Timmy press conference
Cy Young statement was vintage Tim Lincecum
By Tim Kawakami
Mercury News Columnist
Posted: 11/19/2009 09:29:55 PM PST
For once, Tim Lincecum didn't seem to know what to do or how to end this long, weird, complex and celebratory afternoon.
He didn't look cool or commanding at this point Thursday.
He just stood there at the podium, moments after making his second public apology of the day, hours after accepting the second Cy Young Award of his brief, starry career.
The cameras still rolled. The reporters still watched. And Lincecum sort of froze, unable to exit, stage left.
Awkward! Finally, it was up to the Giants' matinee idol — looking very "Twilight: New Moon," if you ask me — to end it by issuing his personal commentary.
"Way to cap that off," Lincecum said, wryly lancing his own performance and the circumstances that led to it.
Of course, we're talking about his Oct. 30 traffic stop in southern Washington state, when he was found to be in possession of a small amount of marijuana.
Lincecum still needs a judge to approve the district attorney's deal to dismiss the drug charges.
(The award voting was conducted before the postseason, which means before Lincecum's arrest.) But the immediate moment was about the confluence of his pitching greatness — he's the first to win Cy Youngs in his first two full seasons — and his first public appearance since the arrest.
Lincecum's big enough that this should be a tiny blip in his monster career. He's on course for the Hall of Fame, if not to be one of the 10 greatest starting pitchers of all time.
But this incident will truly disappear only if he talks about it forthrightly, at least in vague terms.
On Thursday, Lincecum showed up, as usual, without any personal public-relations aides or overt handling. His hair was longer than ever, his tan was more nonexistent than ever.
He had his statement — which he'd offered earlier in the day on a national conference-call — but he wasn't baring his teeth at questions that touched on the subject.
He was himself. Which means he sounded like a winner "... with some growth yet to come.
"I think a lot of growing up has to do with the experiences you go through, whether that be good or bad," Lincecum said.
"You talk about guys like Matt Cain, who grew up before everybody else did, he's like 30 years old, and he's the same age as me."
Cain is actually younger by the calendar, older in behavior, which is another perfect point for Lincecum to make. He is who he is.
"There's different people," Lincecum said. "They go through different experiences that shape them. And it's unfortunate also that you have to go through bumps, like I am going through, to get to where you think you need to be.
"That's just about changing yourself and looking for the right road to take instead of making it hard on myself or hard on yourself."
That's the right thing to say, and even better, it was the authentic thing for Lincecum to say. He didn't grovel or get fussy.
He's also doing a nice imitation of a young Bob Gibson these days.
The Giants know what they have — GM Brian Sabean called it "matinee interest" — and know that Lincecum's nothing close to an immature basket case.
"I mean, hell, I don't know that we ever grow up, as people, as professionals," Sabean said. "It's a process. "... As we all know, the stakes are higher and the scrutiny's much greater when you're Tim Lincecum or you're in the spotlight, especially as a professional athlete. You don't have much margin of error."
Big picture, the Giants have a duty to build a quality team around this epic performer. Each year that goes by without Lincecum in the playoffs is a monumental waste.
But Sabean made a point to say that, given the market, the team will probably not be pursuing the two biggest bats on the free-agent market — Matt Holliday or Jason Bay.
"I don't think that they would have genuine interest based on the field that they're going to be involved in," Sabean said. "Why would they?"
The Giants will probably do it with lesser names, who cost lesser money, and cross their fingers and see what happens in 2010.
And they will ride their pitching once again.
Mostly, they will ride Lincecum — the best and biggest thing that could have ever happened to them.
His responsibility to them is to maintain his excellence and stay out of trouble, which seems probable. Their responsibility to him is to be worthy of his excellence.
Seriously, nobody in Northern California cares about people smoking pot, hahaha.
It seems absurd, but Lincecum's worthy of Cooperstown talk at 25
It should be ridiculous. To raise the possibility that a 25-year-old -- a "veteran" of just three major league seasons, with only 40 career wins and a look so youthful that he almost certainly still gets carded -- is worthy of serious Hall of Fame discussion, ought to, by all rights and common sense, be ridiculous.
It should be, but it isn't. Certainly no more so than the fact that Lincecum, a man of boyish features and a violent windup, is not only in the major leagues but dominating opposing hitters at all. In fact, the only thing ridiculous about Tiny Tim is the giant amount of talent that he has displayed in his brief and marvelous career in San Francisco. It is that ability that he uses to overpower opposing teams with a mid-90s fastball and ferocious off-speed pitches and has resulted in his winning consecutive National League Cy Young Awards. That achievement alone is doing as much as the testimonials from frustrated hitters, amazed teammates and breathless scouts in amplifying an increasingly strong case that Lincecum is on his way to Cooperstown.
