01/12/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Yanks Had to Sell NYC to CC Sabathia While Offering $161 million

When did this happen? When did the most famous team in baseball in one of the world's great cities have to sell itself? So much so that the New York Yankees had to bid against themselves to sign the biggest free agent pitcher on the market.

Brian Cashman, the team's general manager, played the role of a college football coach trying to recruit a high school senior when he flew to the home of CC Sabathia. He chatted with him and his wife about why they should be happy to move to New York and become part of the Yankees family. He had to throw more money into a monstrously great offer and give the pitcher the right to flee town after three years if he didn't like it.

Was it after Randy Johnson got to town, growled at paparazzi and then proceeded to struggle with injuries and bad pitching performances before he ran out of there? Or is it related to the treatment given to Alex Rodriguez, one of baseball's premier hitters when his every word just never seems to hit the right note with the daily papers in the city?

Whatever it is has put the Big Apple in the position of a small market city with a climate that isn't ideal for outdoor sports. In that situation you have to bring brochures produced by the Chamber of Commerce, talk about how a mansion is now affordable in a less expensive housing market and stress the family friendly nature of the environment. For those that don't know, New York City has beautiful suburbs within easy driving distance of Yankee Stadium. Most of the stars on the team who have families don't live in the city.

When the largest pot of money on the planet is sitting in front of you to take, and you have to be convinced to reach for it, that indicates a problem of large proportions. God knows the tabloid press in the city won't be changing anytime soon but in this Internet age, you don't have to live in New York to get your chain yanked on Deadspin or ESPN. Does anyone have an answer for me that sounds plausible?