On Thursday September 26,2013, all Giants fans everywhere watched as Tim Lincecum started for the San Francisco Giants. This start though was quite different, this may have been the last time that we ever see Lincecum on the mound at AT&T Park in a Giants uniform.
As a long time Giants fan, from over 2000 miles away (4,210 km since I’m in Canada), I would just like to send this “letter” to you as a thank you for all you have done for the Giants over your short but very successful career. I will share some stats and memories of your time with the team.
Tim, it was during the 2007 season that you arrived, and at the time the team was known more for its power hitting left fielder that was chasing and making history, but on May 6 things were about to change forever in San Francisco. Your debut was not a sign of things to come for both yourself and the Giants. At the end of the 2007, Barry Bonds left the team and baseball, the proverbial torch had been passed onto you.
During the 2008 season all Giants fans, and baseball fans in general, took notice. During the 2008 season you became without a doubt one of the, if not, the best pitchers in all of baseball. That 2008 was special in so many different ways, you did something that had only ever been done once in the history of the Giants, you were named the 2008 National Cy Young award winner.
In 2009, I wondered what you would do for an encore. The 2009 season was a better overall season for the team, and you again were named the National League Cy Young award winner. How amazing is it that, something that had only been done once in the history of the Giants, prior to the 2008 season, had now been done in back to back years by the same pitcher.
The 2010 was magical. Everyone’s first memory of this season would be Brian Wilson striking out Nelson Cruz to win the World Series, first since 1954 and first in the San Francisco era.
My other 2 memories from this season both involve you. I remember when the 2010 schedule was announced, I was so excited that my favorite team was playing an inter-league game in my hometown of Toronto. As time got closer, I kept looking at the schedule and trying to figure out who would pitching in the 3 game series and hoping that I’d get a chance to see my favorite pitcher starting a game in person, it did not work out as the starters for that series were Barry Zito, Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez. During the Saturday game, I was sitting 3 rows behind home plate. I received a phone call from my mother, who was watching the game on TV here in Toronto, she wanted to let me know that I was just shown on TV wearing my orange replica Lincecum jersey. I had asked my mom if they had said anything about the jersey and she had told me that they were discussing you on the broadcast and ended the discussion by showing the back of my jersey. I got home later that day from the game to watch the segment and took a picture off of my TV. My first thought wasn’t “oh how cool I was shown on TV”, no it was “how cool is it that, while talking about Tim Lincecum, they show him in the dugout and then zoom onto the back of MY jersey”. That is something I will always remember.
My second memory from this season involving you was your first career post season start. The talk of the baseball world at the time was about Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay throwing the second no hitter in post season history. You did not throw a no hitter in your start, but you did totally dominate the Wild Card winner Atlanta Braves. This start was one of the greatest starts in post season history, as seen here by the Bill James Game score, total score was 2 points higher than Halladays no hitter. That game 1 start vs Braves, is a game a game I have watched many times during the off season.
The 2011 season was a bit of a struggle for the team, having lost 2010 Rookie of the Year Buster Posey to a freak injury early in the season. The struggles of the team showed in your win/loss record, but the rest of your numbers were no different than your last 2 Cy Young award winning seasons, though you did not three-peat the award.
The 2012 season was a great year for the team, second World Series win in 3 years. This season was by far your hardest and worst season in the Majors. Even though you struggled most of the season, the team and fans still showed support for you. Entering the post season you showed exactly what kind of person you are. Knowing that you had struggled most of the season, you accepted a position in the bullpen as you would do whatever it takes to help the team. The move to the bullpen not only helped the team win 6 straight elimination games, but also earned you more love and respect from myself and Giants fans everywhere.
Like 2011 this season has been a struggle for the team, currently in fourth place. When the schedule was announced for this season I again was excited to be seeing the “champs” play in Toronto during a 2 game series in May. Though you did not pitch in either game, I was still extremely happy and excited as I had the privilege of attending both games, as I have every game the Giants have played here in 2002 and 2010. During batting practice of the May 14th game I met up with some friends who were standing front row watching batting practice and hoping to get an autograph from Giants players. Then it happened, you came over to the crowd of fans and started signing everyones baseballs and pictures. Knowing how big of Giants fan, and yours in general, my friends made sure that I got my baseball in there first to get signed (thank you for that). After that game I came home and placed the signed ball, also signed by Sergio Romo, in glass case on my shelf with all my Giants and Bluejays game caught baseballs, bobbleheads and other baseball memorabilia. In June I finally had a chance to travel to San Francisco to see AT&T Park and be surrounded by thousands of fellow Giants fans. Like every Giants game I have ever attended, I kept trying to figure out who would be starting the games I’ll be at. To my excitement not only was I going to be at AT&T park but I was also getting the chance to finally see you pitch in person and you did not disappoint.
I now bring you back to last night, September 26,2013. This was a game that I was both excited for and not looking forward to. Would this be the last time that I ever get to see Tim Lincecum in a Giants uniform? The answer will not be known for some time. Tim, I’m sure that I speak for Giants fans everywhere when I say I say THANK YOU for everything you have done during your career with the greatest organization in all of baseball. If we have in fact seen the last of you in a Giants uniform, I will say that it has been an honor watching you pitch. I’m also sure that I can speak for Giants fans when I that we hope to continue using such hashtags like #HappyLincecumDay and #FreaKKKK (for every strikeout) again next year while wearing the “Black and Orange” of the Giants
Sincerely and Thank You
Chris and Giants fans all over the world