CC Sabathia said he "flipped out" at hecklers outside a Toronto nightclub early Saturday morning, but he still came away feeling fortunate.
"I think I was definitely lucky the other night that I had friends to push me in the cab, that cared enough to get me out of that situation," Sabathia said Monday afternoon.
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The lefthander's reaction to the heckling, which he characterized as "a little bit" personal in nature, was caught on a camera phone and released Monday by TMZ. Sabathia said the incident, which did not result in police intervention, occurred entirely outside the club and lasted "literally 25 seconds."
Sabathia was seen yelling and pointing on the video.
"Bad decision on my part," said Sabathia, whose scheduled start Monday night was bumped to Tuesday night, but only because of an unrelated decision to give every rotation member extra rest. "Probably should have just kept quiet and gotten in the cab. I'm just glad I ended up getting in the cab before everything that went down."
What went down, as shown in the video, appeared to be a full-blown street fight breaking out moments after Sabathia, 35, was shoved in the cab by a cousin and a small group of friends.
Other than saying the heckling entailed "nothing racial," Sabathia said he did not recall what was said or what time the incident occurred.
The 6-7, 285-pound Sabathia is easy to spot, and reaction from fans isn't unusual. Some of it is negative. "That happens a lot, actually, so that's why I said I could have easily just brushed it off, gotten in the cab and had a good night," he said.
Joe Girardi declined to comment on the episode before Monday night's game and also declined to comment on whether Sabathia faces any discipline from the team. That would seem unlikely, at least based on video footage.
Players are not required to live as hermits, ensconced in their hotel rooms, on the road. There is no ironclad curfew, no bed checks. "You don't hide. I go out all the time. I go to dinner, I do different things," Sabathia said. "It was a bad night and they caught me at a bad time and got a bad reaction."
Sabathia informed team security about the incident Saturday morning. Girardi said he did not find out about it until Monday afternoon when he arrived at the Stadium.
"When you're out in public, everything's fair game," he said, reiterating a message relayed to players from the time they report for spring training. "So whatever you do has a chance to be posted on the Internet. So I think your behavior, you have to be more careful today than you've ever had to be."
Girardi later said, "There is no privacy in this world. There isn't. Even team meetings, it's hard to have privacy today, and you strive for that. But you try to remind players as much as you can [that] you have to watch your behavior and what you say."