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Philly2Philly.com Phantasy Interviews: Philadelphia Phillies' Cliff Lee Sits Down For Some Q & A

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Philly2Philly.com Phantasy Sports InterviewsCliff Lee is back to Philly. Photo: Andrea Kohalmi.

…a Satiric Look Inside What May be in the Head of Current and Past Philly Sports Personalities

This week’s interview is with Phillies’ co-ace Cliff Lee, who returned to the team this offseason with great enthusiasm and fanfare. I caught up with the Arkansas native, and Philly fan favorite, just days after he pitched a gem to finally notch his third win of the year. He had been stuck on two wins for what seemed like an eternity to him and his fans.

Matt:   Thanks for your time, Cliff.  How did it feel to finally get your third win last Saturday night against your old team, the Texas Rangers?

Cliff:  Personal stats don’t motivate me. My job is to give my team a chance to win when I’m on the mound, and it felt good to do that. The Rangers just happened to be my opponents on Saturday. I would’ve been just as happy if we beat the Astros, and I didn’t get credit for the win.

Matt:   That sounds very noble. But did it concern you that you only had two wins after your first nine starts, despite pitching good baseball?

Cliff:   Evidently, if I pitched a little better, we could have won a few more of those games.

Matt:   But Cliff, let’s examine those six games during your career-tying, six-game winless streak. You went at least six innings every time, and struck out 42 batters against only 11 walks. The Phillies’ offense scored you a grand total of four runs in those six games while you were still pitching. You pitched well, but came away with three losses and three no-decisions.

Cliff:   What can I tell you? If my team gives me three runs, I have to hold the other team to two. If they get me one, I need to shut them out. If they get me zero, I have to hold them to negative one.

Matt:   Which is pretty hard to do. Does that upset you any? You always seem to be so unflappable.

Cliff:   I’m more flappable than you think. But I just keep reminding myself that I’m pitching for a first place team that has always hit the ball well in the past. Still, at times it’s hard to win games for our joke of an offense. We have this saying in Arkansas; would you like to hear it?

Matt:   Heck yeah.

Cliff:   Winning a game for the Phillies is like trying to catch a greased razorback with chopsticks.

Matt:   Wow, I’m amazed that they talk about Phillies baseball and Chinese cuisine in Arkansas. 

Cliff:   We’re more cosmopolitan than you think.

Matt:   I see. Let’s go back to that streak one more time if you don’t mind.  May 11 at Florida. You’re down 1-0 to the Marlins in the top of the fifth. You come to the plate with two outs and Brian Schneider is on second—

Cliff:   Yeah, I know. Nolasco throws me a pitch I can handle, and I drill it off the second baseman’s leg. Brian’s gonna score the tying run, and —

Matt (interrupting): Schneider suddenly grabs his left hammy and has to return to third base. Jimmy Rollins comes up and hits into a force out to end the inning. What were you thinking?

Cliff:   I was thinking that I better keep the Marlins off the scoreboard the rest of the game.

Matt:   Is that all?

Cliff:   Of course not. The team’s not hitting, I finally get a hit to score our first run, and it was like…can I say something that rhymes with “Cut the truck?!”

Matt:   Sure, I think our readers can do the math there.  So, let’s talk about how it is to pitch in front of these fans.

Cliff;   Phillies fans are the best in the game. They’re with you from the first pitch till your last. I love it here.

Matt:   And our fans will love hearing you say that again. You made quite an impression here in just a few months’ time in 2009. Did you really come back because of the fans?

Cliff:   In large part, yes. I also love pitching with Doc, Little Roy, Cole and Big Joe. I love being able to have another shot at winning the World Series, I also love that huge paycheck they gave me.

Matt:   But didn’t the Yankees offer you even more, or at least another guaranteed year at the same yearly rate?

Cliff:   Yes, but how many fishing rods and hunting rifles does a guy need? I’m set for life either way. And, how can I pitch for a fan base that dumped beer on (wife) Kristen, and verbally taunted her during last year’s ALCS?

Matt:   You were quoted as saying that the beer-spilling incident was overblown and not really a factor in your decision.

Cliff:   The biggest factor was the team and the fans right here in South Philly. But sure, all things being equal, how would you like it if some chucklehead unleashed profanity and suds at your wife?

Matt:   I hear you, Cliff. Now what if I told you that the fans who assaulted her were actually Phillies fans in disguise trying to find a way to get you back here in red pinstripes?

Cliff:   I’d say that it would make me love you guys even more. No offense to Kristen, of course.

A Disclaimer: The above conversation with Lee did not really take place—but is it really all that far-fetched?

Along with being a lifelong Philly sports fan, Matt Goldberg is a unique, award-winning writer, speaker and all-around humorist who resides with his wife and son in South Jersey. He is a featured columnist for the Phillies for Bleacher Report, and is also the author of two new humor books—Wordapodia, Volume One, and All That Twitters is Not Goldberg.

For information on ordering books, requesting customized writing, media requests and special events, please contact matt@tipofthegoldberg.com, or visit www.tipofthegoldberg.com.

Photo: Andrea Kohalmi