Bill Lee, as interviewed by the Vermont Guardian’s Christian Avard.
VG: You™re a baseball purist. A concern is that with ticket prices going up will the average Vermonter be able to attend Major League Baseball games? Can anything be done?
Lee: Well, the New York and Boston common man can™t go to the ballpark anymore either. It™s a day of the past I think. It costs way too much money and it™s supply and demand and a very elitist thing. I mean [look at the opening series with the Texas Rangers]. There were more Red Sox fans then there were Rangers fans. If you go to spring training games, it™s more Red Sox fans selling out all these games. Something about landing the Mayflower on the east coast, everybody seems to have a claim to New England and thereby a lot of Red Sox fans. I think we™re even blowing out New York fans now for some reason.
VG: Do you think Steinbrenner shelling out cash for all these big name ball players has anything to do with driving ticket prices up?
Lee: Oh, for sure. You buy your own TV network and now you™re a conglomerate; you own everything and it™s just tough. You can™t get to the games. If people are waiting in line for season™s tickets for people to die, it™s almost like the [Green Bay] Packers. These two teams seem to be that way forever.
VG: I know you live in the Northeast Kingdom but what brought you there and what made you want to stay?
Lee: Oh, I came down from Montreal. I didn™t come up. Most people think you come up to the Northeast Kingdom. I came down into the United States because of the Red Sox fantasy camp. John and Stuart Savage ran it and they were from Vermont, that™s what brought me to Vermont the first time and one of the fantasy campers owned a farm up there and his barn collapsed and forced him to sell part of his property and I bought the 14 acres on top of the ridge and built a house up there and it™s been there ever since. It™s just the neatest little community in the world, Craftsbury.
VG: Now I understand every year Middlebury College invites you to co-teach a class about the Negro Leagues. Do you still do it?
Lee: Yep, still do. It™s Karl Lindholm™s. He brings me in and teaches a course on old-time baseball, the economics of baseball, and the race relations of baseball. I was the player rep and John Milner [of the Mets] said I was only white guy allowed on the back of the bus, so it™s kind of very apropos and he™ll bring me in on May 10 on the final day of class, have a little seminar and discuss the relationship of the past, present, and future of the game. It™s just kind of a little perk for the students. That™s why I think Middlebury is the greatest school on the face of the Earth.