Results tagged ‘ Tim Lincecum ’
- Jeremy Affeldt will be starting a video blog called The Set-Up on the Giants’ website. He’s one of the funniest guys in baseball. Check out his video on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area from earlier this week. You’ll get a taste for what his vlog will be like when it starts sometime next month.
- Affeldt is a big believer in chemistry on a team. He says chemistry was the key to Colorado reaching the World Series when he played there in 2007 “This team is as close to Colorado as I’ve been on. We have a lot of fun together. Lots of inside jokes.” He said it helps the team’s chemistry when the main star of the team, Tim Lincecum, is a good guy. “It’s like Matt Holliday in Colorado. He was a good family man. Really humble. You always see Lincecum signing autographs. He has so much fun when he plays. Timmy brings that dynamic. He reminds you that the game is supposed to be fun.”
- Thomas Neal, the 22-year-old minor-leaguer, is here in his first major-league camp. But he is very familiar to manager Bruce Bochy. Neal played with Bochy’s son on a traveling team in Poway, in Southern California. The two young men are still good friends, and Neal has spent many an afternoon and evening at the Bochy home. ”(Bochy’s wife) and my mom are pretty good friends,” Neal says.
- Neal has another major-league connection: He went to his high school prom with Tony Gwynn’s daughter.
- On a day-to-day basis, no one – other than perhaps Pablo Sandoval – is happier in the clubhouse than reliever Sergio Romo. He couldn’t wait to get to camp and back on the field. “I have such an appreciation of where I’m at,” he said. “I do enjoy what I do.” He said he feels invincible when he stares in at a batter. When I’m out on the mound, it’s the only place I’m not 5 feet 10.”
It is the nature of diehard fans to be impatient. This is a good thing. They push a team’s management. Where’s the long-ball hitter we need? Where’s the rocket-armed reliever? Let’s make a deal, and let’s do it now.
But in the labyrinth of offices inside any major-league baseball organization, alongside the up-to-the-minute-what-can-we-do-now executives and analysts, are the futurists. They’re the ones constructing the team we’ll see next year and five years from now.
No team in recent years has planned for the future better than the Giants.
That’s what Baseball America concluded in its just-published analysis of the last four draft classes.
Here’s what Baseball America’s Jim Callis reported yesterday:
“We grade every draft from 2005-08 in the new Prospect Handbook, and no team outdid San Francisco’s 3.50 GPA. Vice president of player personnel Dick Tidrow ran those first three efforts, with scouting director John Barr coming aboard in 2008.
“The Giants’ signature pick was stealing two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum after nine teams passed on him in 2006. San Francisco gets an A for Lincecum alone in 2006, though they also found fringe big league infielders Emmanuel Burriss (sandwich round), Ryan Rohlinger (sixth), Brian Bocock (ninth) and Matt Downs (36th).
“San Francisco was the only club to earn three As, also getting top grades in 2007 for Madison Bumgarner (first), with some help from righthander Tim Alderson (first), second baseman Nick Noonan (sandwich) and big league surprise Dan Runzler (fifth), and in 2008. That last group could be San Francisco’s best hitting crop in years, led by Buster Posey (first), third baseman Conor Gillaspie (sandwich), outfielder Roger Kieschnick (third) and shortstop Brandon Crawford (fourth).”
As fans, we don’t have to be patient. That’s not our jobs. But it’s good know it’s somebody’s job, and that the Giants happen to have some of the best people doing it.
It sure looks weird to see the clubhouse in the off-season. Even filled as it was last night with fans in folding chairs, it was like walking into an abandoned building. There’s a kind of ghostly loneliness about it without players slapping domino tiles on table tops and answering fan mail in front of their lockers and yanking down the bills of their caps as they rush out to take early BP. Is April really still three-and-a-half months away?
The next best thing to the actual baseball season, though, is talking about it.
Up on a temporary stage, erected on the far right of the room near the starting pitchers’ lockers, Giants manager Bruce Bochy was sitting next to general manager Brian Sabean and taking questions from moderator Greg Papa.
“He’s the best all-around player that I’ve ever seen because he can play everywhere,” Bochy was saying. “He has a very similar body type to Tony Gwynn.”
He was talking about Pablo Sandoval, who embarked on a rigorous conditioning and weight-loss program during the off-season, a one-man camp the Giants dubbed “Operation Panda.”
