Unlike a year ago, when Tim Lincecum appeared at FanFest weekend with a new haircut and hipster eyewear, he didn’t unveil a startling look Friday.
He had sat on his faux glasses and bent them, making them unwearable. He was wearing a knit beanie and a gray shawl sweater over a plaid flannel shirt. Jeans. Sneakers.
“There’s no look,” he said. “It’s just me.”
And “just Lincecum” is OK with the Giants. They wanted him back, badly, and signed him in October to a two-year, $35 million contract. Some people scoffed at the deal as a sentimental signing. But the Giants believe that their former ace and fan favorite is in the process of remaking himself into a different but effective starter. They get Lincecum and he gets them.
Lincecum described himself as “ecstatic” to be back at the only baseball home he’s ever known.
“Familiarity is the biggest thing for me,” he said. “The last couple of years, I was biting my knuckles wondering what was going to happen. Would teams want me after this? But the Giants showing that they did want me gives me confidence going into this year.”
That’s as close as Lincecum came to conceding that the contract situation weighed heavily on his mind. His struggles on the mound coincided with his impending free agency and you could see that he was swimming in self-doubt.
“It was a question mark in my head, whether or not I’m a commodity that someone would want, let alone the team that’s had me for seven years,” he said. “I’m being honest with you when I say that those questions creep up in my mind. I get in my own head a lot.”
Pitching is a mental game and Lincecum has been working hard to master that side of it. Though he concedes that in the past he’s been cocky, even arrogant, about his ability to get hitters out, he has learned that he must evolve. Making that mental adjustment, accepting his new parameters, has been the hardest part.
“But I feel like I’m making that evolution,” he said
Lincecum, believe it or not, will turn 30 this season. It will be his eighth year with the Giants. He’s still Timmy, still young looking, like everyone’s favorite kid brother. Even he finds it hard to believe he’s going to hit that milestone of adulthood.
“Yeah, it is,” he said. “I still struggle to have a mustache.”
He looked with envy on Brandon Belt‘s new close-cropped beard.
“I’m so jealous,” Lincecum said. “When people are, like, ‘Fear the Beard,’ I think. ‘What the hell am I going to bring to this?’ ”
Lincecum is maturing on and off the field. Last season, mostly thanks to Chad Gaudin‘s influence, he finally learned how to use the computer analytics that have long been available to him. He said it gave him more confidence going into each start. He plans to continue his new routine, even though Gaudin is now in Philadelphia.
Lincecum also is excited to tap into the knowledge base of new teammate Tim Hudson(who didn’t make Friday’s event due to terrible weather in the South). Lincecum met Hudson at the All-Star Game in 2010.
– Ann Killion, San Francisco Chronicle
You don’t have to get caught up in how this stat is tabulated (it’s an estimate of how many points your team gives up per 100 possessions when you’re on the floor) to know that these lofty positions in the DRtg are rare for this franchise.
Very, very rare.
So rare that the last time a Warriors player finished a season in the top 20 in this category was… let me think now… hmmm…. was…
No, not Dominic McGuire (MT-2½²s good guess last night)… not Stephen Jackson (my guess)… not Corey Maggette (I kid!), not Troy Murphy or Antawn Jamison (I REALLY KID!) or even Bobby Sura or Adonal Foyle (my other guesses)…
The last time a Warriors player finished top 20 in defensive ratings was in 1988-89, when the legendary Manute Bol finished 17th in the defensive ratings.
That is a long time ago, but what a great name to come back to, however.
- The last time a Warrior player finished in the top 5 in DRtg: When Robert Parish hit No. 1 in 1978-79…. which of course led directly to the Warriors trading the future Hall of Famer to Boston. When he was 26. For the rights to Joe Barry Carroll and Rickey Brown.
And oh, the Warriors traded the rights to Kevin McHale in there, too.Sorry for that little tangent there, but back to the original point…
You don’t need the stats to tell you what your eye can see—the Warriors are always much, much better on defense when either Bogut or Green are on the floor this season, particularly on help defense and rotations (Bogut and Green talk a little about this issue in interview transcripts this later in this item).
The stats just back that up.
–Tim Kawakami, San Jose Mercury News
Roger Goodell has been tested for marijuana.
“I am randomly tested,” the NFL commissioner said Friday, “and I’m happy to say that I am clean.”
That got a laugh from reporters assembled at his annual Super Bowl news conference, but the topic is a serious one this week and Goodell deserves a bit of credit for that.
Last Thursday, at an appearance with GE CEO Jeff Immelt, Goodell was asked about the possible use of medical marijuana by NFL players to treat the effects of concussions and other head injuries. “I’m not a medical expert,” he said. “We will obviously follow signs. We will follow medicine and if they determine this could be a proper usage in any context, we will consider that. Our medical experts are not saying that right now.”
He echoed those comments Friday, although he said the league is “not actively considering” a change in its drug policy despite the two states represented in Sunday’s game – Colorado and Washington – have legalized marijuana.
Goodell is very careful with his words, as are most executives of multi-million dollar businesses. He could have dismissed the issue, pointing to the fact that marijuana is a federally controlled substance and illegal in most states. He could have given a non-answer that would have lessened the likelihood of further questions. Instead, marijuana has become one of the biggest topics in the days leading up to the biggest NFL moment of the year.
The most significant part of Goodell’s statement wasn’t “we will consider that,” although that certainly raised eyebrows. It was, “We will obviously follow signs.” Following signs is something the NFL has not done well as awareness of the damaging long-term effects of head trauma has grown. The league has been slow if not negligent in its response to a crisis among current and former players. The “League of Denial” documentary this season was one of the most embarrassing moments in a while for a league that has enormous appeal worldwide.
So the promise to “follow signs” is not just lip service. It’s a vow to be aware.
There is plenty to be aware of, and it’s not only in the realm of concussions. This is a pain issue. Intense pain has always been a part of football, and a part of retirement from football. No matter how many rules changes or padding improvements take place, it will hurt to play the sport, and life after the sport will hurt. Brett Favre is a case study in the danger of treating this pain, as he went from one Vicodin for a shoulder injury to more than 10 per day. At one point in the ’90s he was vomiting up the pills from nausea, washing them off and swallowing them again. Former quarterback Ray Lucas was taking pain pills at the rate of nearly 500 per month. A 2011 study found retired NFL players use painkillers four times more than the general population.
Statistics from the CDC show drug overdose death rates more than tripled from 1990 to 2008. Prescription painkillers were involved in nearly 15,000 overdose deaths every year. And it’s not just pills. Surely there are also players – active and retired – who are self-medicating with alcohol. There’s no need to list the risks in that.
–Eric Adelman, Yahoo Sports