I blogged a few months ago that Cliff Lee was a "G" for the way he handled being traded from a World Series team to a team that lost over 100 games. Most players would have complained to the media and let the situation affect their performance, but Cliff Lee's professionalism and focus are unique. He did his job and ironically ended up in the World Series anyway. It was a foregone conclusion that the impending free agent would end up a Yankee at the end of the season and all signs were pointing in that direction.
On Tuesday Cliff Lee did an about face and signed with the team that traded him almost a year ago to the date the Philadelphia Phillies. In this day and age most athletes don't have the ability to forgive and forget and most teams can't admit they made a mistake. In this scenario the exception has become the rule. Cliff Lee gets to return to a city he never wanted to leave (how many people say that about Philadelphia) and join a pitching staff that has the potential to be legendary with the likes of Halladay, Oswalt, and Hamels. This fairy tale ending only has one problem, Cliff Lee made a mistake.
Money and prestige should never be taken for granted and Cliff Lee turned down a lot of both when he spurned the Yankees. I for one have the mindset that no matter how rich you are there will come a time in your life when you could use an extra $30,000,000. In addition the lights don't get any brighter than New York City and the opportunity to win a World Series for the most storied franchise in professional sports makes you an immortal. Winning a World Series in Philadelphia makes you a fan favorite.
In the end Cliff Lee will tell you he made the decision because it was in the best interest of his family, how much he loves the city, and the money wasn't the deciding factor in his decision. What he won't tell you is he ran from the pressure and expectation for less money and notoriety. In the short term I couldn't be happier for the guy. For the long term it would have been better to wear the pinstripes.