“The Crest is driving me crazy, but I love the way it raised me.”
– Mac Dre
Zero in and Country Club Crest — a.k.a. “The Crest” — is a neighborhood in Vallejo, California, North Bay, an hour from San Francisco. For those who came up there, it’s an attitude.
A way of life. It’s the “hood,” as its most famous son CC Sabathia affectionately calls it — a place where Game Recognizes Game, and the legends of its streets connect to the lifeblood of its community.
CC came up in The Crest, a place that rapper Mac Dre immortalized through song. “I be that cold Crest creeper, stompin’ and rompin’, putting the Crest on the map, like NWA did Compton.” Mac Dre was a legend, just like rapper E40 is. Legends are everywhere when you zoom in. The eucalyptus tree far beyond the right field fence at Vallejo High where CC once hit a ball. Legendary. The grapefruit tree in his grandmother’s backyard, in which he learned to pitch by throwing grapefruits at a folding chair. The mound he pitched on in the North Vallejo Little League, in which dreams began coming to life.
Who is CC? He’s the man greatest known as the master of the strike zone. The hyphy beat and Sawyer Street, and the sun that shines down on the scene. CC never left the Crest; he brought it with him on his journey.
Because when you zoom out his life becomes extraordinary. A six-time Major League All-Star, a World Series Champion, a Cy Young Winner and American League MVP. A black kid who dreamed big, and a proud member of the Black Aces who won 21 games in 2010 while wearing the pinstripes of the New York Yankees. The youngest pitcher in the league when he debuted with Cleveland at 20 years old and sure-fire Hall of Famer when retired 19 years later a Yankee.
A pitcher who pitched his heart out and gave it everything he had, each and every single time he took the mound. An idol of the Bronx, and a fan favorite who never was anything other than who he was. Forever a son. Forever a father and a husband. Forever black. Forever North Bay. Forever a kid dreaming of the major leagues in his grandmother’s backyard. Forever dreaming. Forever inspiring.
Vallejo, California, North Bay, an hour from San Francisco. A place of hard times and crimes, a place of character, community and camaraderie, where game always recognizes game. That vibe defines the swagger and heart of CC Sabathia. For a baseball legend who recorded 251 wins, struck out 3,093 batters and left an indelible mark on America’s pastime, he never strayed from his roots. Through every wind-up and every pitch, he was always coming home.