Tim Lincecum came into the season as an elite ace. The 28-year-old is already a four-time All-Star won two Cy Young Awards in his mid-20s. So, naturally, when he gets out to a 2-8 start with a 6.19 ERA -- leading the NL in earned runs allowed entering Friday -- the headlines are going to be there.
The latest is an extended feature on Lincecum by USA Today's Bob Nightengale. The entire article is worth a read, but one thing stood out for me: Chris Lincecum (Tim's father) seems very angry with how his son is being treated by fans, media and Giants management -- the latter if Tim is demoted to the minors.
Check these quotes out:
"Here's a two-time Cy Young winner, a four-time All-Star, a World Series champion, and send him to the minors?" Chris Lincecum said, his voice rising. "You do that, and what you're basically telling the player is, 'We don't need you or respect you.' And this is the kid who helped bring a championship to the city of San Francisco for the first time in over 50 years?
"It's like people forget what he's done. It's like, 'What the (expletive) do I have to do. What more do you want? I gave you two Cy Youngs. I was a major contributor to the World Series. And you crucify me now?' "
"You keep saying (expletive) like this, and he'll want to go away. This is the face of the franchise … and now that he's struggling, as all players do at some point, this is the (bleep) respect he gets? You're crucifying him.
"It's like the media is hoping he fails so they'll have something to write about. If they're trying to get him to leave that city, they're (bleeping) on their way."
Man, that's a lot of venom.
I can't speak for everyone, but the reason I've been writing about Lincecum this season is exactly because I haven't forgotten what he's done. We're looking at a 28-year-old who was an elite pitcher and now he's flat-out terrible. That's a story, especially since the Giants might have the best record in baseball if Lincecum was doing what he was expected to do. I can only speak for myself, but I'm not rooting for him to do poorly. There will always be interesting material to cover every single day of the baseball season.
And if Lincecum busts out of his slump and starts dealing like an ace again, he'll get plenty of coverage. In that case, would we have been rooting for Lincecum to throw well so we have something to write?
A suggestion to Chris Lincecum: Ignore the noise from media and fans. There's nothing for a parent of a big-league player to gain from paying attention to any of it.