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Lee not stirred by NY fans

Unruly behavior won’t affect call

By Amalie Benjamin
Globe Staff / October 27, 2010

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SAN FRANCISCO — Perhaps the Yankees won’t end up with Cliff Lee this offseason after all.

Lee’s wife, Kristen, told USA Today that fans at Yankee Stadium yelled taunts and swears at her and other Rangers family members during the American League Championship Series. She said the fans also threw beer and spat in their direction.

“The fans did not do good things in my heart,’’ Kristen Lee told the newspaper. “When people are staring at you, and saying horrible things, it’s hard not to take it personal.’’

The Yankees are expected to be major players for Lee, who will become a free agent at the end of this season. The Rangers will try to keep the lefthander, whose wife said they like Texas’s proximity to their offseason home in Little Rock, Ark.

“I brush that off as fans being fans,’’ Lee said yesterday. “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?

“You can’t control 50,000 people. Some people get a little alcohol in them and act inappropriate.

“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. There’s always going to be a couple goofballs in the crowd that think they have a right to do that stuff.’’

Asked whether it would affect his free agent decision, Lee said, “No. I don’t know the guy that did it. It could be anyone. Who knows? Who cares? They’re at home right now.’’

This, Bud, is for you
Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux had one of the lines of the day yesterday. “Really, our MVP this year has probably got to be Commissioner [Bud] Selig. He allowed us to operate without a checkbook.’’ The Rangers were able to acquire Lee while going through bankruptcy and a change in ownership, though some of the other owners were opposed to it . . . When Lee was asked about the Giants, he wasn’t exactly complimentary to their hitters. “I think they’re dangerous because they’ve got really good pitching,’’ Lee said. “When you’ve got [Tim] Lincecum and Matt Cain, and the way [Jonathan] Sanchez has been pitching and then their bullpen, you’re limited to the runs you can give up because they’re not going to give up many runs. Because of that, they’ve won a lot of really close games.’’

His is a tough job
Josh Hamilton is a huge part of the Rangers’ lineup. To counteract him, the Giants are likely to use former Red Sox lefthander Javier Lopez, who has been impressive in the playoffs, allowing just one run in seven appearances (five innings), striking out six. “I’ve got some tough assignments,’’ Lopez said. “He’s got power to all fields, works the count, doesn’t have an obvious weakness. The assignment isn’t getting any easier, but I look forward to it.’’ Lopez won a ring with the Sox in 2007, an experience he is drawing on this time around. “You always wished that you’d be able to come back and be able to do it,’’ he said. “It’s just great, and I’m just taking it all in right now.’’ . . . Vladimir Guerrero will start in right field for the Rangers, since the designated hitter isn’t used in the National League city. Guerrero played in 152 games this season, only 18 in the outfield. It will be his first World Series appearance in his 15 seasons.

Amalie Benjamin can be reached at abenjamin@globe.com.

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