JUNE 1: CC Sabathia
TORONTO, ON - JUNE 1: CC Sabathia /

The Yankees have a little guy and a fat guy on their team. The little guy is seen up close only when he bats. The fat guy is seen in full blown HDTV every time he throws a pitch, He gets ridiculed for his obesity, and it’s high time it stops.

The Yankees, like all major league teams these days, accent strength and conditioning for all their players. Some, like Aaron Judge, are marvels of chiseled stone. Others, like Jordan Montgomery and Gary Sanchez, appear to be a little pudgy. And then there’s CC Sabathia, a mammoth of a man whose announced weight rolls in at 325 pounds.

Sabathia is fat. I’m fat. Too many of us are fat. The Journal of American Medicine reports that in this dear country of ours, more than one-third (36.9%) of Americans are fat. Sorry, I mean obese. JAMA goes on to cite some statistics nobody wants to read:

"Non-Hispanic blacks have the highest age-adjusted rates of obesity (48.1%) followed by Hispanics (42.5%), non-Hispanic whites (34.5%), and non-Hispanic Asians (11.7%). Obesity is higher among middle age adults age 40-59 years (40.2%) and older adults age 60 and over (37.0%) than among younger adults age 20–39 (32.3%)."

The difference, for example, between Sabathia and someone like myself, though, is that he makes his living as an athlete on a ballfield, while I make mine sitting at a desk helping inmates get a high school diploma. He’s supposed to be able to field a bunt. I need only to pick up a pen I dropped.

Prince Fielder (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

My colleague, Mike Calendrillo, wrote a piece yesterday detailing and commenting on the exchange between Eduardo Nunez, a little guy who plays for the Red Sox, and Sabathia about bunting on a fat guy.

The battle of words centered on whether or not it is “fair” to bunt against a fat guy, who also happens to have a torn-up knee and wears a brace so he can pitch in this league.

At one point, I thought I was watching a Jerry Lewis Telethon until I realized, on two levels, this is serious stuff here. It occurred to me, for instance, that while baseball is a “gentleman’s game,” what right does Sabathia have to tell an opposing hitter what he can and cannot do.

Scott Lauber, an ESPN staff writer, reports on Twitter that even Sabathia’s manager was scratching his head regarding the dispute:

"Yankees manager Joe Girardi referred to CC Sabathia’s stance on the Red Sox bunting as an “old-school mentality.” Also said that competitiveness is why Sabathia has always been so good in big games."

Noticeably, it was nice of the Yankees manager to throw the word old in there too, since Sabathia is not only fat, he’s old, at least by baseball standards.

Pablo Sandoval (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) /

Be that as it may, there’s an underlying current in our culture today which discriminates against fat citizens. And I’m going to keep using the word fat instead of obese because that’s the way we normally talk about someone who is “overweight.”

At some point in his life with the Yankees or some other team, Sabathia’s weight zoomed out of control. Drinking probably didn’t help, and once the pounds are added, it becomes a Herculean task to remove them, save for that god-awful surgery some doctors perform, making a zillion dollars along the way. And even then, the weight usually comes right back.

My weight, as another example, just recently zoomed out of control due to the retention of water by my body. In the six months following treatment for a heart condition, I gained thirty pounds, and despite medication to treat the condition, none of it is going away. As a result, I’m fat, and I know it.

We live with it. Most of us are not happy about it, and we cringe when we see a good-looking “trim” person walking down the street or at the grocery store. And we don’t forget the fact that everything we see on television, especially in the commercials, drums into our heads that “this” is what you should look like.

I’m not asking for redemption for being fat. I’m simply asking for some understanding. And there’s a difference.

And lest we do not forget, CC Sabathia has pitched in this league for seventeen years. He was won sixty percent of his decisions and counts 234 wins, and 3,289 innings pitched against the highest level of competition that baseball offers.

And if you want to take the old American standard that money judges success, Sabathia has earned more than $242 million, and counting, pitching a baseball.

He can’t field a bunt anymore. But he can pitch lights out, beating the Red Sox on the same night this so-called story broke out. Case closed.

More from Yanks Go Yard

Except that’s only the baseball part of the story. We do have a problem with obesity in this country. It’s all around us, and we see it with our eyes every day. Unfortunately, we have other problems that supersede this one, and for the most part, obesity gets swept under the rug.

And like these other problems, maybe it’s as simple as the fact we don’t know what to do to solve obesity or any other problem for that matter.

But, you know they say, you have to start somewhere.

And maybe this would be a good time for the Yankees to launch a public service campaign while the light is brightly shining, offering a few of their dollars to sponsor, for example, a series of TV commercials on the topic, with players contributing their time by appearing in the ads.

Next: Yankees have the best starting pitching in baseball

The Yankees, in addition to being a wildly successful business, are a powerful institution in this country. There are Yankees fans everywhere, and as such, the Yankees have a sphere of influence hard to match.

Why not?

As always, I invite you to share your thoughts and comments about this story or anything Yankees on the Yanks Go Yard Facebook page.