Tag Archives: San Francisco Giants

Where’s mom? New York Times Magazine tries to get to the heart of Tim Lincecum with no mention of his proud Filipino heritage from his mother’s side

The new New York Times Magazine article on Tim Lincecum was fine. And I’m glad to see no less than the French Huguenots mentioned in the comment section on line as an explanation for Lincecum’s fighting spirit.

But let’s not leave out the distaff side.

In fact, reporter Mahler’s story is typical of the Lincecum narrative seen in the mainstream media.

Lincecum’s mom, Rebecca, is always left out of the story.  She’s a full-blooded Filipino American, born in the Philippines,  surname Asis. It’s a fact that the ethnic media has long picked up on, making Tim arguably the best Asian American athlete in professional sports.

In this era of diversity, that’s no small feat.

Reportedly, Lincecum doesn’t like to talk about his mom because his parents divorced about 8 years ago.

But Lincecum does acknowledge his Filipino roots when the  Giants’ have their Filipino American nights.  Lincecum took  the first pitch from Manny Pacquiao two years ago before one of the heritage events.  Still, mainstream stories always neglect any mention of his bi-racial heritage.  Why leave out that fact?
What’s the relevance in the star’s story? It may help explain questions about his size and body type. But it may also provide insight on why he’s such a complex athlete/personality.

More than anything else, Lincecum is a tremendous source of pride for the Filipino American community, forever under-represented in American society.   Why should the French Huegonots be alone in their claim to Lincecum’s achievements?  the guy’s half-Filipino. And  there’s never been a Filipino American in sports, let alone baseball, like him. Certainily not since  Benny Agbayani had that great year for the Mets.

But now Tim has surpassed them all!  

http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/11/little-big-man/

An American fairy tale for a struggling country: San Francisco Giants, 2010 World Series Champs

 As a long-suffering fan and San Francisco native, I tried to replicate the team’s joy when the Giants won it all.  I jumped on the person next to me (fortunately, my wife) and then poured champagne (a bottle from BevMo’s .05 sale) on my head.  Wet? No worries. I had that thick orange towel they handed out at World Series Game 1 to soak it all up.

What a season. What a championship. 56 years it took? That’s just about my entire life.

So I’m still in a Giants semi-stupor, though it’s wearing off fast as I turn on the news and get a taste of reality.

Mid-terms, the stuff that counts, the direction of this country.  It’s all bad.

It’s the reason we need the Giants.

I voted last week so I didn’t have to think about real life too much today. I didn’t want a mid-term implosion to get in the way of my Giants’ euphoria.

I know I can’t stay in my Orange haze for too long, but the Giants’ story is just what this country needs. It’s a story of optimism, hope and belief. It’s a story of what happens when we all hope for the same thing and pull together.  In many ways, it’s a perfect fairy tale for a country struggling to stay afloat, socially, economically.

The Giants’ weren’t exactly royalty at the beginning of the year. They had some great young arms, but no supporting staff. No pop, no power. This team wasn’t suppose to play in October, nevermind November.

But there they were, a team put together with a recession budget. GM Brian Sabean was like a guy at the pick and pull, looking for parts to build a champion racer. He had a list and a credit card limit. He had already overpaid badly for Zito and Rowand in previous years. And even Renteria got too much.  So the Giants didn’t have the dough to build a Yankee-like coupe.  Instead, they put together a team that could race to the last day of the regular season and to Game 5 of the Series.  Castoffs? They were all grinders. Every piece was necessary and had a moment to shine at some point in the season.

But no real stars. Why that’s no good for baseball, as one commentator suggested.

The Giants and baseball may have a hard time competing with the violence of football. But they are reflective of a recession-age champion. It’s excellence built-on a budget. A team of hope. A team that the chardonnay sippers could love, along side the blue-collar bleacher bums. I sat with both during the playoffs. 

 First off, there is no team that has as diverse a fan base as the Giants. You look at the crowd and it’s not all of one type.  That’s how you know it’s San Francisco. I sat next to a young Latino teamster from the Mission, a Caucasian  female business owner from Potrero Hill married to an Asian, a white professional couple from the Peninsula.  A Korean immigrant and his born-here son from the East Bay. What kind of entertainment/team attracts that kind of mixed demos?

And after every victory, I must have hi-fived several hundred strangers after every home-run, run scored, or ultimate victory. No Purelle necessary. We were Giants family.

That kind of teamwork on the field, a sense of unity, is what was special about this team and their ballpark. Over 43,000 a night coming together over a victorious championship run is not as trivial as it seems on first blush. 

