Tag Archives: Tim Lincecum

A farewell to the Freak? I hope not

Just yesterday morning, waking up and moping over the morning news that the Giants had fallen to the Dodgers for a second consecutive night, I got to thinking that it would do the world good to see Tim Lincecum back on the mound.

Today, I woke up here on the East Coast to the news that the Dodgers had swept the Giants, which was bad enough. But then came the cruel word via Twitter that Tim Lincecum is done for the season.  After arthroscopic surgery in Colorado, he may have thrown his last pitch for San Francisco.

Say it ain’t so!

I’ve followed the Giants for the last 20-plus years, all the more passionately in recent years since the bloated Barry Bonds left their employ. So many dynamic players have donned their orange, black and cream uniforms in recent years, it’s hard to pick one’s favorite: MadBum, Buster, B-Craw, Kung Fu Panda, the Baby Giraffe, Sergio Roma, Brian “Fear the Beard” Wilson, Cainer, Hunter Pence and the signs that tauntingly follow him.

As great as they all are (or have been), nobody tops Timmy.

With his long hair and slashing delivery, Lincecum packed overpowering stuff into his relatively slight frame. Each time he took the mound, particularly in his early years, timed perfectly with the arrival of Twitter as a fan-bonding vehicle, the atmosphere was electric. “Happy Lincecum Day!” we tweeted, and those strikeout-stuff starts were must-see events.

But Lincecum’s appeal went beyond his dominating performances. A free spirit, Timmy embodied the free-wheeling nature of San Francisco and San Franciscans. After getting busted for pot possession in his home state of Washington, Lincecum grew even more popular. Vendors sold lots of “Let Timmy Smoke” T-shirts around AT&T Park (wish I’d bought one!).

Even as we started seeing signs of the inevitable decline, Lincecum continued to impress. His relief appearances were critically important to the Giants’ 2012 World Series victory. He tossed no hitters in 2013 and last year.

I don’t know what the future holds for Tim Lincecum, but I do know the past.

As a man and a fan, I’m wistful, while the kid in me is crying.

Tim Lincecum wears Red Bull to the Giants’ World Series celebration

As I watched the Giants’ victory parade wind through the streets of San Francisco, I peered hard at the TV screen to see what kind of cap Tim Lincecum was wearing. Turns out it was a Red Bull cap, something I could only verify by checking the remarkable string of pictures rolling in over the wire from my old Associated Press colleagues in San Francisco.

While seemingly everyone in the crowd had a Giants cap or jersey on, the members of the ball club mostly wore “civilian” clothing, a madcap array of T-shirts that included a Grateful Dead model worn by backup catcher Eli Whiteside and what I believe was a Beatles tee worn by relief pitcher Sergio Romo. But none of the players, as far as I could tell, wore a Giants cap.

I shouldn’t have been surprised. When the Yankees have had their victory parades through the canyons of lower Manhattan in recent years, Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada and all the others have been done up in suits.

Way back in 1982, on assignment for AP, I got to cover  the parade in Milwaukee saluting the Brewers. That was a chilly day in the Brew City, and the players were bundled up, as I recall, but without their team caps.  (On cassette tape I still have the teeth-chattering voicer I did for AP Radio from Wisconsin Avenue, a cut I was thrilled to hear broadcast on WBBM from Chicago. That was a great day!)

At the San Francisco parade Wednesday, there were a few a Giants’ caps in the motorcade. They were worn by two of the greatest Giants ever: Willie Mays and Willie McCovey. It was a wonder to behold.

Capping off the Home Run Derby

large_princemgWhile not wearing a cap, Prince Fielder won the Home Run Derby tonight in St. Louis on the eve of the All-Star Game. In fact, several sluggers went capless in taking their hacks at Busch Stadium, and maybe that’s just as well. I was not keen on either of the league’s cap and jersey styles. To me, the All-Star Game always has been special, and seeing all the caps and colors from the various teams represented made it so.

One of my Twitter buddies, who posts a San Francisco Giants blog called Nuschlers News, asked during the derby if anyone besides him preferred the old days when the players wore their own team uniforms or at least their team caps while at the All-Star Game. I’m not sure how many replies he received, but all but two preferred players wearing their own apparel.

The derby is a lot of fun, and our family usually makes a point to watch, although it’s a little more difficult out here in the Pacific time zone than it was when we lived in the Eastern.

The kids running loose in the outfield to retrieve flyballs is a nice, if calculated, touch. You can imagine the baseball marketing guys saying, “Let’s remind everybody that this is a game for kids played by men who still are kids at heart.” Yeah, yeah. And let’s all profit richly (by selling All-Star uniforms and caps, say?).

But I shan’t crab anymore. The All-Star Game and the hoopla surrounding it are genuine American creations and traditions. I can’t remember if the players revert to their own uniforms and caps in the game itself, but I certainly hope that’s what happens tomorrow night. I want to see Tim Lincecum in San Francisco orange and black standing on the sidelines for the anthem with Manny Ramirez in his Dodger blue, Derek Jeter in Yankee pinstripes and Ichiro sporting the Mariners’ compass rose. Those “ordinary” uniforms gathered on one diamond underscore just how special a night it is.