To be sure, he is still a long ways off. The graveyard of baseball history is littered with pitchers who burst onto the scene only to flame out far short of their expected landing point (see Prior, Mark; Gooden, Dwight; and Score, Herb). But in only three seasons, Lincecum has laid a serious claim to being the best pitcher in baseball and the most likely to continue that success in the near, and perhaps distant, future. He has the second-most strikeouts in history in his first three seasons by age 25, the 12th-best winning percentage, and since the end of World War II, the 22nd-best ERA. In other words, he is well on his way.
Of course, Lincecum came awfully close to ending Thursday with the same number of Cy Young trophies as he had when the day began. Both Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright, the dueling aces of the Cardinals, put together Cy-worthy seasons, and did so for a playoff team and with impressive conclusions to their campaigns, while both Lincecum and the Giants struggled down the stretch and stayed home in October. Just how close was the voting? It is the first time that three pitchers have each gotten as many as nine first-place votes, just the second time a pitcher won the award without receiving the majority of first-place votes (Wainwright had 12 to Lincecum's 11), and the NL's third-closest finish in the 40 seasons that the ballot has been expanded to three pitchers.
In the end, Lincecum's overall domination was enough to overcome not only the impressive years of Wainwright and Carpenter but his own modest victory total of 15 -- the fewest ever by a Cy Young-winning starter in a non-strike-shortened season. (Stat heads of the world rejoice: With Zack Greinke and Lincecum claiming Cy Youngs this year despite fewer wins than their legitimate competition, your revolution is in full flower.) Lincecum led the league in strikeouts (261), K/9 (10.4), complete games (4) and shutouts (2). He was second in ERA (2.48), adjusted ERA and hits/9, third in innings pitched and HR/9, fourth in WHIP, wins and winning percentage and seventh in K/BB ratio. For good measure, Lincecum also held batters to the lowest batting average, on-base percentage and OPS of any pitcher in the National League. In other words, he had the strongest statistical case, regardless of his win total. The fact that he bested Wainwright and (especially) Carpenter suggests that a pitcher's total body of work is being given more weight than ever before.
Having already trumped Carpenter and Wainwright with a resume that many felt was inferior this year, Lincecum now has to be considered a heavy favorite to start making this honor a near-annual occurrence. It might be telling that Lincecum is the only pitcher in the league to even receive a single Cy Young vote each of the past two years. In other words, while the list of contenders may differ from year to year, Lincecum figures to remain a consistent factor. There are plenty of other high-quality pitchers in the National League with Cy Young potential, of course. Philadelphia's Cliff Lee displayed Cy Young-stuff with regularity during his first few months in the Senior Circuit, and the Mets' Johan Santana, when healthy, can be every bit as overpowering as Lincecum. Dan Haren of the Diamondbacks has not yet been consistent or dominating enough over a full season to suggest he is better than Lincecum, and fellow D-back Brandon Webb is coming off major arm surgery that kept him out of all but one game last year. Carpenter is an annual threat, but is a constant injury risk. Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers may get to that point someday, but he is still just 21 and learning on the job. Similarly, Tommy Hanson of the Braves was impressive as a rookie in 2009, but it remains to be seen how he will respond as teams start adjusting to him in the future. Ubaldo Jimenez and Jorge De La Rosa of the Rockies posted strong years in 2008, but it's too early to say whether or not that was a fluke.
Lincecum is the only premier pitcher without serious question marks. Besides, even if Lincecum's Triple Crown stats, like wins and ERA, aren't the best in the league, it seems highly unlikely that he'll slip dramatically enough in any of the other categories at which he is so consistently near the top. And that means that he's always likely to be in the Cy Young discussion every year. Put it this way: Who else could be considered a Cy Young favorite next year other than Lincecum?
All this would seem to suggest that winning a third Cy Young is a matter of when, not if, and that would all but cement Lincecum's place in Cooperstown. As it is, his candidacy looks a lot more interesting now than it did on Wednesday. Of the 14 previous pitchers to win multiple Cy Young Awards, six are already in the Hall of Fame (Steve Carlton, Sandy Koufax, Jim Palmer, Tom Seaver, Bob Gibson and Gaylord Perry), four more are all but certain to get in (Randy Johnson, Greg Maddux, Pedro Martinez and Tom Glavine), two are still building their cases (Lincecum and Johan Santana) and one is Roger Clemens, whose candidacy remains up in the air amid a cloud of suspected steroid use.
