CC Sabathia reveals ‘fake’ reason behind mysterious Red Sox feud

CC Sabathia has some Michael Jordan in him.

There has always been confusion around why the former Yankees ace seemed to hate Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. so much? There was no specific moment anybody could trace it back to, no fight or particular set of words exchanged.

But Sabathia always seemed to stare Bradley Jr. down and occasionally shout at the Red Sox outfielder. Bradley Jr. also went just 7-for-33 with 13 strikeouts while facing Sabathia.

After Mookie Betts’ appearance on Sabathia’s “R2C2” podcast on The Ringer, fans now have an answer.

“I made up a beef with Jackie Bradley Jr. just so I can hate y’all. You have to make it intense,” Sabathia explained to Betts, who is now with the Dodgers after the Red Sox traded him this offseason.

Betts responded: “To this day, we never know. Me and Jackie would be like, ‘I don’t know why…’”

Sabathia continued, “I made up a whole beef, dog, I would I do that shit with different people. I would point out a guy and be like, ‘I’m not going to like that guy so I can hate the whole team.’”

“That’s some (Michael) Jordan-type s–t,” Betts said. “That’s why you’re so great. How do you do that?”

Sabathia went on to detail where the fake feud originated, bringing Betts back to Bradley Jr.’s major league debut on Opening Day in 2013. In the top of the second inning with Sabathia on the mound, Bradley Jr. walked in his first big-league at-bat and helped the Red Sox to what would be an 8-2 win over the Yankees.

“I had to,” Sabathia said. “And because I was so cool with you and CY (Chris Young) I didn’t want you all to be comfortable in the box. I wanted you to be like, ‘This mother(expletive) is still crazy. He still wants to win.’ I had to keep that little edge so that’s the way I did it. I did it with pretty much every team. It turned into a real hate with the Rays. I would pick somebody and be like, ‘I don’t like that guy. (Expletive) that guy.’ So now I’m pissed off at the whole team. That’s just how I had to play my last seven, eight years. That’s a long time to be fake pissed off as somebody.

“I’m going to tell you exactly when it started. We played you guys Opening Day when he first got called up. I pitched that day. And I think I walked him bases loaded on a 3-2 close pitch. And Aaron Boone was doing the game (as a broadcaster).

And he was like, ‘Oh my God, Jackie Bradley. This is so great. CC has lost it. [Masahiro] Tanaka is the ace now. Jackie Bradley just proved that.’ I just (expletive) lost it. Just hearing his name in that moment made me not like him.”

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