Some thoughtful words on Tim Lincecum

Tim Lincecum

Grant at, a sports blog nation blog on the San Francisco Giants, lists his 10 reasons why the he’s not worried about Tim Lincecum after his faulty two starts to begin the season. There’s some gems in the list. Particularly:

7. Young pitchers are a static, predictable group without a propensity for wildly fluctuating performances. “If a young pitcher is good one year, he’s always good the next.” – Bill Jaymes, the well-known Dutch baseball analyst and author of The Bill Jaymes Baseball Abstrakt.


4. The fielding behind him has been atrocious. There’s no guarantee that the fielding will get better, mind you, but it seems like every miscue this season has led to runs. There will be at least some margin for error.

Check out his full post at the blog. I just joined the blog (as a fan) and I’m currently waiting for the 24-hour moratorium to end before I can post any comments. For some reason, the exclusivity makes me think it’s really cool. I could be wrong. But so far, I love the insight. That says something, right?

Giants need to figure it out – now

Hold your horses Giants fans. The jury is still out on whether picking up the Big Unit is worth the risk.

What made the Giants so confident in him, that they rolled the dice on a 21-year veteran? What says he doesn’t break down? Yeah, it’s a one-year contract, but does that guarantee 30 starts? Ten wins?

I’m worried about re-occurring back problems. Maybe arthritis. Or some mixture of the both. I should just flat out say it. I’m worried about old people. Particularly, 40-year olds playing on a professional ball club filled with guys my age.

Johnson is walking on to a team that totally reinvented itself from the set of Cocoon. Where once it was filled with the has-beens of Major League Baseball, now it is filled with the up and coming stars of the mound.

You see that hill in AT&T Park, Randy. That’s Timmy’s. He owns it. He earned it. He’s the future. And you … well, you are the byproduct of a mixed philosophy and general manager Brian Sabean’s dismal planning efforts for the future.

I take no solace in typing these words. On the outside, it’s pretty mean-spirited. But the fact remains, Johnson doesn’t belong on a team whose nucleus includes the likes of Lincecum (24), the heir and savior, and Matt Cain (24) the go-to guy. Barry Zito (30) … well, I’m tired of ripping him. Noah Lowry (28), Jonathan Sanchez (26) and all-star Brian Wilson (26) are the Giants’ base of operations. Success of the organization starts with these fellas. The young guys.

Why do you throw in a 45-year old and expect things to get better? All the while, the G-men are pontificating whether they’ll move Lowry or Sanchez.

Does any of this make sense?

This isn’t a case of gerontophobia or some other maligned ignorance. It’s a disagreement of philosophy. Sabean, who has proved time and time again that he has no plan, dropped all pretension of youthful reinvention when he picked up Johnson.

Maybe he didn’t notice, but the Big Unit’s on a downward spiral. He went 11-10 last year in 184 innings, scored 173 strikeouts making him just as feared as any average pitcher.

I won’t sit here and compare the Big Unit out of his prime against last year’s Cy Young award winner. That’s just unfair. Instead, I’ll compare him to the guy fourth in the rotation: Sanchez. In 2008, Sanchez finished 9-12, dropped a 5.01 ERA and dispatched 157 batters by way of strikeout in 158 innings. That’s almost one strikeout an inning.

That kind of talent, although average in terms of ERA, is solid in terms of production. Plus, he doesn’t come with the price tag Johnson carries, who is reportedly drawing $8 million in base salary and another $2.5 million in incentives.

Hmmm. Do I want average and cheap production or do I want average and expensive production? So hard to choose.

How about neither? How about, for once, we stick with the plan? How about we let the young guys develop into the superstars they are and surround them with other young guys who are hungry to win?

How about next time, we save that money for a cleanup hitter?

This column originally appeared in The Union.

Dear Santa: Get me a winner!!

All I want for Christmas is a winner.

Kings, Warriors, 49ers, Raiders, Giants and A’s, take notes.

You too, Sharks. You’re not out of the woods yet.

When you step out, do so with the intention of winning. Nothing else. And when you plan for the future of your franchise, plan with the intent of winning. Nothing else.

If I hear about this false pretense of “rebuilding” one more time, I swear to the Lord almighty I will throw my television out the window and lead the rest of my days as a recluse in the Sierra foothills.

Why? Because I’d rather be ignorant of Northern California’s collective incompetence than spare another second of my time on Earth being complicit in this buffoonery. It’s either second place or the worst of the worst. And if history is any precursor, those that plan to rebuild are planning to fail. Just picture being a lifelong Cincinnati Bengals fan. Or how about an L.A. Clippers fan?

That’s hurt.

And honestly, that’s too much hurt for any one fan to handle. So instead of starting my own self-help group and letting my fantasy leaguemates get angry at me because I’m ignoring my duties as commissioner, I’m going for the Hail Mary.

Santa, you’re a few years overdue and I suggest you pay what you owe.

Is it too much to ask that when one of our area teams takes to the playing field (listen up 49ers), that they attempt to win every game? I can’t for the life of me remember a year in which there was more disappointment after acquiring so much talent to bolster team play. It’s just god awful. I want people who want to be better than before and have the talent to do it. Then, back it up with a .500-plus season.

Saint Nick, you hearing me? Singletary?

I want, for once in my young life, to have a team proclaim that off years are no excuses for poor team play and spending less money on available talent.

You got that Maloofs?

I want the guy on my team that says “put it on my back, and I’ll carry us.” Tim Lincecum, are you the man for the job?

I long for a general manager that has a better selling season than book. (Yo Billy, stop acting like Mr. Bean and take care of business.)

I need a new owner and a new coach in Oakland — for the Raiders and the Warriors.
And I need the Sharks to not tank on the cusp of a Stanley Cup. Just when I was getting into watching hockey, it went south. That’s unacceptable. Kind of like when I just got into watching golf, and then Tiger takes the rest of the year off. It’s killing my mojo.

Santa, if for once you can do what you’re supposed to do — bring joy to those that are good — then take heed here. I’ve paid for my fair share of tickets and memorabilia. And I’ve written about some of these teams way too much. Help a fan out that’s two steps away from his tube.

It’s sad that it has come to this, but I knew — for some reason or another — we were at this point. Maybe it was the collective surprise that both the 49ers and Raiders won on the same weekend. Or maybe, it was on Saturday, when the Grant Pacers football team did more for Northern California than the collective Bay Area teams have done in three years by beating Long Beach Poly for the state championship.

Those kids, their parents and the Sacramento region are swelling with pride right now.

I’m so jealous.

You can find this column and more on

Lincecum wins Cy Young

Congratulations to the best young pitcher of baseball — Tim Lincecum — for winning this year’s Cy Young award. I didn’t think it was possible, but he sure as hell proved me wrong … and I’m glad for it.


In balloting announced by the Baseball Writers Association of America, Lincecum won in a landslide. He garnered 23 of 32 first-place votes, seven second-place votes and one third-place vote, for a total of 137 points.

Brandon Webb of Arizona finished second with four first-place votes and 73 points. The Mets’ Johan Santana was third with four first-place votes and 55 points.

CC Sabathia of Milwaukee got the final first-place vote but finished fifth behind Brad Lidge, the Philadelphia closer.