I ran a quick search of the archives here at Ramsayings before I started writing this post. Felt sure I’d written about Cliff Lee before, because, really, how has anyone with an interest in the Phillies not written about him? Whether it was his acquisition at the deadline in ’09 or his inexplicable trade before Roy Halladay arrived, I’ve somehow managed to not directly address the magical left hander.
My first memory of Cliff Lee is a fond one. Charlie fell asleep on my chest while we laid on the couch, watching Cliff carry a no-hitter through six innings. It was everything skeptical Phillies fans wanted to see in their new stud pitcher. I mean, how many players had we acquired in the past that just didn’t work out? What is Travis Lee up to, after all? Lee’s acquisition showed that the Phillies organization was serious about being a contender and not just a flash in the pan. It was a refreshing change from my youth, when the Phils were routinely a doormat and most Philadelphia teams found uninspiring ways to trade away their top-tier talent for little return.
That was just how we felt when Lee was traded in the 2009 offseason. Three nobodies who aren’t even seen as developing talent that can succeed at the professional level. We may only ever know Tyson Gillies for his run-in with the law last year. It was about money and restocking the farm system, we were told. Seemed an awful way to dispense with a player who single-handedly pitched us back into the ’09 series.
Now it seems the Phillies are atoning for all of Philadelphia’s sports sins. It’s as if Ruben Amaro is making us forget every bad trade and draft pick and free agent acquisition. Makes it easier to forget how Barkley and Schiling exited or how Shawn Bradley arrived. It’s a reassurance that last season was a precursor to the fall. We’re not selling off yet. The Phillies are transforming Philadelphia into a knowledgeable, passionate baseball town like it’s never been before. The Four Horsemen ride!