I don’t know if you guys were aware, but Cliff Lee is really good at throwing baseballs. We seem to have forgotten this in the hype over the frankly insane notion that it might be wise to trade Cliff Lee to…some other team for some other ballplayer. But that has not come to pass, thank God. Tonight? Seven innings, no runs, five hits, one walk, seven strikeouts, and with the bat, 1-for-3 with a stolen base, a run and an RBI. A “screw you for even thinking about trading me” performance if ever I saw one.
We’ve all wondered how Cliff Lee became so good at baseball. When Lee rejoined the Philliesin 2011, he caught a ride to Spring Training with Cole Hamels, Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard. Lee told Hamels, Rollins and Howard during that car ride.
Cliff Lee: You folks going past Clearwater?
Cole Hamels: Sure, hop in.
Jimmy Rollins: How you doin’, son? Name’s Jimmy. These two soggy sons of bitches are Cole and Ryan. Keep your fingers away from Ryan’s mouth, he ain’t eaten for 13 years, ’cept Subway footlongs, cheese steaks and grooved fastballs.
Cliff Lee: Thanks for the lift, sir. My name’s Cliff. Cliff Lee.
Hamels: How you doin’, Cliff? Say, I haven’t seen a ballclub here for miles. What’re are you doing out in the middle of nowhere?
Cliff Lee: I had to be at that crossroads last midnight. Sell my soul to the devil.
Rollins: Ain’t it a small world, spiritually speakin’? Cole and Ryan just been baptized and saved. I guess I’m the only one still unaffiliated!
Hamels: This ain’t no laughing matter, Jimmy.
Rollins: What’d the devil give you for your soul, Cliff?
Lee: Well, he taught me to throw this here baseball real good.
Hamels: Oh, son, for that you traded your everlasting soul?
Lee: Well, I wasn’t usin’ it.
Howard: I’ve always wondered, what’s the devil look like?
Rollins: Well, of course, there are all manner of lesser imps and demons, Ryan, but the great Satan hisself is red and scaly with a bifurcated tail and he carries a hayfork.
Lee: Oh, no, sir. He’s half-Mexican, half-Jewish. With empty eyes, and a big hollow ego. And he travels around with an enormous sack of money and no grasp of the long-term consequences of his actions.
Howard: And he told you to go to Clearwater?
Lee: Well, no, sir. That was my idea. I heard there’s a man down there–he pays folks money to pitch for his baseball team. They say he pays ‘em extra if’n they pitch real good.
Rollins: Clearwater, huh? How much he pay?