CC Sabathia’s mother, Margie Sabathia-Lanier, honored as Little League Baseball’s parent of the year
By Anthony McCarron, NY Daily News
But CC Sabathia had more than a little to learn about sportsmanship back then, his mom says. And the day the only other 10-year-old in the league who approached CC’s size crushed a home run off the future Yankee, Sabathia-Lanier knew she needed to take advantage of a teaching moment.
On the mound, her son pulled the bill of his cap down over his eyes and started bawling. “I said, ‘Are you crying? Are you serious, dude?'” Sabathia-Lanier recalled.
“She came to the dugout and made me ride my bike home,” CC Sabathia remembered, smiling. That was the day the Yankee ace’s sportsmanship changed. “That was the end of the crying,” Sabathia’s mother said. “He wanted to win so bad, but I was always making sure he knew we were out there to have fun. And once he figured that out, he was fine.
“I tease him about that all the time now.”
Sabathia-Lanier has long been involved in Little League and now runs the snack bar – “Margie’s Place” – and helps oversee the North Vallejo Little League. That’s why she is in Williamsport, Pa., Thursday to receive Little League Baseball’s parent of the year award, an honor named for former President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara, and given to a parent of a major leaguer.
Sabathia’s foundation, PitCCh In, spent about $100,000 last year to help refurbish the same fields where the Yankee ace once pitched. It turned out so well, Sabathia says he’d like to redo the fields at Vallejo High, his alma mater.
While Sabathia-Lanier serves up giant-sized “CC dogs” drizzled with her son’s favorite – chili – at the Little League snack bar, her husband, Al Lanier, is the league’s equipment manager. The kids in the league, she says, “keep her going,” so much so that when she saw them in the Opening Day parade this year, she hid in a corner of the concession stand and “boo-hooed” tears of joy.
It all brings back memories of when CC was a Little Leaguer and Margie would don catcher’s gear so her son could throw a few more pitches after practice was over. She always carried his birth certificate during tournaments because opposing coaches refused to believe her son wasn’t too old to play.
“My baby’s been big his whole life,” Sabathia-Lanier said. “All of a sudden in kindergarten, he shot up. He constantly kept me buying shoes.”