That leaves only two players who have won multiple Cy's and are not in the Hall of Fame: Denny McLain, who was derailed by suspensions and injuries shortly after winning in 1968 and 1969, and Bret Saberhagen, who won in 1985 and 1989 as part of a successful 18 year career.
Moreover, McLain is the only pitcher to win consecutive Cy Youngs who is either not yet in Cooperstown or will not be (it's unclear which direction Clemens' case will go). This alone puts Lincecum in the discussion. What elevates his chances is his youth. Only Clemens, McLain and Saberhagen have won at least two Cy Youngs by age 25. If he remains healthy, that burdensome caveat that hangs over all players' careers and their potential legacies, Lincecum seems to have an excellent chance to win a third. If he does that, engravers can start working on his Hall of Fame plaque, crooked smile, flowing hair and all. Perhaps as soon as next year? That isn't ridiculous either.
It is totally absurd. Give him at least another 5-10 years in the league first, sheesh. He's really special though, mostly because of his attitude and strength of will. He's talented for sure, but I don't think any more so than say... Dan Haren. It's that stubbornness, where he gets to two strikes two outs in an inning and he pauses, and you know he wants the strikeout and 90% of the time he gets it. It's that quality that makes him stand out, the Ks and ERA and WHIP and all that just follows.
Second Cy Young is historic
Henry Schulman, Chronicle Staff Writer
Friday, November 20, 2009
(11-19) 21:28 PST -- Giants starter Tim Lincecum, one of baseball's most dazzling and charismatic players, made history Thursday when he won baseball's highest pitching honor, the Cy Young Award, for a second consecutive season.
In winning an extremely close vote of 32 baseball writers from National League cities around the country, Lincecum became the first player in the 54-year history of the Cy Young Award to capture it in his first two full seasons in the major leagues.
At 25, Lincecum is the youngest NL pitcher to win consecutive Cy Youngs. The three others who have done it are among the game's most heralded stars: Sandy Koufax, Greg Maddux and Randy Johnson, a teammate with the Giants in 2009 who urged Lincecum not to be complacent after winning last year and to shoot forcefully for more Cy Youngs.
"It's a tremendous honor for me because these are big feats that any pitcher who comes up in the big leagues wants to do," Lincecum said. "It's the cherry on the top. Just to do what I've done in the time I've done it means the world.
"I hope to replicate it or just do whatever I can to get better."
At a ballpark news conference, Giants general manager Brian Sabean said, "Obviously, this is a momentous day. It's pretty amazing, but that's what defines Timmy's ability."
Lincecum, with a win-loss record of 15-7, won the third-closest NL Cy Young vote since the current election format was created in 1970, edging Chris Carpenter (17-4) and Adam Wainwright (19-8), both of the St. Louis Cardinals.
How they vote
Two writers in each city cast ballots that rank their top three choices - a player gets five points for a first-place vote, three for second and one for third. Lincecum received 11 of 32 first-place votes and finished with 100 points. Carpenter got nine first-place votes. Wainwright got the most first-place votes, 12, but finished third, a reflection of how diffuse the voting was this year.
Lincecum had a 2.48 earned-run average in 2009. He led the league with 261 strikeouts, which surely swayed voters. His 15 wins was the fewest for any starting pitcher to win the Cy Young Award in a season not shortened by a work stoppage, which reflects a growing reliance on other statistics that might reflect a pitcher's worth more accurately.
Unlike last year, when Lincecum was a clear favorite, nobody had any clue how the balloting would go this year because all three pitchers had such superb seasons. That included Lincecum, who had said Carpenter should win and figured the Cardinal would take the trophy.
"I really didn't know," Lincecum said. "Both the guys I was going up against in Wainwright and Carpenter had tremendous seasons. Given that, especially (with the arm surgery) Carpenter came off of and what Wainwright did as a workhorse, I didn't know how the cards were going to fall. It was a lucky one for me. I'll take them as they come, I guess."
Lincecum said he still was groggy with sleep when he got the call Thursday morning that he had won. He had to walk out of a window that leads to a ledge atop his Marin County house to get cell reception and said when he got the news, "I was jumping up and down on my roof."
A pitcher as young as Lincecum might not yet grasp the historic nature of his back-to-back Cy Young wins. But his pitching coach, Dave Righetti, understands what it means for Lincecum to achieve in 2 1/2 seasons what many of the game's greatest pitchers - including Bob Gibson, Steve Carlton, Gaylord Perry, Warren Spahn and Whitey Ford - could not do in their careers.
