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Averyt: How Much Is Enough?

01/06/11 7:55AM By Anne Averyt
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(HOST) Time Magazine named the creator of Facebook as the Person of the Year for 2010, but Commentator Anne Averyt thinks a baseball player is the real hero of the year 2010.

(AVERYT) Mayhem, meltdown, chaos, collapse - the sad state of the economy kept the pundits flipping through their dictionaries in 2010.  It seems like stories of personal hardship battled for headline space with accounts of corporate greed.  I think greed won - again.  If you Google "Greed 2010," sixteen million references instantly appear - that’s up almost 5 million instant links from "Greed 2009."

I guess that’s why my pick for the Best News Story of the Year 2010 goes to a guy who walked away from a fortune - $30 million - saying, "At a certain point, enough is enough."  That’s also my pick for the 2010 Quote of the Year, one to make Yogi Berra proud.

This shock and awe story was, appropriately, a baseball story, the now famous saga of Cliff Lee, pitching whiz from Arkansas, who jolted more than just the sports world when at the 11th hour he left the velvet Yankee pinstripes at the altar and signed a contract with the blue collar Philadelphia Phillies, saying the unthinkable, that he preferred scruffy Broad Street to the lights of Broadway.

Or, as one sports-sayer put it: "Lee did the unimaginable, the improbable, the unforeseeable - leaving $30 million on the table to go to the City of Brotherly Love...."

It turns out that the Lee family all really like Philadelphia.  Mr. Cliff says the city is a good fit for him - he’d rather play with a team he respects in a city he loves.... Or as his wife explained, the family feels at home in Philadelphia, the food is good, so are the roads, and the traffic’s not bad.... it makes you wonder if she's ever really been to Philadelphia.  And...

...It’s A Wonderful Life!

I know this is a lot of weight to put on one story - Cliff Lee is not a larger-than-life Shakespearean hero.  Sure, he gave up 30 million - but what he really wants are some World Series rings on his fingers; so you need to put his "sacrifice" into context.

Still, I want to say thank you, Cliff Lee - thank you for reminding me - for reminding us - that some things and some people can’t be bought.... That, in the grand scheme of things, even 30 million isn’t a number that adds up to happiness.

And, of course, since I’m a die-hard Phillies fan - thanks, Mr. Lee, for giving my hometown team what may be the most stunning pitching line-up in the history of the game.  And thank you for reminding us that at least in the game of baseball getting dirty is a good thing.

Or, as one sports page pundit put it: "Cliff Lee took less money and came up with the novel idea that Greed Isn’t Good. Shock and awesome, baby!"
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