The parallel between pitcher and politician was palpable when Cliff Lee made his first public appearance last week at the Philadelphia Auto Show.
More than 700 fans packed a Pennsylvania Convention Center ballroom. They turned out to cheer, photograph and smile at the city’s favorite athlete.
“I’m in Philadelphia because I think this is the best team,” Lee said.
Lee, who was greeted with a standing ovation, elaborated why he spurned bigger deals with the Yankees and Rangers.
“I felt like that at that time  that was the best team I had ever played on and I feel like from then until now, the team got better without me on it with the additions of Roy Halladay, [Roy] Oswalt and Placido Polanco,” Lee said. “I’m hoping we get back [to the World Series], two, three, four more times while I’m here.”
The crowd applauded again. One fan was compelled to tell Lee that she named her daughter Emilee, since she was born the night Lee throttled the Yankees in Game 1 of the 2009 World Series.
A young fan asked if his hero signed with the Phillies and not the Yankees because the Bronx Bombers bleep. Lee was quick to note the Yankees don’t bleep. Unlike politicians, Lee wouldn’t make any promises after a fan asked if the Phillies would win the World Series.
“We’re going to try,” Lee said. “I’m not going to say we’re going to do this or that. I know the effort is going to be there. I know we have the talent to do it.
“If everyone stays healthy and we go out and prepare every day, and play the game the way it’s supposed to be played, then we got as good of a chance as anyone.”