Our friend Jessica Quiroli talked to Cliff and wrote about his journey through high school and college. I hate waxing poetic about athletes in their younger years, but at this point I would read a book about the first time Cliff Lee took a poop on the pot. Great read from Jessica:
“It’s a one in a million chance, but someone’s got to do it, so why can’t it be you? The game is the same it’s been since Little League, except the guys at this level are more consistent. It’s about taking batting practice, taking ground balls, as long as that’s what you do in Little League, it’s just the same game, but it’s whoever is most consistent and does their repetitions.”
Lee recognizes the shift in the youth of today. Getting a real bat and glove and actually playing cannot be replaced by electronic baseball. The native Texan sees it one way.
“You have to get from behind the computer screen and video games and get out in the yard and play.”
That can also be interpreted as "whatever."
There is an article about Cliff in ESPN Magazine, too. You need an Insider account to read the whole thing online. Here's the excerpt. One trick pony my ass:
Cliff Lee gives away nothing. His face provides no evidence of his emotional state. It stays locked in a zeroed-in expression, whether he's laboring through a 4-5 start that had fanatics in Philly fearing their new $120 million man was a bust, or humming through a 34-inning scoreless streak in June that reminded folks why he got that contract in the first place.
Scouts and coaches swoon (!!!) over his stoicism and perfectly repetitious pitching motion, traits that give batters no clue which of his five — some say six — pitches is about to be unleashed. Confronting Lee is like facing Nolan Ryan's high leg kick followed by Greg Maddux's menu of plate options.
But the same demeanor that makes the lefthander indecipherable on the mound makes him equally mysterious off it. Few truly know the 32-year-old. Not his Phillies teammates, much less the club's rabid fan base. But those who do know him best, the folks who've been by his side throughout his rocky ascension, can break him down in a way opposing hitters can only dream of.
Still waiting for that potty training treatise.