ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 01: Cliff Lee #33 of the Texas Rangers tosses over to first for the out after a sac bunt by Aubrey Huff of the San Francisco Giants in Game Five of the 2010 MLB World Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on November 1, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Cliff Lee
That take on the old "Chuck Norris facts" craze was just one of the results of the hysteria that Cliff Lee created in the four months he was in a Rangers uniform.
He took a division champion and made it an American League champion and a World Series favorite, which of course eventually was proven to be the wrong pick, but a favorite nonetheless.
Even after his World Series, which saw him take two losses (the first two of his 10-start postseason career), Cliff Lee is objective No. 1 for the Rangers' new ownership headed up by Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan.
Seriously, give the guy whatever he wants.
Yeah, he was only .500 in his three months of regular season starts with the Rangers, thanks in large part to a back problem he initially didn't disclose because he's too much of a beast. But that fourth month was so awesome.
Against the Rays? Try a Game 1 win (the second in Rangers history) and the complete-game Game 5 victory.
Against the Yankees? The Rangers only needed him once, but wow, they got him in all of his Jedi-like glory as he went eight innings, gave up two hits and struck out 13 as the Rangers took the pivotal Game 3 in Yankee Stadium.
In Game 1 of the World Series, he struggled. So did Tim Lincecum. In Game 5, he was on. He made one mistake. Tim Lincecum was unhittable and made zero.
All I've heard today is how Cliff Lee was selfish by not walking Edgar Renteria to pitch to Aaron Rowand with two outs and the bases loaded in a 0-0 game.
Cliff Lee is an ace, to the utmost degree. Pitchers of that level don't walk a No. 8 hitter to load the bases in a scoreless game with two outs. I don't second guess that decision at all.
People say he was a reason the Rangers lost the World Series. No, the nonexistent Rangers offense and the dynamite Giants pitching staff is why the Rangers lost the World Series.
Think Lee only contributed the three gems in the ALDS and ALCS, given his mediocre regular season?
Quit watching baseball.
Lee made this entire team better. He groomed C.J. Wilson into a bona fide ace. He helped Colby Lewis become a postseason killer. He helped the Rangers defense by exuding his borderline cockiness on them and making them play that much harder for him, and his staff mates.
If not for Cliff Lee, the Rangers were one and done in the playoffs yet again. Cliff Lee made this a baseball town, for at least a stretch of time and made us forget about the barren wasteland across the street from the Ballpark.
Rangers ownership has said money will not be an issue and they will break out the checkbook for Lee. It's time for Chuck Greenberg's proverbial wallet to back up his talk. Now is the time when we will truly see what this new ownership is made of.
And who knows? Maybe Cliff Lee's lifelong dream has been to pitch in pinstripes. If so, thanks for the four months, and one storybook one.