|Aww...yeah! I just got outta jail, biotch!|
I know that I’m a couple of days behind on this story, but I felt that it was necessary for me to hold off a few days so I could write about it in a fair, unbiased manner. Tyler Kepner of the New York Times gives us the scoop:
“When the millions start piling up at the negotiating table this winter, the behavior of a few rowdy Yankees fans will probably make no difference to Cliff Lee, the Texas Rangers’ ace and a pending free agent. But Lee’s wife, Kristen, was disturbed by the fans at Yankee Stadium during Game 3 of the American League Championship Series last week.
“The fans did not do good things in my heart,” she told USA Today. “When people are staring at you and saying horrible things, it’s hard not to take it personal.”
This might shock you, but apparently Yankee fans were shouting obscenities, throwing cups of beer, and spitting from the balcony above—or as I call it, a typical Yankee fan’s Saturday night. (Perhaps, I should’ve waited a few more days to write this post…) All of this occurred while Cliff Lee’s wife, Kristen, was sitting in the family section of the stadium.
Since this report came out, bloggers, sportswriters, and talking heads have been trying to put their spin on what this means for the Yankees chances of signing Cliff Lee. I’m here to tell you, in no uncertain terms, that this situation will have absolutely no effect on the Yankees ability to sign him. If there’s one thing the Yankees have going for them, it’s their ability to change a player’s perception simply by throwing additional money around. I’m not saying this as a bad thing either, because it’s a great advantage to have. While it certainly would be a nice story if the World Series champion Rangers (assuming they win) were able to re-sign their ace pitcher to a long-term deal, I’m not sure it’s realistic. The Yankees are coming off of a season where they failed to reach the World Series. In Yankeeland, anything short of a championship is considered to be nothing less than an absolute failure. Considering how shallow their rotation as been in each of the last two seasons (particularly the postseasons), Lee seems like an obvious target. Once the Yankees identify a target, they very rarely miss the mark.
I have no doubt the Rangers will put forth their best effort to retain Lee, but it’s hard for me to imagine him not following the money. I’m not saying he’s greedy by any means. I’m saying without some sort of nostalgic reason (beyond the winning a championship), I don’t see him taking a “home town discount” to stay in Texas. For someone that’s been passed around like a cheerleader at a frat party over the past two seasons ( he’s played for four teams: Cleveland, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Texas), Lee is going to look to cash in and settle down. What better place to do that, then New York. Unfortunately…