I admit I felt the same way in the  AT&T  stands as I did when I stood in 15 degree temperatures two years ago in the Washington Mall for the Obama Inaugural. There was a real sense of unity and hopefulness that I  hadn’t seen or felt  in a long time. There was no divisiveness, just talk of working together, of a brand new kind of politics. There were cheers, parades, speeches.

It wasn’t a game nor entertainment. It was for real. Where did it go? 

That’s why I want to hold on to my Giants’ feeling as long as I can. Because after today, I know the real world is not going to feel so great.

Giants lose, but I still don’t want to talk about anything else (Juan Williams? Did he play right field for NPR? Or left field for Fox?)

When I played baseball (semi-pee wee), I thanked God every time the ball was hit to someone else. Like my buddy Arnold Shaver.

So I know how difficult it is to spear a line drive and to pick up a short hop grounder.

At the professional level you just expect things to happen.  But last night they didn’t.

Balls took funny hops and caromed off bodies like Aubrey Huff’s.

Bases suddenly disappeared as when Pablo Sandoval turned to tag the bag and stepped on …dirt.

Bunts that are foul played fair.  (So much for the much ballyhooed Philly offense).

It was just a disastrous third inning for the Giants.  Tim Lincecum had just pitched to six batters in the first two innings and had struck out 2.  I admit to getting ahead of myself. I was beginning to think of a night of wild revelry.

And then things fell apart.

Despite that  one ining, it was just a one-run deficit for much of the game and the Giants had their chances to score.  But this is championship baseball. You’ve got to be picture perfect. And on this night, not even  photoshop could help.

The same things on defense happened on offense.

Hard hit balls that had found grass in previous games, were gloved. .

Runners who beat out throws, got tagged.

Batters that got wood when we needed,  didn’t.

That’s baseball. 

Next stop Philly. Avoid the overrated, hyper-fatty Cheesesteaks.  (It’s healthier just to get a box of crackers and a can of CheezWhiz . Your very own can).  The game is on Saturday.  Two shots to win it, two arms (Sanchez and Cain) to do it.

Do you still believe?

As far as Juan Williams, Fox and NPR, I don’t believe.

Best game ever at AT&T Park? It could be tonight with SF Giants’ Tim Lincecum vs. Phillies’ Roy Halladay

I was envious watching last night’s game on TV. It’s already being called a classic, with good pitching, clutch hitting, and Buster Posey.

It was an important game.

But it didn’t win anything. 

That’s why tonight’s game will have it all. Dueling aces, a Doc, a Freak, sudden elimination, imminent joy. The last out could crown a pennant chamipion.

Now the players have to perform up to expectations. Are the Phils so determined to fight to the death? Or did they get sapped after last night? Is the momentum so heavily weighted for the Giants that a comeback is impossible? 

Tonight’s game should be the classic.  But now they have to play it.

I’ve said Giants in 6. But I now feel Giants in 5 is more than possible.  

That said, who’s winning the midterms?  Are the witches winning? How about that illegal immigrant employer? What’s happening in Afghanistan? Is someone going to call for a moratorium on foreclosures? 

Is  there really anything going on outside the foul lines? Let it wait.

This is why baseball is so important to have.

The game is a safe haven from life. 

You go to the game and see 50,000 members of a real diverse community,a mirror of the Bay Area.  Some will be in various states of consciousness. But what would you expect  from such a sample size.

And if  the Giants win at home tonight, the place will explode with good will and joy,  the likes of which you just don’t see if the talk was about anything that really mattered. 

So we go to the game mostly because that kind of euphoria can and does happen. Live and in person. The great escape.  It’s a good obsession. I have to go.

It’s baseball as drug and I’ve got to have that feeling. I didn’t feel it it 2002. Or even 1989. 1962–that was it for me.

So I’m going tonight. I’ll  stand for every pitch in the cold and hope to feel that explosion to come when the last out is recorded, and everyone as brothers and sisters go crazy over this improbable bunch of underdogs, the Giants.

The dominance of Lincecum, the roar of the crowd, the power of baseball

As a young boy, my earliest and lasting memories as a SF Giants fan were the resounding cheers for the heroes of ’62:  Cepada, McCovey, and Mays—but especially Mays.  

He didn’t have to do anything but come to the plate and have his name announced and Candlestick Park would quake.  

I’ve never really experienced anything live at any baseball game that could ever come close to the roar Mays could inspire.

Maybe I just haven’t been to the right games in person.

 But yesterday I was. Game 1 NLDS, Braves and Giants, Tim Lincecum’s first post-season start.

That’s when I heard it again: AT&T Park reached and surpassed the mythic roar of my Candlestick.

