Tim Lincecum has had a rough season. At least for him.
His fastball velocity is down, his mechanics are out of sorts, and he’s thinking a little bit too much, which is only hurting the ballclub.
But on Tuesday in Philadelphia he didn’t let his on-field issues affect his attitude, going to great lengths to interact with his fans. OK, so he simply stood on a trash can to get up close and personal to sign some autographs.
Perhaps this shouldn’t be such a big deal. It’s not like he was balancing on the edge of a cliff to deliver food to starving children. And we know that Lincecum is hardly a choir boy.
But still, in this modern era of sports, where professional athletes are insulated more than ever from the common folk, many of them coddled, spoiled, and raised from an early age with an unreal sense of entitlement, there is something kind of cool about a two-time Cy Young winner standing on a trash can to give some face time to a few admirers. He didn’t have to do it, and many athletes wouldn’t.
Rock on, Timmy.
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Cubs starter John Lackey stole the first base of his 15-year career on Wednesday against the Reds. Of course, he spent the first 11 and a half years of his career in the American League, where opportunities to bat, let alone attempt to steal a base, were rare. Lackey entered Wednesday having taken 250 plate appearances, reaching base just 31 times on 17 singles, seven doubles, and seven walks for a .134 on-base percentage. One can imagine the 38-year-old is not exactly the swiftest base runner.
Still, Lackey managed to swipe a bag in the fourth inning. He singled with two outs against Homer Bailey. Then, with an 0-1 count on Ben Zobrist, Lackey broke for second even before Bailey began his windup. Tucker Barnhart stood up to alert Bailey that Lackey was running, so Bailey wheeled around and threw to second base, but Lackey slid into the bag easily safe. It wasn’t a pretty slide, but it did the job.
Lackey, however, was picked off of second base by Barnhart later that inning. Bailey threw a 3-2 fastball wide of the strike zone, walking Zobrist. Lackey had wandered too far off of second base, so Barnhart threw behind Lackey and the tag was applied by Zack Cozart. Lackey was called safe initially. The play was reviewed and the ruling on the field was overturned, ending the fourth inning.
Base Ba’al giveth and Base Ba’al taketh away.
Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge hit another jaw-dropping home run, victimizing Mets starter Robert Gsellman in the top of the fourth game of Wednesday night’s game at Citi Field. Left fielder Yoenis Cespedes didn’t even move. The ball traveled 457 feet and was hit 117 MPH off the bat, according to Katie Sharp of River Ave Blues.
The home run moved Judge’s AL-best total to 37, putting him two ahead of the Royals’ Mike Moustakas. Along with the prodigious dinger total, he has 80 RBI, 90 runs scored, and a .291/.421/.616 triple-slash line in 499 plate appearances. Judge is on pace for 50 dingers. If it holds, that would give him the rookie record for home runs in a season. Mark McGwire currently holds the record, having hit 49 for the Athletics in 1987.