- Andrew Marchand, ESPNNewYork.com
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Fans' treatment of Cliff Lee's wife at Yankee Stadium was ugly, but it might not have hurt the Yankees' recruitment of one of the game's top left-handed pitchers.
During the American League Championship Series games in New York between the Yankees and Rangers, fans were extremely rude to Kristen Lee, spitting and throwing beer in her direction and shouting obscenities.
But the treatment apparently did not change how the Lees feel about New York.
"I brush that off as fans being fans. You can't control 50,000 people and what they're going to do," Lee said Tuesday, the day before pitching Game 1 of the World Series for Texas. "There were some people that were spitting off the balcony on the family section and things like that, and that's kind of weak, but what can you do?"
Lee said what happened last week wouldn't have any impact on his offseason decision.
"No, I don't know the guy that did it. It could be anyone. Who knows? Who cares?," Lee said. "They're at home right now."
Lee's agent, Darek Braunecker, told ESPNNewYork.com that Lee's wife still likes New York.
"The story is not an issue to us," he said. "Her experience in New York is certainly a non-issue. She enjoys New York as much as anyone enjoys New York."
Lee helped Texas beat New York in the ALCS in six games. But there has been widespread speculation that the Yankees will make a serious run at signing Lee when he becomes a free agent after the season.
That didn't stop Yankees fans from harassing Lee's wife.
"The fans did not do good things in my heart," Lee's wife, Kristin, told USA Today. "When people are staring at you, and saying horrible things, it's hard not to take it personal."
She was sitting with other Rangers family and friends in the visiting family section at Yankee Stadium during the playoffs.
"Some people get a little alcohol in them and act inappropriate," Cliff Lee said. "There's so many people there you can't control them all. I know it's been made into a big deal, but that's really all it is, just two or three or four people just acting like fools, and 50,000, you can't group them all together. But there's always going to be a couple goofballs in the crowd that think they have a right to do that stuff."
In a text to ESPNNewYork.com, Yankees spokesperson Jason Zillo said that the Yankees are "not commenting."
On the flip side of Kristen Lee's bad experience in New York is her close relationship with CC Sabathia's wife, Amber. They have been close since Sabathia and Cliff Lee played together in Cleveland.
Cliff Lee and Sabathia are friends as well. The Sabathias and Lees already were discussing where the Lees should live when it appeared as if the Yankees were going to make a trade for Lee in July.
The Yankees are expected to make Lee their No. 1 free-agent target. He will likely receive a deal in the five-to-seven year range at $100 million to $150 million. It also could be Lee's final major contract; he turns 33 during next season.
Lee, acquired by Texas from Seattle on July 9, is getting ready to start Game 1 of the World Series for the second year in a row. Last year it was for Philadelphia, which traded him to the Mariners the same day the Phillies acquired Roy Halladay.
This time, Lee will get to pick where he plays.
"He has a chance to win here for a long time," Rangers teammate Jeff Francoeur said Tuesday. "At the end of the day, I think he's going to be between Texas and the Yankees. He'll wind up in one of those places."
The fans' treatment of Lee's wife was first reported by USA Today.
Andrew Marchand covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.