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Be Grateful Cliff Lee Is Anywhere but NY

Jul 10, 2010 – 10:54 AM
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Jay Mariotti

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For now, we'll just forget that the Texas Rangers, a team mired in bankruptcy court and currently controlled by Major League Baseball, have no business absorbing $1.5 million of Cliff Lee's salary. Just be glad that they did. Earlier Friday, it appeared the wandering savior-for-hire was headed to the Yankees, which would have assured another championship in the Bronx and given our sporting nation yet another sour pill hours after the LeBum James debacle.

How refreshing to see the spoiled rich kids, for once, not get the present they wanted in July. How promising to see a traditional 'have-not' -- one of three big-league franchises that haven't reached the World Series and without a playoff appearance since 1999 -- rise above the ultimate 'have' in the final hours and steal a pitching ace. In May, amid bankruptcy hearings involving an attempted sale of the team, the Rangers were saved by a judge who approved a multimillion-dollar loan from MLB. As recently as Thursday night, team president Nolan Ryan was downcast about the financial situation, saying, "I don't know where things are ... I don't have a good feeling about things."

Now, somehow, they've become contenders to win the American League pennant. Other teams are upset, including the Yankees, who thought they had a deal with the Seattle Mariners for Lee and now are left to wonder if MLB sought to funnel the elite lefthander toward Texas. Hell, if Bud Selig is technically in charge of the Rangers, why wouldn't the commissioner help them win amid a financial crisis at the expense of the bloated, luxury-tax-happy Steinbrenners? But in the end, it could be that people in the sport feel sorry enough for the Rangers to let this issue slide.

"I'd guess they'll be some unnamed sources, but I don't expect a lot of phone calls," general manager Jon Daniels said of complaints from rivals.
Filed under: MLB, Sports