Lee’s Decision Refreshing For Baseball

By: T.J. Zuppe

Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels and now Cliff Lee – the new starting four of the Philadelphia Phillies.

My goodness, if you reside in the National League East, let me be the first to thank you for coming. Be sure to pick up your door prize on your way out, as you have been unofficially mathematically eliminated from the division crown.

This of course comes after the early Tuesday news that free-agent left-hander had reportedly come to terms with his new team, which also happened to be his old team, the Philadelphia Phillies. The deal was believed to be worth five-years worth 120 million dollars.

Phillies Reportedly Sign Pitcher Cliff Lee

When you first look at that number, is it hard to fathom making that much money playing baseball. But when you examine even closer, there is an even bigger story than the potential historic rotation Lee has become a part of.

Throughout the off-season, we know Lee was being courted by the team he finished the season with, the Texas Rangers, and the team that throws money at every issue and always gets their man, the New York Yankees.

However, in signing with the Phillies, not only did Lee continue an off-season theme of New York getting the old “thanks but no thanks” card sent their way (Carl Crawford opted for Boston, Lebron James told the Knicks no, in favor of Miami), he also left several dollars, not to mention guaranteed years on the table.

Instead of inking a seven-year deal, Lee opted for five – a move that could be questioned considering he will turn 33 during the 2011 campaign. When his reported deal is up with the Phillies, Lee could be looking at a final year or two, if not retirement.

Yet, for Lee, it was more than just the money. Just say that again.

It was about more than just the money. Let that sink in for just a minute.

Granted Lee is making more money than most of us will ever see. It is not as if he offered to play for the league’s minimum salary and he is clearly earning more than enough to satisfy his needs.

Cliff Lee

Though, in the age of “it’s just business,” Lee made it personal. He made it his business to get back to the city he never really wanted to leave anyway.

He decided his love for the team and city were more important. He took his wife’s wishes into account.

He decided the evil empire just was not for him. He went about it the right way, informing the Rangers he would not be returning, not using them as only leverage and toying with the emotions of the organization, not allowing them to move on.

Basically, he left money on the table to make sure he was happy in his situation. If only more athletes truly took that approach, the landscape of sports would be a more refreshing one.

If you did not before, how can you not root for him now? Unless, of course, you reside in the NL East. Then I understand your pain.

However, we can all agree, baseball needs more refreshing stories like Cliff Lee.

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1 Comment

  1. Ever since Lee disrespected the Indians fans on his way out the door I have had no use for him. He’s a punk much like Mrs. Wade.


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