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Your first “Cliff Lee wasn’t cut out for New York” article of the day

Dec 14, 2010, 12:41 PM EDT

New York skyline

It’s one thing for Cliff Lee to decide that he’s not cut out for New York. Or for him to think that he’s simply better-cut-out for someplace else.  It’s another thing altogether for people who don’t know a thing about the guy to assume they know that. Guys like George Vecsey of the New York Times:

The Yankees, who had dreamed of throwing C. C. Sabathia and Lee as twin aces, always expect to get their man. Big Bronx bucks are almost always enough to bring anybody to the Bronx. Some of them thrive — Mark Teixeira, Sabathia, Hideki Matsui, David Cone,Paul O’Neill, and even Alex Rodriguez, in his diva way. But there is a whole history of players who have not thrived in New York, for one reason or another: Johnson, Brown, Pavano. It’s not for everybody. And presumably not for Cliff Lee from Arkansas.

Or, as we noted this morning, maybe Lee thinks he’s so awesome that he’s willing to gamble the greater guaranteed dollars the Yankees offered him for the chance at the greater money the Phillies will pay him if his 2016 option vests.  Maybe New York was too timid for him.

In all seriousness though, it seems inevitable that certain Yankees fans and certain New York writers will rush to make what is a baseball personnel matter into a referendum on the player’s guts or character. To make it the presumption that New York is where everyone wants to be and, if it doesn’t work out that way, it was the player’s issues, not their own.  I can’t express to you how grating I find that to be.

I’m not predisposed to like giant cities. I was also once offered a job in New York. My decision not to take the job had nothing to do with my taste for giant cities and everything to do with the money and the employer and the job and all of that. If it was a close call, yeah, then lifestyle and stuff would have been important, but it didn’t get that far.  A lot of people are like that, I imagine.

Some people would simply rather play for the Philadelphia Phillies, ya know?

  1. nps6724 - Dec 14, 2010 at 12:46 PM

    Uhh, Tex was either equal or better in Texas, Atlanta, AND Anaheim than he’s been in New York.

  2. BC - Dec 14, 2010 at 12:53 PM

    Let’s go Mets. Let’s finish in third.
    I mean, at this point why bother…..

    • sdelmonte - Dec 14, 2010 at 1:16 PM

      Because you never know what will happen. Yes, the odds are against the Mets. But there are always injuries, unforeseen slumps, unexpected hot streaks.

  3. sportsdrenched - Dec 14, 2010 at 1:00 PM

    “To make it the presumption that New York is where everyone wants to be and, if it doesn’t work out that way, it was the player’s issues, not their own. I can’t express to you how grating I find that to be”

    Thank You. I’m not all that impressed with NY either, and I get annoyed when people think I should be. It’s a place. If you like that place, live there. If you don’t, don’t. Just understand that people with options live where they live because they want to live there, and there reasons are their own.

  4. Jonny 5 - Dec 14, 2010 at 1:01 PM

    I’m exactly “that way”…

  5. yankeesfanlen - Dec 14, 2010 at 1:20 PM

    I don’t like living here either. Give me Myrtle Beach and the MLB package.

  6. heiniemanush - Dec 14, 2010 at 1:25 PM

    I live in Manhattan but most people I hear complain about the city live in Brooklyn. Right now, I’d gladly take a hit in pay to join LeBron down in Miami—anything to escape this bloody cold weather.

    • Utley's Hair - Dec 14, 2010 at 3:26 PM

      The frightening part about that? It’s not even winter yet.

  7. Reflex - Dec 14, 2010 at 5:05 PM

    I fully agree with this post. I’ve been offered lots of money to go to big cities, LA, San Fran, NYC and Boston to name a few. Even after cost of living adjustments they have been as much as three times my current pay. But at the end fo the day I’m not a big city guy. Seattle is nice, but it dosen’t feel ‘big’, people are generally friendly, and the east side burbs are no bigger than your typical mid-size town, making the ‘city’ portion of the lifestyle purely optional.

    Does that mean I couldn’t ‘make it’ in New York or elsewhere? Of course not. I’d do just fine. Heck, given enough time I could even grow to like it. But I don’t really want to, and thus I stay where I am or consider offers from other comparable areas(which is how I got here in the first place).

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