Electric crowd?  It was practically nuclear.  When the focus is all on Lincecum, the wunderkind pitcher, it’s not just a sporadic burst of cheers every nine batters for a star like Mays.  It’s pitch by pitch throughout the entire game.  And just as in the days of old, before the baseball gods created the closer, Lincecum pitched the entire game (119 pitches).

Lincecum’s dominance really was quite deceptive. In retrospect, there’s no question that to the Braves, Lincecum was untouchable. But when you’re at the game, the electricity is like an unbroken circuit. You’re living and dying with every pitch, and totally in the moment. Dominance isn’t a reality until the last out is recorded.  And then you look back and realize the Freak has 14 strikeouts, and by golly, the Giants one run has held up.  

The 14 K’s were the most in franchise history since the ’62 Giants, when it was ace Jack Sanford who rung up 10 Yankees.

I was happy to hear the stat, mostly because it brought up the name of an oft forgotten Giant.

Sanford who passed away in 2000 at age 70, was another favorite of mine.  He won 16 consecutive games in 1962 to propel the Giants to the pennant that year.  Normally, Juan Marichal’s name comes up when people remember the arms of ’62.  But to me Sanford was the guy that year, his only really stellar year.

As the Giants surged to win the NL West on the last day of the season, there was lots of talk about 62. But few, if any, ever mentioned Sanford, until Lincecum took the mound tonight.

This was just  Lincecum’s first outing, a harbinger of more greatness to come, as if two Cy Young awards in his first two full years didn’t already indicate that.   Lincecum had a rough August, but his return to form in September continues into  October.

He’s got his Filipino side in him working again.

Next for the Giants comes Matt Cain, then Jonathan Sanchez. And Madison Bumgarner.   And Lincecum again.  And when they tire, Brian Wilson and the bearded and unbearded pen lay in waiting.

With those arms maybe all you do  need is a couple of hits, a walk, and a run scored on a double play.  (The Giants have 159 or so of those this year).

I’m almost as old as the number on Timmy’s back. But I haven’t felt this way about baseball since I was a kid.  

On Thursday, I saw it, and heard it. I’m going back for more.

No-hitter by Sanchez “unlikely”? Not when you’re given a chance to shine

Here’s a lesson we can all take away from the magnificent no-hitter thrown last night by the Giant’s Jonathan Sanchez.

The baseball was great last night. Near perfect. But the non-baseball lesson was even better.

Give people  with  talent a real opportunity, don’t give up on them, and eventually they will rise to their talent level.

In social terms, some people would call that a form of  “affirmative action. ”  It’s just about giving people who would ordinarily be ignored  a chance to fulfill their maximum potential.

Before last night, the Giants almost gave up on Sanchez. Fans were calling for his head.  The club needed a hitter and had a surplus of young arms. But apparently no GM was willing to trade for  Sanchez or give him a chance.

The lefty was unceremoniously sent to baseball’s woodshed and demoted to the bullpen.

By every statistical standard, the Giants should have dumped Sanchez, a massive underachiever.  If there was a less anal, bean-crunching GM in the league, Sanchez surely  would have been dealt off before Friday night.

But circumstances like Randy Johnson going to the disabled list, left Sanchez as the Giants’ only option for a Friday start. They had to believe.

It was the opportunity a real gamer relishes. Sanchez, who has shown real glimpses of greatness inthe past, perhaps every third inning he pitched, was set up to prove himself.

It was the opportunity everyone with a strong belief in their talent relishes.

All you need is the chance. Or someone to give you one.  After the game, Sanchez mentioned how he put some extra time in with  Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti.  Rags certainly didn’t give up on Sanchez.

Last night, Sanchez emerged as a different pitcher. The hook and sink on all his pitches seemed to be guided to their spots perfectly. And the Padre hitters seemed totally mystified.

The game had its dramatic moments and disappointments. The Uribe error, the Rowand catch.  All that and the Giants were hitting!   The baseball part was great last night.

But the non-baseball parts were even better.  Sanchez’ father was in the stands watching for the first time. And for the first time, it all came together for Sanchez.

When people with promise are given a chance to shine, they can and will.

The Giants extended Sanchez another chance, and he affirmed their belief and his own talent by throwing a gem, the first no-hitter in the majors this year.

It was nine innings for all of the Jonathan Sanchez’s in life, the ones often described as “unlikely.”

Imagine the  amount of potential unfulfilled because people have been deemed “unlikely” all their lives.

You are only “unlikely” if you’re never given an opportunity.

But with a chance, you can surprise and amaze.

Surprising. Amazing.

That’s exactly what the Giants’  Jonathan Sanchez was at AT&T Park.