By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Down in Tex-ville
Liked Cliffmas a lot...
But the Philadelphia Phillies,
Who lived way north of Tex-ville,
The Phils hated Cliff Lee and ignored Cliffmas! The whole winter meetings season!
Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason.
It could be that their head wasn't screwed on quite right.
It could be, perhaps, that they had a trick up their sleeve on a sneaky Monday night.
But I think that the most likely reason of all
May have been that their coup was one of the all-time best in baseball.
Whatever the reason,
Their too-small heart or their love of dangers,
For the longest time the Phils just stood there watching, hating the Rangers.
Staring down from the National League East with a sour Philly frown
At the warm-lighted windows below in the free-agent Arlingtontown.
For they knew every Ranger down in Tex-ville beneath
Was busy now, ready to roll out a red carpet and hang a welcoming Cliffmas wreath.
"And they're getting ready to sign him!" the Phils snarled with a sneer.
"Tomorrow is Cliffmas! It's practically here!"
Then they growled, with their Philly fingers nervously drumming,
"I MUST find a way to keep Cliffmas from coming!"
For, soon, they knew...
...All the Rangers girls and boys
Would stand in line bright and early. They'd rush to buy their season-ticket toys!
And then! Oh, the noise!
Oh, the noise! Noise! Noise! Noise!
The Rangers, off their World Series season, would enjoy Cliffmas and be built like a beast.
And they'd win and they'd feast! And they'd feast!
And they'd FEAST! FEAST! FEAST! FEAST!
It was the Phils, after all, who traded Cliffmas one year ago,
Seemingly not that sorry to even see him go.
The Yankees with their cash and the Rangers with their camaraderie and fun,
Both teams were adamant that Cliffmas was priority No. 1.
New York had the pinstripes and a promise to make him rich,
But compared to his home in Arkansas, Tex-ville was a close place for Cliffmas to pitch.
Then the Phils got an idea!
An awful idea!
They'd swoop in and steal Cliffmas without a news leak from any TV station,
And plug him in with Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels for baseball's best rotation.
"I know just what to do!" the Phils laughed in their throat.
And they made a quick, stealth signing, punctuated by a gloat.
And they chuckled, and clucked, "What a great Philly trick!
"With this signing and this pitcher, we'll be more popular than Saint Nick!"
The Rangers offered six years; The Yankees seven.
But the Phils countered with five, and somehow made it look like heaven.
Tex-ville could have had Cliffmas all right, but wasn't willing to push beyond its comfort zone.
You'd think after 40 years without one, they'd throw their desperate citizens a pitching ace bone.
Cliffmas spurned Tex-ville,
And even shocked the Big Apple,
Honestly 'twas quite the Rangers bummer.
Part of the reason? Cliffmas' wife didn't like the Tex-ville summer.
The Rangers didn't mortgage their future, but they still need a suture.
Because of a wound that feels like an open, deep incision.
Cliffmas pulled The Deception,
Worst thing since LeBron's The Decision.
Dressed up like a team that previously didn't care,
The Phils turned a trick no one thought they'd dare.
They enticed with culture and food and their city's blend of honey.
In the end Cliffmas was stolen...for a smaller pile of money.
Sure, it was expensive, but there was an easy solution for Cliffmas.
But it would have been on terms the team wasn't comfortable with.
With C.J. Wilson and Colby Lewis and Josh Hamilton, the Rangers won't slide to worst,
But there's no longer a valid reason to consider them in first.
No real joy. No real reasons not to pass out the hankies
Unless of course, Tex-ville can rejoice that Cliffmas didn't choose to go to the Yankees.
For a three-month rental, it seemed a new era of baseball saw its dawn,
But now, no away around it, the momentum is gone.
But some gullible fans remained loyal, claiming Cliffmas wasn't worth the trouble.
They clawed and they antlered that there was another pitcher better almost by double.
A few Rangers were even happy at the Phils' cunning tricks,
Because now Tex-ville didn't overspend like A-Rod and Tom Hicks.
But without a major signing the Rangers haven't at all upgraded their show.
Torrealba? Tateyama? Brazoban? McClung? They've added guys we don't even know.
There's talk of turning Neftali Feliz into a starter and of re-signing designated hitter Vlad,
But at this late point there's nothing to keep Tex-ville from being uniformly sad.
Void of Cliffmas the Rangers are no longer the American League's best.
Shoot, these days their pitching staff ranks third in their own division out west.
Some Rangers tried to be valiant and despite no Cliffmas attempted to maintain some joy.
But in Tex-ville there had to be something...perhaps a different pitching toy.
Plan A was Cliffmas and so that one didn't work.
There arose a Plan B, and all the Rangers agreed that without it they'd go berserk.