On April 8, 2001, a 20-year-old CC Sabathia made his Major League debut at the then-named Jacobs Field. As he got into Cleveland for the All-Star Game festivities on Monday, he admitted that moment and others crossed his mind.
It's hard not to reminisce if you're Sabathia, especially considering why he's back where it all started in the first place. The MLB decided it was right to honor Sabathia, who is in his final MLB season, and he couldn't be anymore grateful.
"This is an incredible experience," Sabathia told reporters. "When Alex [Cora] called me and just had me considered to be able to come here, I was just honored. I never thought about myself in this light, I guess, and to have the MLB want to recognize me and bring me here to the All-Star Game is incredible and awesome for my family. We're all excited to be back where it all started.
"Getting here today was sentimental just thinking about -- you know, I started here. I pulled up here around this time, 21 years ago I was 17 years old and didn't know what the future was going to hold. To be able to be here now 19 years later in the big leagues is amazing."
Sabathia rose to fame during his time in Cleveland, earning three of his six All-Star Game nods with the Indians. After a quick stint in Milwaukee, he has been with the Yankees ever since.
Speaking of his current team, Sabathia had nothing but good things to stay after a stellar first half. New York leads the AL East by a nice 6 1/2-game spread following three wins out of four against the Rays, who are second in the division, to finish the first half.
That margin, along with what the Yankees have been able to overcome injury-wise in the first half, is why Sabathia said this situation in the Bronx right now is "the best position since I've been here."
"This is a special group," he told SNY's Andy Martino. "This is a team that's really young, but really talented. [I] think it has a good mix of young players and veterans that can get it done. I've played on a lot of teams, but this team is special in the fact that the core of it has been together since 2017 and we all have a common goal and that's to win the World Series."
We'll see what the second half holds for Sabathia and the Yankees, but for now, things are looking just as they were supposed to before the season began. As for Sabathia himself, he's still putting up solid numbers in Year 19, owning a 4.03 ERA over 14 starts thus far.
But before he gears up to make that World Series run with his teammates, he'll be sure to soak in his final All-Star Game experience, one where he will be the man of honor.