BY SHAY RODDY
Cliff Lee was out one day on a hunting trip, just passing the time until Phillies Spring Training, probably relaxing and enjoying a cold one, when his cell phone rang. It was his wife, informing Cliff about the numerous rumors that had him being traded to Seattle in order for the Phillies to acquire Roy Halladay. But that’s all they were, rumors. Lee had no idea that the rumors were very real.
Lee hadn’t heard anything from the ball-club he helped to the World Series, nor from his agent. He had his agent call the Phillies who told Lee that they had no idea where these rumors were coming from and that there was nothing behind them.
With that, Cliff put his phone down and continued hunting, figuring there was no way he would be anywhere beside Philadelphia in April.
But he was wrong. Because, two days later the Phillies held a press conference introducing Roy Halladay, their newest ace, as part of the reported deal that shipped Lee to Seattle.
And Cliff Lee was shocked.
He held a conference call with local media, stating his disbelief. “The next day I was going hunting again on the Mississippi River and I got the call from Ruben [Amaro Jr.] on the way there and he told me that it’s for sure,” Lee said.
“At first I didn’t believe it because I thought we were working out an extension with the Phillies,” Lee continued. “…Obviously this goes to show this is a business and you never know what’s going to happen until you have a full no-trade clause.”
But now, Lee moves on to Seattle, where he’ll be met with the task of trying to get a team into the playoffs, in a spot to contend with the Phillies for the World Series.
“That’s what every player that plays this game should strive for, to get to the World Series and win it,” Lee said. “I’m hoping that’s Seattle this year. If it is, I’m all for it. That’s a huge part of it for me….
“I’m looking forward to helping the Mariners win. My initial reaction was disbelief and shock. After it sank in and I got to looking at that Mariners team and what’s going on there, I liked what’s happening there and I’m going to do everything I can to help them win.”
As far as his time in Philly goes, “I thought I was going to spend the rest of my career there. I loved my time there in Philly.”
And you know what Cliff, we loved your time here too. Thanks for everything. And just for old time’s sake- CliftonPhiferLee.com.###