"I just flipped out," Sabathia said.
The incident took place on Friday night after the Yankees-Blue Jays game at Rogers Centre. A video, which first surfaced on Twitter on Saturday night, according to Sabathia, showed the 6-foot-7, 300-pound pitcher yelling at what he described as hecklers. Sabathia motioned as if he wanted to make the verbal confrontation physical. Two members of Sabathia's party pushed him into a cab, averting what later turned into a melee. The video received wider Internet distribution when TMZ posted it on Monday.
"It was a bad decision on my part," Sabathia said before the Yankees hosted Minnesota on Monday. "I probably should've kept quiet and got in a cab. I'm just glad I ended up getting in the cab before everything went down. I didn't know that big fight happened afterward. It was just a bad decision on my part."
Sabathia, 35, declined to reveal what the hecklers said to him, but he said it is not unusual for him to hear negative words when he is out in public. He did say the comments were not racial in nature.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi learned about the incident only when Sabathia told him Monday. Girardi declined most questions about the incident, including if there would be any internal discipline.
Sabathia (4-9, 5.23 ERA) initially was scheduled to pitch Monday, but his start was moved back to Tuesday because the Yankees wanted to give each starter an extra day of rest. The decision to move Sabathia's start had nothing to do with Friday's incident, Girardi said.
"I always bring up with athletes [if] you do something embarrassing in the public, sometimes four or five, 10 people see it. Now, it is instantly uploaded and millions of people see it," Girardi said. "The pressure that people are under and the embarrassment that people are under can make it very difficult. When you are out in public, everything is fair game. Whatever you do has a chance to be posted on the Internet. I think you have to be more careful today than you ever have."
Sabathia said the toughest lesson is that he will have to explain what happened to his 12-year-old son.
"It is tough because I have a 12-year-old now and he has a cellphone," Sabathia said.
"Dad had a bad night" is what Sabathia said he will tell his son.