To his millions of fans, CC Sabathia is not your ordinary guy.
Sabathia is not only considered one of the greatest pitchers in Major League Baseball; he is also the recipient of the 2007 Cy Young Award.
Away from his famous #52 pin-striped uniform, Sabathia is a doting father, who loves nothing more than scoring a home run with his four children: Carsten, also known as Lil' C, 8; Jaden, 6; Cyia, 3, and Carter, 1.
Parents.com spoke exclusively to CC Sabathia and his wife, Amber, about how they run the bases in their own home, especially when Mommy and Daddy are up at bat.
Parents.com: A big congratulations is in order. How are you feeling going into the playoffs?CC: Excited! I'm feeling healthy and glad to get the opportunity to win the championship for the New York Yankees.
Amber, how would you rate CC in the father category?Amber: If it were a score of 1 to 10...he would have to be an 11. He's an amazing husband, father, and friend. CC is very loving and it shows as he fathers. His kids definitely give him the number-one dad crown!
CC, how do you stay in touch with your children while you're on the road for a game? CC: We FaceTime and Skype. My two older kids got iPods for their birthdays, so they can FaceTime their dad whenever they need him. They always get a six o'clock call right after dinner and I make sure I talk to each child. Even my 1-year-old gets on the phone and says "daddy." They know my schedule by now and count the days back until I get home.
When you Skype, do you do anything goofy with your children to make them laugh? CC: No, my kids make me laugh. Our daughter always has a new dance move she learned in hip- hop that she wants to show me. Lil' C always seems to have a sports highlight from ESPN's top ten that he wants to talk about.
What activities or performances in your kids' lives have you had to miss because you're on the road with your team? CC: I have missed sports games, recitals, the first day of school, and parents' day at camp. We have, however, mastered the baseball schedule. Although I miss a few games, with the off- season being from November to February, I get to make-up those moments by attending every sports event or recital during those months. During the off-season, I take my kids to school every day I can. Since I miss parents' day at camp, I will go see them on an off day during the season. I was lucky enough to watch my son hit a grand slam at sports camp and that was great. Yes, I may miss some things, but honestly, I think I get to see more than a dad who works a daily 9 to 5.
Amber, what do you do to make it possible for CC to share in the father experience when he returns? Amber: During the off-season I make him wake up at 7 A.M. and do "daddy duty," which consists of everything I do on a daily basis. I joke with him that he should catch up on his sleep when he's on the road because during the off-season I don't feel sorry for him. There's no need for him to sleep in, because he didn't pitch the night before, so if I'm up then he's up too.
How do you juggle four kids while your husband is traveling? Amber: I just came to the conclusion last year that every other week I am a single mother. I tip my hat to all of the single mothers out there. It's a job that takes patience, courage, and a lot of energy. I'm so grateful for my nanny. I didn't get a nanny until I had my third child. She was six months old, and would you believe two days went by that I didn't get a chance to shower? It was then I knew I needed help! My advice? Get a break any time you can, even if it's a shower, watching a show you TiVo'd, or sitting quietly for an hour. Carve out some time and take it. That's the only way I'm able to keep sane. I enjoy my kids and try to laugh as much as possible; even when they're crying and screaming, I'm laughing!
Do they ever ask you, "Where is Daddy? When is he coming home?" Amber: We have made a new rule that has made Daddy's leaving much easier. When he goes on the road, the kids get to sleep with Mommy. We have a custom bed that has plenty of space for four kids. My daughter screamed during CC's last road trip, "Yay, Daddy's going to Tampa so we get to sleep with Mommy!" But, yes, they are so happy to see him walking through the door when he returns from the road. The reason Daddy's leaving is never sad is that they know he always comes back.
Do you let them stay up late to watch the evening games? Amber: I have four children. When it comes to raising four kids, you need to stay on a schedule. Bedtime is 8:30, so if they want to watch the first few innings, that's fine, but at 8:30 the TV goes off. Once the kids are asleep, it is Mommy time.
Which means?? Amber: I take a shower, watch TiVo, or read a book. I always look forward to that 8:30 bedtime and, yes, even Daddy pitching doesn't change that.
CC, what do you do with your kids during your off-season? CC: We love to travel. We usually go away during Thanksgiving break and then Christmas break through New Year's. Amber and I are both from California so we tend to go back home for the holidays. We also have our annual Christmas Caravan with our "PitCCh In Foundation" (PitCChInFoundation.org); we bring our two older children to four different events so they understand what charity and giving back are all about.
Do you play baseball with them? CC: Lil' C is a huge baseball fan. He keeps me outside playing until the snow comes down, and then we move our baseball game into our indoor basketball court. I'm excited to play with Carter this off-season because he just began to walk. My daughters can swing a bat too.
What position do they practice the most? CC: Lil' C wants to play every position, but pitcher is his favorite.
How are their pitching arms? CC: Lil' C played travel baseball this year and he pitched every game.
What if, when your daughters start dating, they bring home a Red Sox fan? CC: It would be great that he likes baseball, but he must be an Oakland Raiders football fan!
You were recently quoted as saying that you lost a lot of weight. What made you shed the pounds? CC: My knee. I went through surgery this last off-season and I wanted to stay healthy and keep the pounds off.
I read that you cut Cap'n Crunch from your diet. Are you really a fan? CC: Yes. My kids are too and that's why it's hard to keep it out of my pantry.
Amber, how did you help CC lose weight and teach your kids about cutting down on sweets? CC: I had Carter last year and I gained 65 pounds from my pregnancy, so I had a lot of weight to lose. As a result, we decided to do it together. It's much easier to lose weight when you're doing it as a team. We had each other to motivate and help us stay focused. We even worked out together at the gym in our house until we began fighting over the iPod playlist [laughs].
CC, are the kids allowed to wear only #52 jerseys? CC: That's all they have in their closets, along with a lot of custom pink Yankees gear with bling for the girls. My boys love the spray-painted Yankees gear
What is your number-one parenting tip for dads? CC: Enjoy your kids; have patience and love them.
Amber, what is your number-one tip for moms, especially if they have husbands like yours who tend to be away for stretches of time? Amber: Stay on schedule, no matter how intense the day gets. The traveling, the late nights, and having such a cool dad can be diversions, but you need structure, or else you can get overwhelmed. Kids love structure just as much as moms do!
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