Every now and then, I see a pitcher whose control is so bad it makes me yell out, "This guy can't find the plate with a map!"
There is a pitcher on the free-agent market who apparently does not know how to read a map.
Mike Piazza -- a man I have criticized on a number of occasions -- is from Norristown, Pennsylvania, right outside Philadelphia. He never played for the Boston Red Sox. But suppose the Red Sox had offered him a lot of money. Would he have taken it? Possibly. And he would have said the money was great, and it gives him a good chance at a World Series ring. Those are legitimate reasons to accept said offer.
Tom Glavine -- a man long hated by Met fans, not that I'm one -- is from Billerica, Massachusetts, right outside Boston. He never played for the Philadelphia Phillies. But suppose the Phils had offered him a lot of money. Would he have taken it? Possibly. And he would have said the money was great, and it gives him a good chance at a World Series ring. Those are legitimate reasons to accept said offer.
What neither this alternate version of Piazza nor this alternate version of Glavine would have been likely to say is this: "I signed with Boston/Philadelphia because it allows me to be close to home."
They wouldn't have said it because, whatever you think of them, neither Mike Piazza nor Tom Glavine is stupid. Arrogant? Maybe. Selfish? Possibly. Stupid? No.
In such a situation, a man is not going to say, "Well, Philly (or Boston) is just 300 miles from my home town." He looks like a fool.
Cliff Lee is stupid.
How do I know this?
All signs suggest that he's going to re-sign with the Texas Rangers because he wants to be close to home.
His home town is Benton, Arkansas -- also home town of the Wal-Mart Corporation, as evil a company as has ever exited. But that's not a reflection on Lee.
Benton is 312 miles from Arlington, Texas, where the Rangers' ballpark is.
Uh... 312 miles is close? It's a 5-hour drive. At least. And that's before taking into account rest stops and whatever traffic might exist in the Dallas-Fort Worth "Metroplex."
People are being blinded by 2 straight (2009-10) seasons of October success against the Yankees. Cliff Lee is 26-22 the last 2 regular seasons. He has had 2 great seasons and nearly every other season (including the last 2) were, at best, ordinary.
Worse yet, he's stupid. He must be, if he thinks Dallas (or Arlington) is close to home in Arkansas. Has he never looked at a map? Benton to Arlington, 312 miles. That's roughly the distance between Boston and Philadelphia.
But he's Cliff Lee, and he beats the Yankees, therefore he must be paid a fortune. Not by MY team, he shouldn't!
Am I being too harsh on Lee? Let's take that same 312 miles and transfer it from Rangers Ballpark to Yankee Stadium.
Go due north on Interstate 87, and it gets you to Plattsburgh, New York... almost at the Canadian border.
Go to the northwest, and it gets you to Geneva, New York. Closer to Rochester than to Syracuse... closer to Buffalo than to Albany... closer to Toronto than to Midtown Manhattan.
Go to the northeast, and it gets you to Portland, Maine. The far side of "Red Sox Nation."
Go to the west, and it gets you to Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Closer to Pittsburgh than to Harrisburg.
Go to the southwest, and it gets you to Spotsylvania, Virginia. Site of a Civil War battle. Almost to Richmond, the Confederate capital.
Does any one of those places sound "close" to New York to you? Not to me.
So if Cliff Lee thinks Benton, Arkansas is "close" to Arlington, Texas, then he's stupid.
True, the Texas Rangers are the closest team to his home town. But let's not pretend that it's close.
And let's not pretend that Cliff Lee is not stupid. He can prove me wrong by dropping that excuse.
Or moving to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.