Fans miss Tim ‘The Freak’ Lincecum | Global News

Fans miss Tim ‘The Freak’ Lincecum

Tim_Lincecum_2008

SAN FRANCISCO — Despite being a no-show at the Giants FanFest last Saturday, February 8, Tim Lincecum – known as “The Freak” for his power pitch – remains top of mind among Filipino fans.

Damp weather didn’t stop the crowds from heading to AT&T Park for the meet and greet with the World Series champions.

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“We’ve had few players that had some things to do,” San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Boche told Manila Mail.

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“We do excuse players for a great reason and that’s between Timmy and us. But it’s a great feeling coming to a fan fest as world champs. I told the guys this morning that it’s something that never gets old. It’s amazing to me. I look at these guys and it’s incredible how they stay humble through all this. They’re coming to spring training and ready to work.”

Lincecum, a two-time recipient of the Cy Young Awards whose mother is a Filipina, had a troubled 2014 season. His injury during the exhibition game with the Oakland A’s in March last year cost him the pitcher position during the recently concluded World Series championship. Many believe he was benched for this reason.

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‘Still a great player’ 

But for Christine Esguerra, 43, mother of four and a diehard baseball fan, Lincecum is “still a great player overall.”

“His performance wasn’t the usual,” she recalled. “Normally he’s really magaling [good] but that season was not that good for him. But I have high hopes for him. I hope to see him pitch more. I really want him to go ahead, perform like he did before, when he was a young winner.”

“Tim was very adaptable,” added Esguerra’s husband, Ed, who is a respiratory therapist. “They were moving him around from being a starter to being a reliever, and he accepted his role and did it well.”

Elvie Fefas, who together with her whole family has been following the Giants for six years now and has gone as far as Chicago and San Diego to watch their championship games, could not agree more.

“I think he was probably having a little bit of a rougher down time but we’re big fans of Tim. I think 2015 would probably be a better year for him. I hope it will be. I’m glad that they kept him.”

She noted SF Giant’s community impact: “I see how the whole team especially here in San Francisco is such a part of the community. Kids are getting a lot of encouragement and positive things that they do for our community, I encourage it. I think it’s a great family thing that we do. It keeps the family together.”

Esguerra

Big fans: The Esguerr, at Giants’ meet-and-greet, are among Lincecum’s loyal Filipino American fans. GARY DE GUZMAN/MANILA MAIL

Past his prime?

To a few critics though, Lincecum is past his prime.

“Tim lost his mojo,” said an airline employee who requested anonymity.

“He’s no longer the best player,” a sports reporter who was waiting in line to have a one-on-one with catcher Buster Posey, one of the Giants’ most prized players, told Manila Mail. He suggested that drug use might be a reason. Lincecum has been caught with a stash of marijuana in Washington state.

But Trevor Stuart, setup and promotions coordinator for Welk Resorts, looks at the bigger picture.

“With players, you can’t really judge them on their previous year,” said the Fil-Am fan whose company has been supporting the Giants since last year. “But let’s see what he [Tim] does this year. I expect him to do something along the lines of what [Martin] Bumgarner has done. It’s not everybody’s year every year. Baseball’s a little bit different. Baseball will take you to the point where you have to make it or break it. One year, you could have a bad year; the next year you can have a good year. It switches off. It’s not always having an all-star player being the one in the best place. It’s all about the timing, the luck and the ability of the players that year.”

Boche assured Lincecum’s fans that “next step, come next spring training, [Tim will] bounce back to being a pitcher that he is.

“He showed it last year for a pretty good stretch here. That’s all we’re looking for – Tim to be himself. This next step is to come in and get ready for the season and hopefully that gives us a chance to ‘wow’ on a system basis,” Boche said.

“He’s been working out, going through his routine. I can probably answer all these questions once I see him this spring, but I expect Tim to come in ready to go – hungry, determined and ready to get back on track.”

As for his partner Posey, “We just go over a game plan and try to figure out the best way we’re going to get guys out.”

Predictions

Stuart is looking forward to another Giants sweep in 2016.

“After seeing all the even years, I’m pretty sure that we might be doing it in 2016. It might be our year again. [Though], we don’t know yet until we see what the lineups are like for all the different teams.”

Eleven year-old Alex Fefas who goes to Central Middle School in San Carlos, California had the same forecast.

“I think they’re going to win again in 2016 and in 2018 ‘cause even numbers are their lucky years.”

Earlier reports claimed that Lincecum avoids the topic of his Filipino heritage.

According to New York based newspaper—Filipino Reporter, “after the game in 2008, Balitang America asked him what his message was to his Filipino fans. Instead of addressing the community, he talked about his performance during the game. Lincecum said, “That was a garbage start, a bad game. I just need to make improvements, bounce back from it.”

At the time, Lincecum seemed a bit evasive to talk about his Filipino heritage, according to the Reporter. But he told Balitang America he valued diversity within professional baseball.

“There’s been talk within the Giants camp that it’s Lincecum’s strained relationship with his Filipino mother that’s behind this.”

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Ed Esguerra is nevertheless proud of Lincecum’s Filipino roots.

“Baseball is a great game,” he said. “I wish we’d see more Filipinos playing [professional] baseball out there. From what I know, we are pretty good athletes overall. I’d just like to see more breaking into the Major League Baseball.”

TAGS: AT&T Park, Baseball, San Francisco Giants, Tim Lincecum

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