I guess this is a tradition. A glorious, amazing tradition. After Jonathan Sanchez threw a no-hitter, there were 50 awesome things about that no-hitter. When Matt Cain threw a perfect game, the same thing happened. Tim Lincecum, you magnificent bastard. Here are 50 awesome things about you and your no-hitter.
1. It was Lincecum
Tim Lincecum. The guy who lost his talent in a poker game before the 2012 season, then came back to be a relief hero in the playoffs. The guy who was alternating good starts with bad. The guy who dragged the franchise out of the post-Bonds doldrums and won a couple of Cy Youngs and championships.
There's so much weight behind something like this. Metaphorical weight. Lincecum still weighs a buck-fifty.
2. The Hunter Pence catch
Last season, Hunter Pence couldn't do anything right. He was supposed to have five tools. He showed up with a miter saw and six toothpicks. This season, he's played a mean right field. He's been outstanding defensively. And in the eighth inning, he had one of those catches. In which a no-hitter is saved.
If the ball ticked off his glove, there would have been disappointed groans, but no one would have blamed Pence. Instead, he caught the ball.
3. Then Hunter Pence made this face
4. It was the first no-hitter at Petco Park
It was like the christening of a ship, where you break a champagne bottle on its bow. Except it was Tim Lincecum's big ol' changeup wang instead of a champagne bottle. I'm not sure what that means, but you just watched it.
5. Pablo Sandoval's play down the line
Pablo Sandoval is back. Pablo Sandoval's back. Pablo Sandoval has back. He's been hitting lately, and he's been picking it clean at third base, too. He made a clean play on a tough chopper in the seventh, and Tim Lincecum didn't allow a hit.
6. The look of relief on Lincecum's face as the ball gently nestled into Gregor Blanco's glove
There was a shot that tracked Lincecum from the third-base dugout, from pitch to out, and he calmly watched the ball gently nestle into Gregor Blanco's glove.
That's the official terminology, by the way. For a no-hitter. Balls "nestle" into gloves. It's a beautiful thing.
7. This is the 45th season of Padres baseball. They have never had a no-hitter
I knew a Padres fan who claimed the Padres had the better all-time team. He had Willie McCovey and Ozzie Smith on his all-time team. I'd like to think that guy is really sad now.
8. This happened when Lincecum was struggling
Look, a no-hitter when Lincecum was winning Cy Youngs would have been dandy. It would have been the cherry on a dominance sundae. But there's a little added poignance with the struggles of the previous years. It's not like he's going to emerge from the depths of the ocean reborn, a new pitcher, a new man, everything is fixed. But, screw it, Lincecum was awesome for a night.
9. That Andres Torres was zooming behind Gregor Blanco for the final out
Just in case.
10. There were runs
Just like the Matt Cain game, the Giants were never really in danger of losing. There were lots of runs, and they came relatively early.
11. Jon Miller's call of Pence's catch
He did a great call of the final out, too, but the Pence catch was the seminal moment, and Miller knew it.
12. The kid-in-the-candy-store vibe given off by Mike Krukow
He's a professional. He can be silly at times, but he takes his craft pretty seriously. And in the ninth inning, he said, "He can do this," so earnestly, so genuinely, that it only added to the spectacle.
13. That Buster Posey was the catcher
Because they hate each other, everybody. Timmy's like, "no bro i need to get high and play NHL '93," and Buster's like "Dammit, this is your life, you wastrel" and this went on for years and years, and then the Giants won World Series and Tim Lincecum threw a no-hitter.
14. There was a pitch-count concern, but it didn't really matter
Pretty cool, everybody.
15. /tugs at collar
Yeesh. Whatever. No-hitter!
16. That Twitter wasn't a maelstrom of pitch-count bitching.
Everyone was goofy for no-hitter-mania. We'll worry about tomorrow tomorrow. Maybe really worry about it! But on Saturday, Tim Lincecum threw a complete game, and he did not allow a hit. The list of pitch counts over 140 in San Francisco Giants history includes Marks Leiter and Gardner. The last one was Jason Schmidt, but he turned out okay. Right? Right?
17. Twenty-nine swings and misses was a career high
Except for the 2010 NLDS (31), which is still probably still the best game ever pitched in San Francisco Giants history.
