A Giant Tiny Tim

Last season I was adamantly opposed to the idea that San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum was the National League Cy Young award winner. I don’t have anything against Mr. Lincecum per se other than the fact that he is a San Francisco Giant but then I hold that against most every player on that team. The problem I had was the fact that the voters have no consistency when it comes to these awards. One year they will say that the winner was chosen because of wins which I believe is probably one of the worst statistics in the world for pitchers. The next year the criteria will be opponent’s batting average, strike-outs, or WHIP (walks plus hits divided by innings pitched). The lack of consistency is maddening. Baseball is foundationally based on consistency. It is what makes the game so great. When things are consistently measured it makes it possible to create comparisons between players and between generations. Without it, it makes it impossible to objectively compare.

This argument is not applicable to just the Cy Young. The same could be said for other categories such as most valuable player, gold glove, or Silver Slugger. It could also be argued that it is applicable to Hall of Fame voting as well. When you stop to think about it, things get messed up whenever we let the baseball writers get involved, hmm I may have just answered my own question as to why this stuff is broken.

When the season began Tim Lincecum struggled in his first start. My first reaction was that justice was being served and the baseball gods were exacting their punishment for the errors in voting last year. But then if that is the case I would have to make the same argument that was why Brandon Webb had developed arm troubles and I just couldn’t go there.

A more realistic reason for the early struggles was that Tim Lincecum was in new and uncharted territory. He has spent the past several months on the interview circuit being interviewed by endless media outfits that tried to dissect him as a player and a person. After a while that has to take its toll on you and it is just taking Tim a little longer to get back into his comfortable groove.

His previous two starts have come against the Diamondbacks. With the struggles of the Arizona hitters that can be a huge confidence lift mowing down hitters like a weed whacker in a butter factory. The young Diamondbacks hitters have made a name for themselves as strikeout artists which is just what the doctor ordered for Tim Lincecum.

I watched this game unfold and Lincecum quietly gained confidence and success with each inning. Early in the game the Diamondbacks got to him and they had several chances to break through and win. Then one by one runners were left on base and the strikeouts started to pile up. In the end the Giants won the game and their ace had the swagger one would expect from a Cy Young award winner. If Tim happens to win the Cy Young again this season he should be sure to send a thank-you card to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Without them boosting his stats he never would have made it.

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