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."
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."
"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."
"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?