18. Lincecum didn't have some sort of 94 m.p.h outlier of a game
This was pretty much the Lincecum that we're used to now. And it was still quite good enough.
19. That Petco Park was filled with Giants fans
Good gravy, that has to be so annoying. Like, the worst. So off-putting. So discouraging.
20. That we get to punch the next trade rumor about Tim Lincecum right in the crotch
One free shot. We all get one.
21. The split-second between Blanco's catch and Posey being right there with the bear hug
22. That Brian Bocock had a two-homer game for the Pirates' Triple-A team tonight
This means something.
Darren Ford came in as a pinch-runner. THIS MEANS SOMETHING.
23. My DVR said that "Get Out Alive with Bear Grylls" was on when the game ended
That probably means as much as the Darren Ford tidbit.
24. After not seeing a no-hitter for my entire life, the Giants have thrown three over the last five seasons
Two were against a divisional rival. They Padres. Who have never had a no-hitter in their franchise history. Feels like that should be mentioned at least once.
25. There were hella strikeouts
There's something pure about a no-hitter with all sorts of swings and misses. Lincecum struck out 13 on Friday night, the most since April 6, 2011
26. That the Carlos Quentin liner in the ninth made us all poop
Every good no-hitter has one of those in the ninth.
27. The Giants just got no-hit
Homer Bailey, you're pretty cool. But you're suddenly the guy who got hosed by a quick Dusty Baker hook in the NLDS again, not the no-hitter demon from the red dimension. That's important.
28. Tim Lincecum scored a run
That's one more than the Padres scored. Because they were shut out. Also, no-hit.
29. The curveball
Dat curve. It was a non-entity for the last few years. But it's back, and Posey's calling for it.
30. This came in the middle of a bad season
Look, it would be better if it came in another championship season. But as an oasis in a desert of losing? This will do fine, just fine.
31. Brandon Belt had a home run in Cain's perfect game, too
That's all. He can hit (Krukow voice), he can hit.
32. That Jeff Francoeur was out there in the dog pile
Hell, I'm a poet. I can appreciate that. It was fantastic.
33. This is the face that Tim Lincecum made when a pitch hit the umpire in the beans
That's by way of Gidget. And it's fantastic.
34. Someone stabbed rock-bottom, took its wallet, and dumped the carcass into the Bay
IN YOUR FACE, ROCK BOTTOM.
35. Gaslamp Ball literally used the words "rock bottom" in their post-game thread
Aw, man. I thought rock bottom was a Giants meme.
36. That it wasn't Chad Gaudin. Or Eric Hacker. Or Yusmeiro Petit
Nothing against those guys, but this no-hitter was thrown by Tim Lincecum. There will be Tim Lincecum giveaways at AT&T in 2045. Don't take that for granted. He's kind of a big deal..
37. This eerie screenshot of Ghost Lincecum whispering into Alexi Amarista's ear after Pence's amazing catch
It's alright, guy. It's alright.
38. The All-Star break will give Lincecum a big-ass rest
Easy there, big fella.
Lincecum's batting average on balls in play has been a big deal over the last two years. He threw an 89-m.p.h. fastball in BABIP's earhole in this game. It kind of hurt.
40. My fantasy team's name is Tim Lincecum's Comeback Jamboree, and it benefited greatly from this performance
Listen, Jeff Locke is carrying my team. I've earned this.
41. This is a Tim Lincecum quote:
I felt fine out there from the first pitch. Maybe just a little sweaty.
42. MLB Jesus has a Vine, everybody
43. George Kontos has a Twitter, everybody
44. A dude in a foam SpongeBob costume was roaming around the park
Look, I don't know. There was a hover jet for Cain's perfect game, so why not SpongeBob?
I was more impressed with Patrick, to be honest. He's my favorite.
45. This picture
Photo credit: Denis Poroy/Getty Images
46. This picture
Denis Poroy/Getty Images
47. This picture
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
48. This picture
Denis Poroy/Getty Images
49. This picture, oh god, this picture
Denis Poroy/Getty Images
50. Tim Lincecum
Fine work, Tim Lincecum. Fine work. You done pitched a no-hitter. Fine work.
It had to be Tim Lincecum.