October 26, 2010
But if fans in the Bronx were supposed to be in recruiting-visit mode when Lee and the Texas Rangers came calling during the ALCS, they apparently missed the memo.
In a story by Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Kristen Lee — Cliff's wife — says she wasn't too impressed with the behavior of Yankee fans when it came to (not) rolling out the welcome wagon.
Behavior that could play a part when it comes time for Lee to decide if he wants to chase the money in the Bronx or stay with a team like Texas.
From Nightengale's story:
Perhaps the Rangers' greatest sales pitch simply was having Kristen sit in the visiting family section at Yankee Stadium during the playoffs. She says there were ugly taunts. Obscenities. Cups of beer thrown. Even fans spitting from the section above.
"The fans did not do good things in my heart," Kristen says.
"When people are staring at you, and saying horrible things, it's hard not to take it personal."
Nightengale also notes a few other factors that could keep Lee in a Rangers uniform and they're all things that have also crossed our minds. A possible World Series title within the next week. The proximity of Arlington to the family's home in Little Rock, Arkansas. A quiet persona that might prefer to stay away from the noisy glare of the New York spotlight.
But all of those concerns, of course, could easily vanish in the face of a Yankee offer that comes in dramatically higher than any other team's. And Lee and his family certainly must know those boorish fans won't behave that way toward them if he's wearing pinstripes.
Lee is set to meet baseball's media Tuesday afternoon at San Francisco's AT&T Park — hey, he still has World Series games to pitch after all — and it'll be interesting to see how he handles the inevitable questions about his free agency. Stay tuned.