As everyone knows by now, Brian Cashman flew down to Arkansas for a visit with Cliff Lee and his wife Kristen. Presumably, his goal was to express the Yankees’ keen interest in signing Lee as well as answer any questions the couple might have about life in New York – and, of course, to allay Mrs. L’s fears about boorish Yankee fans. But how did the meeting go? Nobody’s coming out with details, so I decided I needed to flesh things out for myself. Here’s how I think it went down today…
* Cashman drove up to Mr. and Mrs. Lee’s big new house, rang the doorbell and was greeted by the entire Lee clan, Southern hospitality being what it is.
* He arrived bearing gifts – some toys for the kids with a slight subliminal message.
* Mrs. Lee sent the children off to play with their presents and invited Cash to sit down for lunch. She had decided to use her favorite caterer.
* Despite the fact that Cash watches his diet and almost never eats fried foods (especially chicken skin), he threw back a few legs and thighs while he described the joys of playing for the New York Yankees. He talked about the franchise’s history and tradition. He ticked off the names of all its legendary stars. He made a speech about how Yankee fans were the best ever, but he was interrupted by Mrs. Lee and the conversation detoured.
Kristen: “They spit at me and threw beer and shouted mean things. It hurt my heart.”
Cash: “I’m so sorry about that. But there are always a few bad apples at every ballpark.”
Cliff: “Mr. Cashman is right, honey. You know what happens when guys get all liquored up.”
Kristen: “They pass out, that’s what. These people didn’t pass out.”
Cash: “I can guarantee you, Kristen, that the same scenario would never happen if your husband came to pitch for us. You’d be treated like royalty.”
Kristen: “I don’t know about that. I talked to Karen Burnett the other day and she said the fans boo her whenever A.J. has a bad game.”
Cash (laughs): “Your husband will never have a bad game, so no worries.”
Cliff: “Nice of you to say, Mr. Cashman.”
Cliff: “Brian. But sometimes it’s just not my day and I stink up the joint. What then?”
Cash: “Cliff, the fans will love you. I’m so certain of it that I’ll put a ‘boo clause’ in your contract. You’ll get an additional $50,000 for every game involving fans booing you or your wife. Fair?”
Cliff: “Extremely.” (Turns to his wife) “What do you say, honey?”
Kristen: “Very fair. But Brian, I have to be sure we’ll be happy with the Yankees. You understand.”
Cash: “I do. And I promise you that if you join the Yankee family you’ll never regret it. Look at me. I’ve been in the organization since I was a kid. The Steinbrenners are the best owners in baseball.”
Kristen: “Nolan Ryan said he was the best owner. He was here yesterday.”
Cash: “Did he make an offer?”
Cliff: “No. We just went hunting. Do you hunt, Brian?”
Cash (panicking): “Um, I play tennis. There isn’t much hunting in Connecticut, although we do have a lot of deer.”
Kristen: “Nolan said we should stay in Texas.”
Cash: “We’ve got better shopping up in New York. Ask Leigh Teixeira.”
Kristen: “I’ve never met her but Amber Sabathia says she’s super sweet.”
Cash: “They’ll take you to Saks and Neiman’s and Bloomie’s. You ladies will have a blast together.”
Kristen (bolting up from the table): “Designer shoes and dresses and everything! I want Cliffy to be a Yankee! Where do we sign?”
And that was that. Mission accomplished. I think.
So I wasn’t wrong. Amber Sabathia, who attended the press conference at which her husband and his new sidekick, A.J. Burnett, were introduced to the media at Yankee Stadium, admitted that she had reservations about raising her family in the New York area.
Pictured with Karen Burnett and little Serena Girardi, A-Sab explained that it was She-Fan – on this very blog! – who convinced her otherwise.
“She-Fan said, ‘You’re going to love the suburbs,” A-Sab revealed to Sam Borden of The Journal News. “She told me the schools were good and the pediatricians were good and the supermarkets were good. And then she said the magic words: ‘They have a Saks Fifth Avenue.'” A-Sab giggled to Sam. “I’m a Saks girl.”
Takes one to know one. I spotted the princess in her the first time I saw the copper gown.
When she and I had spoken on the phone a couple of weeks ago, I described the Saks on Fifth Avenue and 49th Street in excruciating, department-by-department detail. “The shoe department is so big it has its own zip code.”
People will claim it was the $161 million the Yankees agreed to pay Cee Cee that sealed the deal, but it was the line about Saks that did it.
Right after the press conference, A-Sab called and asked if I wanted to go shopping. “I’m dying to see the store,” she said, practically panting. “I need to buy something special. A-Rod invited us to dinner with him and Madonna.”
So off we went on her first trip to Saks. She wanted special? I would show her special. That’s the good news.
The bad news was that since she had unlimited funds and nothing but time, I was stuck spending three hours in the women’s designer department watching her try on clothes.
First there was this Dolce & Gabbana leopard number.
I told her it might bring out the cattiness in Madonna and she should think about something less competitive.
Next she looked at this black Versace gown with the fitted satin top.
I said it was more appropriate for a charity gala. She’s a little naive when it comes to this stuff.
She squealed over this ruffled silk Carolina Herrera dress.
“Teal isn’t your color,” I said, struggling to keep my eyes open.
“What about this one?” she said hopefully. “Cee Cee likes me in orange.”
“Whatever,” I said. “Buy it and let’s go.” I was miffed that I wasn’t invited to dinner with A-Rod and Madonna, not to mention that I had better things to do than be her babysitter.
I was getting up to leave when she tapped me on the shoulder. “Wait, She-Fan,” she said with a mischievous smile.
That’s when the saleslady brought out this chiffon Vera Wang.
“Amber, it’s beautiful,” I said, my heart thumping.
“It’s yours. Just a little thank you.”
I could have refused the gift. I could have gotten all huffy and said I didn’t take tips. I could have pretended I could afford my own Vera Wang dress. But I didn’t do any of those things.
“I’ll take it,” I told the saleslady. “Could you ship it to California?”
A-Sab and I high-fived. We were BFFs for sure.