A new chapter for Lee and Sabathia

Updated: October 27, 2009, 12:08 PM ET
By Buster Olney
The old friends pitched against each other in the first game ever at new Yankee Stadium back in April, and then afterward, CC Sabathia took Cliff Lee to his place to catch up, to hang out, to see a friend who had stopped by -- Michael Jordan. They all had dinner together.

That was just one day among many in the shared history of Lee and Sabathia, teammates for years in the Indians' organization. There are more memorable days to come. Lee and Sabathia will start against each other in Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday night, and depending on the decisions made by their respective managers, they could face each other in Games 4 and 7, as well.

Their lockers were side by side in the Cleveland clubhouse, and they played catch together, along with Jake Westbrook; Sabathia teased Lee good-naturedly for being a backwoods product of Arkansas. But they also helped each other get to this moment in time. Former Indians pitching coach Carl Willis recalled Monday that when Sabathia went winless for weeks in parts of 2005 and 2006, Lee was there with encouragement, assuring Sabathia that he would work through his problems on the mound. When Lee, who had won 32 games in 2005 and 2006, slumped so precipitously in 2007 that he was sent to the minors, it was Sabathia who provided some tough love and then lots of phone calls of support to Lee in Buffalo, N.Y.