Hey, great swing! Wait, is that CC Sabathia?

He's traded the mound for the batter's box

May 21st, 2021

Imagine the scene: You grab your glove, pull on your T-shirt with the name of whatever local bar or laundromat is sponsoring your softball team and step out onto the field. And that's where you're confronted by the 6-foot-6 former Major League star and possible future Hall of Famer CC Sabathia stepping into the batter's box.

That's right: Two years after hanging up his cleats, Sabathia is back on the diamond. Only this time, it's not up in the Bronx, but Central Park's North Meadow. And the team he plays for isn't the Yankees, but the Warriors.

“This is something I’ve been talking about doing for years,” Sabathia told Curbed. “Playing softball in Central Park was like a bucket-list thing, and getting to do it with my buddies is even more fun.”

Yup, when Sabathia isn't spending his retirement working on his podcast, R2C2, or working with his charity, The PitCCh In Foundation, or dropping a new line of clothes, or hanging with his family -- the dude is busy -- he's out there playing softball.

But Sabathia's done pitching. After 561 career appearances on the mound, he had no desire to do that anymore. Instead, he's playing first base and crushing softballs like this one:

After joining up with the team thanks to his friendship with Matt Siegel, who has worked at YES Network and had stints at Sabathia's agency, Roc Nation Sports and Patricof Co, an investment firm for athletes, Sabathia got to work. Surprisingly, it wasn't easy going at first.

In his first two at-bats with the team, Sabathia simply hit the ball weakly into play. It's a little surprising -- while Sabathia wasn't going to win any Silver Slugger Awards, the pitcher collected 25 hits in his big league career while rarely getting at-bats after playing most of his career in the American League. But Sabathia soon got the hang of the underhand tosses and has started blasting balls off the left-field fence that's some 285 feet away.

“He’s hit a couple of bombs off that fence,” team manager Mike Lunetta said. “I’ve been playing there for a long time, and I haven’t seen anybody do that.”

Screengrab via mattsiegel7 on Instagram.

While Sabathia may be the most famous recent player to take up softball after retiring, he's far from the last. Ballplayers love to play and have an almost instinctual need to compete. MLB Network's Eric Byrnes was spotted on the softball field just a week after being released by the Mariners in 2010. Former big leaguer hurler Jeremy Hellickson is now a ringer for his local softball team, and former Royals slugger Billy Butler is now crushing softballs, too.

So, next time you're in New York and after you've visited Yankee Stadium, maybe drop by Central Park. You might just be surprised by who you see step into the batter's box.