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Luv Ya, Timmy

November 6, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

The Giants wrapped up the World Series Monday night and I have yet to say anything about it. On Sunday, during their game 4 victory, I wrote two posts about their wonderful rookie catcher Buster Posey. But the hero of game 5 was surely Tim Lincecum.

I can’t quite put my finger on why I so enjoyed watching the Giants’ post-season success, but surely Timmy is a big part of it. How do you not love him? And how can we Seattleites not mourn his playing down south rather than here? It was meant to be — Lincecum and the Mariners — except the Mariners decided otherwise. Local hero, state player of the year his senior year in Renton (immediately south of Seattle), national player of the year his last year at the University of Washington, 2006. And the Mariners had the fifth choice in the 2006 draft.

The first four teams in that draft passed on Lincecum, three of them choosing other pitchers and the Rays choosing Evan Longoria. He was there for the taking. But no, we went for another Pac 10 pitcher, Cal’s Brandon Morrow. The argument seemed to be that Morrow was big, strong, durable. Lincecum might not hold up in the majors, with his slight size and unusual delivery. Not being swayed by the local-hero angle was proof of the Mariners’ sharp analysis, replacing emotion with intelligence.

Well, so much for that. The rest of the story is well known, Lincecum being drafted five picks later by the Giants, coming up to the majors in early May of 2007, showing amazing stuff, winning the Cy Young award as best pitcher in the National League in 2008 and 2009. After a strange slump in August of this year, he came back strong, dominating in September and October. He opened the postseason with a two-hit shutout of the Braves, striking out 14, and ended it confounding the Rangers in their hitting-friendly park, giving up 3 hits and 1 run while striking out 10 in eight innings. He might just be the most popular athlete in San Francisco. And he could have been ours.

As for Morrow, the Mariners messed with his mind, unable to decide if he was a reliever or a starter, sending him back and forth between Seattle and Tacoma (the AAA minor league team) before finally trading him to Toronto before this past season. Toronto made him one of their starters and he did well, especially on August 8., when he took a no-hitter against the Rays into the ninth inning. Fellow 2006 draftee Longoria hit a single with two outs to break it up, but Morrow struck out the next batter to end the game, a magnificent 17-strikeout, one-hit shutout. (See box score here.)

I foolishly failed to see Lincecum pitch when he was here at UW. My friend Paul, whose office was just across the hall from mine during those years, spent a lot of time working with the Husky baseball team and knew him well. One day, he was in Paul’s office when I walked by, but I didn’t realize it was him until Paul told me later. I hadn’t recognized him. I wouldn’t have that problem now.

Anyway, hooray for Tim; hooray for the Giants. Less than five months until opening day.

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