“Obviously,” Sabean cracked, nodding at Bochy and himself, “we haven’t been in the same camp.”
Packed into the room, in rows of chairs bordered by four walls of lockers, were season-ticket holders who had been invited to talk baseball with Bochy, Sabean, managing general partner Bill Neukom and relief pitcher Sergio Romo.
Asked by Papa if two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum’s stuff matches up with the all-time greats, Bochy didn’t hesitate.
“Sure it does. He’s by far the best pitcher I’ve ever seen. When you have four pitches, especially the best or close to the best changeup in baseball right now, he’s up there among the greats. He’s a thinker out there and knows what the opposing team is doing and that’s why he’s won two Cy Young Awards.”
“What’s interesting about him,” Sabean said, “is in college he would throw 140 pitches on a Friday night and then be the closer for his team on Sunday. He’s proved to have a rubber arm and has an inner strength that other people don’t have. He’s fearless and he thinks that on any given day that he’s better than anyone else.”
Perhaps the highlight of the evening was Sergio Romo. He’s a player that fans don’t know very well yet, and last night they got a glimpse of his sense of humor and his boyish excitement for the game – starting with the fact he was texting his mother as he climbed onto the stage to tell he was going to be on television.
“You’re from Brawley, California, near Los Angeles,” Papa said, “so who was your favorite team growing up?”
“No comment,” Romo said, smiling. “Let’s just say I started hating the Dodgers the second I put on a Giants uniform.”
After struggling with injuries last season, he said he’s “very excited for the season to start . . . I miss my number 54 on my back.”
When Papa opened the discussion to questions, one of the first was an update on the Giants’ up and coming players.
“Peguero is a young outfielder that we just placed on our 40-man roster,” Sabean said. “He’s a lot like Sandoval in that he has a lot of energy. Thomas Neal came into his own last year and developed an all-around game. Brandon Crawford is going to be our shortstop of the future. We have a flow of talent that people will be proud of.”
As for the readiness of pitcher Madison Bumgarner and catcher Buster Posey, Bochy said, “I really think that they can start for us next year. Posey is gonna be a front line catcher and he’s on the fast track. Bumgarner did a heck of a job last year when Timmy went down. Here are two tremendous kids that stood out and both held their own. I’m curious to see how Buster looks this spring.”
One fan wanted to know about keeping Lincecum and fellow pitcher Matt Cain as Giants for the long haul.
“Cain has two more years before free agency,” Sabean said, “and Lincecum has four more and is going through arbitration right now. We are in a good situation because they both want to be Giants for a long time.”
Sabean also addressed the decision not to resign veteran pitcher Brad Penny.
“We had a short window and in our estimation we thought we had home court in our situation. We couldn’t bring ourselves to overpay when we have Madison Bumgarner in the wings.”
Still want more? Tune in to a full broadcast of the event on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area on January 15 at 6:30 p.m.
Some shots from the taping:
The greatest Giant of all time, and the greatest Giant of this time, held court in separate rooms in the bowels of AT&T Park this afternoon.
Willie Mays, in his ever-present Giants’ cap and jacket, fielded questions from wide-eyed Giants’ rookies about the toughest pitchers he ever faced (Koufax, Gibson, Drysdale and Rush) and his greatest influence (his father) during his reign as the best player in baseball.
Down the hall, in the Giants press conference room, newly crowned two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum fielded questions from reporters about his hopes for the future (World Series ring) and his greatest influence (yes, his father) during his two-year reign as the best pitcher in baseball.
The concrete corridor connecting the two rooms felt like a wormhole in an orange-and-black universe, a shortcut through time and space.
“I couldn’t have ever seen this happening growing up,” Lincecum was saying.
He was flanked by Bruce Bochy, Dave Righetti and Brian Sabean, who struggled to put into words just how remarkable Lincecum’s performance has been, winning back-to-back Cy Youngs in his first two full seasons in the majors.
“It’s almost overwhelming,” Righetti said. “Where do you go from here?”
You go where Mays went.
Into the history books.
Because you can read and hear everything from Lincecum’s press conference elsewhere, I’ll bring you the highlights of Mays’ lively chat with the Giants’ draftees on the second-to-last day of their winter conditioning camp.
(I’ll try to bring you a postmortem from Lincecum sometime in the next week.)
