Skip Bayless lives to be contrary. We know that. But the key to being a halfway decent contrarian is to be at least half-smart about it, and to cause people to think a bit as a result of your less-than-intuitive position.
As his rant on Cliff Lee going to the Phillies makes clear, however, thinking isn’t big on his agenda. Not only is Cliff Lee equivalent to LeBron James in his mind — he calls him “LeBron Lee” — but “clearly he did not want the pressure of being THE ace” in Texas. “He did not want the pressure of going to the big city,” and “being THE reason the Yankees would be once again favored to win it all.” Bayless says he “lost a lot of respect” for Lee as a result.
Anyone want to bet a dime that if Lee signed with the Yankees Bayless wouldn’t slam him for being greedy? Anyone want to bet a dime that if Lee signed with Texas Bayless wouldn’t slam him for being afraid of the east coast? I know he’s a hack and I know we shouldn’t take guys like that seriously, but the fact is that he’s on a platform watched by millions, and many people’s opinions about baseball are formed by such garbage. Makes me want to cry.
But I guess he’s so handsome, friendly and inviting that ESPN is OK with overlooking his ineptness as an analyst in the interests of drawing a broader demographic. Which is totally understandable.