"It's pretty exciting," Righetti said. "In many ways, it's overwhelming if you think about sports, and you've been in it your whole life, to see a young man like this achieve these things so early in his career."
Some 15-win pitchers might not have been considered. But Lincecum surely was hoisted by his reputation and style.
Looking more like a surfer than a big-league pitcher, short in stature but big in arm speed and intensity, Lincecum has become one of the few must-see pitchers in baseball. That might have put him over the top in a season with no clear Cy Young favorite.
"It was close," said John Perrotto, who covered the Pittsburgh Pirates for the Ogden Newspapers in 2009 and voted Lincecum first. "I really debated it because you could really make a strong case for all three guys. In the end, what it came down to was, he was the dominant pitcher in the league."
Another writer who voted for Lincecum, Sarah Trotto of the Arizona Daily Star, said a big factor was that she thought he had improved over 2008, when he had a higher ERA of 2.62 and batters hit .221 off of him. She also said Carpenter's failure to reach 200 innings, a significant milestone for pitchers, weighed against him.
Scott Miller, a San Diego writer for CBSSports.com, said Lincecum leading the league in strikeouts and the opposing hitters' low batting average against him, .206, spoke to his dominance.
The natural question after such a feat is, where does Lincecum go from here? Aside from translating his tremendous numbers into wins that could return the Giants to the playoffs, which they have not visited since 2003, Lincecum also could try to match the record of four consecutive Cy Youngs, held by Johnson and Maddux.
Attempting that, he said, "just comes back to being a student of the game and never settling. A lot of guys can just sit on things they did. I could have easily sat on things I did last year and bounce off it. I just wanted to become better."
Player - Lincecum - who has won the Cy Young Award in each of his first two full seasons.
Consecutive seasons Lincecum has led the National League in strikeouts.
NL pitchers to win consecutive Cy Young Awards (Sandy Koufax, Randy Johnson and Greg Maddux are the others).
Victories for Lincecum, fewest ever for a Cy Young winning starter in a non-strike season.
Lincecum's listed playing weight (generous by probably 10 pounds).
Lincecum's salary in 2009.
Likely salary, at least, that Lincecum will draw in 2010.
He was jumping up and down on his roof when they told him, hahaha. Would love to see a video of that.
Lincecum says pot bust 'won't ever happen again'
Henry Schulman, Chronicle Staff Writer
Friday, November 20, 2009
(11-19) 21:29 PST -- Pushed back into the spotlight with his Cy Young Award win Thursday, Tim Lincecum issued his first public comment on his Oct. 30 arrest for marijuana possession.
Reading a carefully crafted and legally vetted statement during a conference call with reporters, Lincecum said, "I made a mistake and I regret my actions earlier this month in Washington. I want to apologize to the Giants organization and the fans. I know as a pro athlete I have a responsibility to conduct myself appropriately on and off the field. I certainly learned a valuable lesson from all of this. I promise to do better in the future."
The pitcher paraphrased the statement during a news conference at AT&T Park and added, "This won't ever happen again."
Lincecum was stopped for speeding 4 miles north of the Oregon state line and surrendered 3.3 grams of marijuana and a pot pipe to a police officer who smelled the substance in the car. Although he was charged with two misdemeanors, Lincecum has agreed to a plea deal on a reduced charge that comes with a $250 fine. The judge will not approve it without seeing Lincecum in court Dec. 22.
Lincecum did not answer specific questions about the incident, but general manager Brian Sabean called it something that happens to many young people.
"As we all know, the stakes are higher and the scrutiny is much greater when you're Tim Lincecum or you're in the spotlight, especially if you're a professional athlete. You don't have much margin for error," Sabean said.
"I wasn't overly concerned," Sabean said. "Of course, I don't know all the details and how this is going to turn out in court. It remains to be seen."
It better not fucking happen again! Like, nobody really cares about the pot, but it's just not a good idea to get arrested. :P He actually called himself idiotic on Chronicle Live later.
I'm wondering, has any other Asian pitcher ever won a Cy Young? They never even refer to him as Asian in the media. Nobody gives a shit about Asian people. :(
And in case anyone hasn't seen this, a bunch of players talking about pranks. Wherein Getzlaf and Tambellini duct tape Sidney Crosby into a mattress...
What I want to know is, was Sidney Crosby conscious throughout all of this??? Is he a really sound sleeper? Did they roofie him? Is he just not able to put up a very good fight?