Our contemporary concerns about Cliff Lee stem from a desire to him win; a desire to keep him happy; and a desire to decide, through the hallowed annals of Twitter, whether or not he is mostly or not really at fault every time he pitches in a game and we lose.
A year ago, you wouldn’t have heard a negative word uttered about Cliff in Philadelphia, under penalty of intense, loudly-stated public ridicule. These days, people either want to be the prophet that blames him first or the contrarian who stands so “honorably” alone.
Personally, I look at Cliff’s time here as a whole and bow my head in shame that we were unable to get him a World Series ring. Even in a year of doubts, the guy pitched those ten shutout innings. He is an elite talent who came here for a reason, and all we’ve delivered to him are high profile losses and our tears from each defeat in a jar that he’s probably just too busy to send us a thank-you note for.
But now, this far into the Cliff Lee deal that sent him away, not the way better one that brought him back, we can look at what the benefits were for us. And what better timing could there be, with Tyson Gillies being suspended indefinitely by the Reading Phillies for a mysterious reason.
Of course, we have no idea what Gillies has done, but that hasn’t stopped much of the internet from giving up on him entirely. The guy had a coke problem, then he had a hamstring problem, then he had a concussion problem, and now he’s got this problem that the team doesn’t even want to stick a label on.
All they are saying is that he “violated team policy.” I was accused of the same thing in Little League, when I refused to stop playing with my yo-yo between innings, back when those were popular for like two weeks in 1995.
And in the end, it doesn’t really matter. His 77 minor league games over a–what is it–three year period were one poorly timed scandal away from being a complete waste of time. The rest of the Cliff Lee crew–Phillippe Aumont and J.C. Ramirez have battled injuries, anger problems, and ineffectiveness so much that I had to look up who the non-Aumont guy was. The good news, all of this probly still makes them numbers 12 and 13 on the Phillies top prospects list.
So, whatever Tyson did, I’m sure it was stupid, and I’m sure he regrets it. He’ll still be a slick, speedy outfielder, and he may be able to catch on somewhere, if it’s not here. But for now, he serves as a punchless reminder for how much that initial Cliff Lee stung, and how nice it is that in this one particular case, we don’t have to live with regret.
I mean, maybe you don’t. I still look at my yo-yo with intense regret every now and then, forcing myself to wonder “What if?”
“What if I hadn’t smacked my coach in the face with it after he yelled at me and run away?”