Cliff Lee put on the pinstripes of the Philadelphia Phillies (again) on Wednesday as the team officially welcomed back the pitcher with a press conference.
Lee, who earlier this week signed a five-year contract worth at least $120, donned his new No. 33 jersey while being introduced by Phillies' GM Ruben Amaro. (Roy Halladay wears Lee's normal No. 34, so Lee opted for the same number he had while with the Texas Rangers.)
Lee spoke on the decision to return, and why he ultimately picked the Phillies over his other main suitors, the Yankees and Rangers, saying that "I knew it was something special [in Philadelphia]."
I want to win championships. this team gives me the best chance to do that." ...
I prefer National League baseball over the American style of baseball," said Lee. "I like to hit. I like to face the other pitcher instead of the DH."
Lee also commented on the report that a main reason he chose not to sign with the Yankees was because of the way his wife was treated at Yankee Stadium during the playoffs, including an incident during which she was reportedly spit on. The pitcher said that not only did it not factor in his decision, but that it wasn't even true.
"No one came up and spit on her. No one poured anythong on her. That stoy was way overblown. It had zero to do with me coming here. It was a non-issue."
Ultimately, for Lee, the appeal of Philadelphia, and its fans, was simply too strong.
"The intensity you can feel when you get in the game. Every game has an excitement to it. I don't know what the fans do to create that much more volume and excitement but there's something extra here. They don't need the teleprompter to tell them to get excited. The feeling of playing on the field feels different than anywhere else."
Lee added near the end: "Hopefully this is where I end my career."