Monday, December 27, 2010

Cliff Lee afraid of the NY media?? Laughable!

Now that the Cliff Lee dust has settled it's time to clear the air on what I think is a ludicrous argument by Yankee fans regarding his signing.
Some people are under the ridiculous delusion that the reason Cliff Lee didn't sign with the Yankees was because of the tough New York media. As far as I'm concerned that argument has as much credibility as a report that The Dome Of The Rock is hosting Bar Mitzvahs.
Granted New York and Boston are two of the toughest cities to play in when it comes to the media. With so many papers vying for a story reporters are up players' asses more than a proctologist. It takes a certain kind of person to deal with the New York media. Randy Johnson couldn't do it, Jeff Weaver couldn't do it, and Jack Wilson couldn't do it. As a player you better be thick skinned if you want to play in New York.
However, saying that Cliff Lee decided to play in Philadelphia rather than New York because of the media is absurd. Hello??? It's freakin' Philadelphia. You know? The same town that booed Santa Claus, booed Mike Schmidt, threw bottles at refs, cheered when Michael Irvin almost broke his neck, and threw batteries at J.D. Drew. Philly isn't New York but it's not Omaha either. And Cliff Lee sure isn't Zack Greinke. Lee doesn't have self-esteem issues or social anxiety disorder as far as I'm aware.
As a player you have to have a high degree of mental toughness to play in the City of Brotherly Love. Just ask Allen Iverson. Oh that's right you can't he's at practice in Turkey. (Wait we talkin' 'bout practice in Turkey? Practice? In Turkey? Practice?)
To put it bluntly Yankee fans (myself included) Cliff Lee didn't want to go to New York because he did not want to play for the Yankees. Think about it. This guy re-signed with a team THAT TRADED HIM THE YEAR BEFORE. It had nothing to do with money or the media. In point of fact in might have had something to do with how poorly Lee's wife was treated by the fans during the ALCS. (You stay classy Yankee fans!)
Lee for better or for worse is now a Philly. But don't think for one moment that if he has a bad April that the media and the fans won't be all over him. They will. At that point he'll have to demonstrate the kind of mental toughness in the locker room dealing with reporters, that fans have become so used to seeing on the mound.
So don't kid yourself Yankee fans. Stating that it's a good thing Lee didn't come to New York because he couldn't deal with the media is just chugging the Kool-Aid. Kool-Aid that just happens to taste like sour grapes.

1 comment:

  1. While I don't disagree with your main premise, I do disagree that Randy Johnson didn't pitch well in NY because he couldn't handle the pressure. When Johnson was traded to the Yankees, he was 41 years old. He should've been on the downward slope of his career several years prior. The fact he was still pitching as well as he was at age 40 was shocking. I think if you look at most of the players that supposedly couldn't handle the pressure of NY or Boston, you'll find that most of them joined the Yankees or Red Sox in their 30s. Media pressure is the most convenient excuse, but age related regression is the most likely.

    Other than that, good article. :)