Why DO We Love Cliff Lee?
Spring is in the air. The snow has melted, the days are longer, and the boys of summer are warming up in Clearwater. Philadelphians and, indeed, the world of baseball, are abuzz with what will surely be strong Phillies team. And we just can't stop talking about that pitching rotation.
There is one pitcher in particular that we can't get enough of. Men and women alike are utterly and totally in love with him. That pitcher is Cliff Lee. The love is so effusive that the media have taken to asking Lee about why he has such a strong connection with fans.
He did his best to answer. And it got me wondering: Just what IS it about him that we love so much? Listening to 610 WIP this week, it was suggested that the answer is because he screwed New York to come to Philadelphia. I don't think that's it--we loved him before he turned down the Yankees. We were heart-broken when he was traded to the Mariners. We quickly fell in love with Cliff Lee. It was even before the Philies' 2009 World Series appearance that we knew we liked Lee. But the fact that he won the only games that Philadelphia would take against the hateful New York Yankees made Cliff Lee's stock soar with Phillies fans.
The fact that Lee then turned down a more lucrative offer from New York to Philadelphia, means that he will always be a legend in this town.
CSNPhilly asked Lee to explain why fans love him so much. In an attempt to help him, I gave him a little hint. A Cliff's note, if you will. *dodges tomato*
The Sports Muse is not so one-dimensional. Looks don't make the man (this is what I hear, anyway). Yes, Cliff Lee is handsome. But this can't be why he has such a strong legion of fans.
I've tried to answer the question for myself, and here is my answer. Why do I love Cliff Lee? Because he's good. He's confident, yet understated. He has a total devotion to his craft. He doesn't get distracted by the many trappings (and temptations) that surround professional sports. Cliff Lee aims to pitch the ball and pitch it as well as anybody can throw a ball. That's it. If you like him for it, great. If you don't, I'm sure he doesn't lose any sleep over it. And that just makes me love him all the more.
What's the reason you love Cliff Lee?