The 25 or so young players sat in chairs encircling Mays, who sat behind a small table.
“All right, guys, c’mon, what else?” Mays said, prompting the next question.
Ever get timed in the 60?
“No, no! I didn’t run! I told them, ‘I can’t run the ball over the fence.’ When they were out running, I was asleep in the clubhouse. They got you just running here? You doing some hitting?”
No, the players said. Just conditioning work.
“That’s not fun! Maybe I should say something. You want to hit a little bit and then go run. You got to enjoy yourself.”
He told them about his struggles against Drysdale, Gibson, Koufax and Bob Rush then added: “I made up for it on all the other guys, the scrubs. I destroyed them.”
Best players you ever saw?
Robert Clemente, Mays said. Barry Bonds – “If I don’t say Barry, he’ll start a fight.” Bobby Bonds (Now, he could run!” ) , Maury Wills (“Played a good shortstop.”) and Frank Robinson (“Triple Crown winner”).
What did you do in the off-season?
“Work, man, work! That’s a very good question. I played basketball, football – touch football – they didn’t know I played football! I had a 32 waistline. I worked out and played all the time. No time to lay around. Had to keep myself in shape. Played winter ball two times.”
We’ve heard from other major-league players about what makes a good teammate. What’s your definition?
“In 1962, they made me captain. I positioned the outfielders, the infielders, I’d call pitches from centerfield – he didn’t have to take them but I wanted him throw a pitch I thought I could catch. You had to get 25 guys playing together even though nine or ten don’t play much at all and it feels bad. I’d go to the manager and say, ‘I want this guy to play because he needs to feel part of the team.’ The guy would go 9 for 10 and he’d go sit down and feel like a part of the team. When guys had problems at home, they’d come to me and I’d call their wives. I knew the wives better than I knew the players!”
Your greatest baseball achievement?
“Man, I had so many! I think my greatest achievement was when I signed my major-league contract.”
“Hitting four home runs in Milwaukee [with 8 RBI] was the greatest thing I ever did.”
Best park to hit in?
“Wrigley. To me the ball went out of there pretty good.”
Worst park to hit in?
“Candlestick. The wind’s always blowing in. We put a glove to a fence to see if it would fall and it didn’t fall. We could even hit it out in batting practice.
“I know you guys are saying, ‘Oh, hell, he didn’t do all this stuff. Oh yes I did.”
What was your farthest home run?
“I never worried about that! You just get it over the fence! You don’t care how far it went.”
What effect did race have back when you played?
“We went to some towns and I couldn’t stay in the same hotel. I remember once in Hagerstown, they dropped me off on the other side of the tracks. You guys from the South, you know what the other side of the track is. So they drop me off and I’m in a hotel, and at 2 o’clock in the morning two or three guys come through the window and sleep the rest of the night on my floor, and then at 6 a.m. they get up and go back out the window. They did the same thing the next night, watching out for me. Nothing was ever said.
“My father told me no matter what anybody said, never to fight. Turn the other cheek. I’d call him up and he’d ask, “Did you fight today?’ Back then, you had to make sure you were bigger than those people who called you names. They called you all kinds of names. But I knew for me to get ahead, I had to take all that kind of stuff. Every time somebody called me a name, I hit the ball.”
What did you do in a slump?
“A slump is going to happen to everybody in some way. For me, a slump was 0-for-10. Everyone has a different way of getting out of a slump. I’d get out by swinging inside-out and getting a hit that way.”
Throughout Mays’ talk, the young guys snapped photos with their cell phone, leaning close, recording forever their moment with the greatest player who ever stepped on a baseball field.
When Mays left, he rode a golf cart down the concrete corridor to Mike Murphy’s office inside the clubhouse. Then Lincecum, finally finished with his round of interviews, stopped by. Mays rose from his chair.
“Don’t get up!” Lincecum said. “You’re getting up for me?”
“Congratulations!” Mays said. He shook Lincecum’s hand.
They exchanged pleasantries as cameras snapped.
“Enjoy this,” Mays told him.
Lincecum said he would, thanked him and left, smiling and shaking his head at the whirlwind day. He still had more interviews to do – still more questions about how he does what he does. But Lincecum doesn’t have a clear answer to the question any more than Mays ever did.
Sometimes there are none.