Tim Lincecum 

 I was born and raised as a San Francisco Giants fan in the suburbs of the city by the bay. I was a kid during the Barry Bonds era. I saw him hit home runs and steal bases and intimidate pitchers and lead us all the way to the World Series, only to suffer a devastating loss to the Angels and that damn Rally Monkey. I remember the hurt and pain of having a championship slip through our fingers. I knew that I would never take it for granted if we finally won one.

 Flash forward a few years to 2007, and I was moving into San Francisco after a brief stint in Los Angeles. I was back home where I belonged and the Giants were waiting for me. Things were a little bit different this time around. The Barry Bonds era was ending and an exciting new player was emerging. It wasn’t a slugger this time around. It was a pitcher… A scrawny white kid with a crazy delivery and lights out stuff. Tim Lincecum had arrived. 

 I watched as this kid (only a few months older than me) dominate. His fastball, his delivery, his casual attitude. He was a strikeout machine, he won games, he made hitters look foolish, and he smoked weed. He was cool as fuck. He won the Cy Young Award in his first full season. He won it again the very next year. He was The Freak, he was The Franchise, he was the future, and he proved it in 2010, when he lead us to the World Series. This time we won it. We did the impossible. And he was the biggest part of it. And I didn’t take it for granted. I celebrated. I cheered. I yelled. I even skipped work and went to the victory parade.

 Over the next few seasons, his velocity dropped, his command waned, and he was no longer immortal. He made mistakes and his ERA skyrocketed. But he still got the job done, any way that he could. He came out of the bullpen to help secure more World Series victories is 2012 and 2014. He didn’t always have his stuff, but he still managed to pitch a couple of no-hitters in 2013 and 2014. He never stopped fighting, he never stopped smiling, and we loved him for it.

 Injuries shortened his 2015 season and the Giants didn’t resign him. It turns out that baseball is a business after all. He started 2016 without a team to pitch for. He had a showcase in May that was enough to generate interest from a couple of MLB teams, and he ended up signing with the Angels and that damn Rally Monkey. He has yet to make his debut with them, and it’s going to be weird seeing him in a different uniform. He won’t be wearing the orange and black anymore, but he will always be a Giant. And unlike panda hats, his jersey will always be a welcome sight at AT&T. 

 Thank you, Tim. Thanks for representing the Giants in four All-Star games, for winning three World Series Championships, for the two Cy Young Awards, and your two no-hitters. You helped turn our team into a dynasty. It’s players like you that make me proud to be a Giants fan. Good luck with your new team, but I hope that you go into the Hall with SF on your cap.

 Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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