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Yankees whiffed but Lee's in a good baseball market

So, Cliff Lee chose the Phillies. I'm not one of those either-or, the Yankees or Red Sox, baseball fans. Philadelphia is close enough for me. My views are broader than that. I'm a Northeast chauvinist.

Until the Yankees break their piggy bank one more time, the Phillies are now the morning-line favorites to win the 2011 World Series. Consider that pitching rotation one more time: Lee, Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt. Mr. Perfect Game, Halladay, may be somewhat out-of-joint by the money being paid to Lee, but he's always been a team guy, even when being frustrated by some bad Blue Jay teams, so expect him to subdue any thoughts about who should have received the richest contract.

Even without Lee, the Phillies missed qualifying for the Series by a whisker. OK, maybe by a couple of whiskers to the San Francisco Giants. But I doubt if the Giants are going to satisfy their greed. I mean they won their previous Series victory during the Eisenhower administration.

Besides, I don't think I can take another round of watching the Giants' ace, Tim Lincecum, or his hair, for one more week. I have nothing against long hair since my barber has accused me of being AWOL any number of times, but there is long, unruly hair and birds' nests of hair. Tom Brady, the Patriots' quarterback, has a lot of hair but it's theatrical. Lincecum's is a work of neglect.

Another reason I prefer Northeast baseball teams is that their home fans pay close attention to them. Maybe that doesn't apply to late-night TV games except for a few insomniacs but they usually catch up the next day. There are no better sports cities than New York, Boston and Philly. They also pay attention to teams from westward cities which are close to a day's drive when they want to travel. If Europe had major-league baseball teams and their locations were the opposite of the U.S., Romania would be the Seattle Mariners minus the great Felix Hernandez. Romanians are the only people who pay attention to Romania.

For me the big baseball interest in the West has to do with individuals such as Albert Pujols of St. Louis, Joe Mauer of Minnesota, Josh Hamilton of the Rangers, Andre Ethier of the Dodgers and Cincinnati's sudden MVP, Joey Votto.

Yet it's obvious that special things will be happening in Philadelphia, a city which has the Liberty Bell, cheese steaks, the historic ghosts of Ben Franklin and William Penn as well as two of my grandsons.

Larry Felser, former News sports columnist, appears in Sunday's editions.

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