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Cliff Lee tries to compliment Ron Washington, slights him instead

Big League Stew

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SAN FRANCISCO — Texas Rangers ace Cliff Lee(notes) isn't normally known for being a funny guy, but he rambled his way into some laughs during Tuesday's World Series media day at AT&T Park.

Asked a question about his manager — "What makes Ron Washington so special to play for?" went the query — Lee did a little bit of unintentional undermining with his answer.

Again, Lee meant no harm or disrespect, but his winding response ended up even drawing a smile from himself. After the jump, find a blow-by-blow account of Lee's response and his efforts to extricate himself from the wrong path he went down.

So Cliff, "what makes Ron Washington so special to play for?"

"He's a laid-back guy, kind of lets things unfold, enjoys baseball."

Ah, yes. The old lifer as player's coach route. So far, so good. Just throw in a few clichés and we'll move onto the question about Yankees fans harrassing your wife.

"You know, he's got a really easy team to manage, I know that much, with just the talent that's in the room."

OK Cliff, you have a point there. The Rangers are very talented. But watch yourself. You probably don't want to describe the guy who controls your playing time as a mere dugout fixture.

"Usually when you have really good players, that makes the manager that much better."

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Again, can't disagree. All 30 managers probably said something similar this season. You have good players, you win a lot of ballgames. Just get back to saying something about Wash being a good guy and that you're happy he finally managed his way into this opportunity.

"I don't know if that's politically correct to say that or whatever ... "

It probably isn't.

"... But when you've got a team like this ..."

Danger, Will Robinson!

"... you'd have a hard time screwing that up, to be honest with you, at least offensively."

Oh dear.

"I've had to face [the Rangers lineup] over the years, and it's not a lot of fun. When you start pitching around Josh Hamilton(notes) and then you're staring at Vladimir Guerrero(notes) and Nelson Cruz(notes) and Ian Kinsler(notes), it's not a lot of fun because it's a very powerful lineup."

Big save, Cliff! You're out of the deep end! Stop while you're ahead!

"I feel like I could fill that lineup every day and throw it out there."

SMH

"I mean, it's a winner."

Well, it did get to the World Series. Apparently on autopilot.

OK, final chance for redemption, Cliffy!

"He's definitely a loose guy that keeps things loose, lets us kind of police ourselves, and makes sure that we respect the game. That's really all you can ask for as a player out of your manager, and he definitely does that stuff."

Phew. I think you made it out of there OK.

But who knew that your biggest postseason challenge would be getting through a throwaway question during a pre-start press conference?

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