Still in disbelief. After living and dying with the team for a couple of decades, after watching bullpens implode and offenses offend, the San Francisco Giants have won the World Series.
It feels like I'm mainlining opium and Christmas presents when I type that. The San Francisco Giants have won the World Series. Ohhhhahhhaoooohh. That feels so danged good.
There will be an entire offseason to process this, but for right now, all I can think about are Tim Lincecum’s struggles in August.
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It was a chance for every Timmy-doubter in the land to start up with their pet theories. Lincecum wasn’t conditioned well enough. Lincecum was always too small to be a starter. Lincecum had a good run, but that velocity just wasn't going to come back. Timmy was on drugs and stressed out about his illegitimate unborn baby. I seriously had an e-mailer try to convince me of that last one.
For five starts, Lincecum was dreadful. He was a flaming dirigible, sinking into the 2010 night. Even the true believers had to wonder a bit. Sure, if the Giants somehow squeaked into the postseason, anything could happen. Without a proper, working Lincecum, though, what chance would the Giants have in any short series? And every chance the Giants had in 2010, 2011, 2012, and beyond rested on the right arm of Tim Lincecum. And that promise was drifting into the ether. The window was closing. The panic wasn't just about 2010.
Everything about this Giants team was about getting them to the playoffs at some point during the Tim Lincecum era. Just get them in, and, uh, someone will go nuts and provide the offense. That guy, over there. What’s his name? Cody? Great. That guy will go ape on the rest of the league. Just get this team in the playoffs, and Corey will go nuts. Sorry, Cody. Cody. He’s due. And so is that old guy on the bench with the torn bicep. He's due to hit a season's worth of home runs in the World Series. That was the template. Just get the team there.
Ever since he came up to pitch for a bad team, the hope for a better tomorrow started with Tim Lincecum. When the Giants were slogging through a quagmire of Lance Niekros, Dan Ortmeiers, and Jose Castillos, trying to find a way back to respectability, Lincecum was the beacon of hope. There was an expiration date, even if no one knew what that date was in 2009 or 2019, but there was a sense of urgency to get a team that could support a Lincecum,, and the rest of the pitching staff. In August, everyone -- everyone -- started to think bad thoughts.
He started the first game in the playoffs, and pitched the best game in the history of the San Francisco Giants. He bookended that game with the last game of the playoffs. It was an amazing, dominant game. He had the perfect stuff to face a team that was overamped and fighting for their lives. The changeup was goofy, and the fastball was hopping.
There will be a chance to look at every contributor to the 2010 World Series run at some point, but for right now, I just can't stop thinking about Tim Lincecum and what the future looked like on August 26th. Adam LaRoche was looking for a changeup, and Lincecum hung one. It went into the water -- a three-run home run set up by a couple of walks from a pitcher who looked scared to groove an 88-mph fastball.
Two months later, and Lincecum pitched one of the best games of his life in a World Series clincher. He'll be on a float, traveling from Montgomery Street to Market Street. Tim Lincecum.