The Giants celebrated their second National League West title in three years on Saturday night at AT&T Park without a certain eccentric right-hander.
According to Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com, Tim Lincecum was sent home early so that he could rest up for his scheduled Sunday start. Once the Giants clinched with an 8-4 victory over the Padres, manager Bruce Bochy called him back to join in on the fun and told Yusmeiro Petit that he’d be taking the bump in the series finale. But Timmy was unable to return to the stadium because of congestion on the streets of San Francisco.
Which, as Baggarly explains, is highly unfortunate:
Two years ago, Tim Lincecum was a holy terror to anyone with a hot microphone in a champagne-soaked clubhouse. He snuck enough four-letter words on the air to make the FCC blush.
But Saturday night, as the Giants celebrated another NL West title, Lincecum was nowhere to be found.
The 28-year-old has bounced back nicely from a dismal second half, boasting a 3.06 ERA and 79/34 K/BB ratio in 79 1/3 innings since the All-Star break. He’ll take his next turn in the rotation later this week.
According to STATS, INC., the average game in 2015 was 2 hours, 56 minutes. That’s six minutes faster than games in 2014.
The gains came in the first half, when games averaged 2:53. Second half games averaged three hours even. One can probably thank the expanded rosters in September for that, as games then see many more pitching changes. Of course, it’s likely that second half games were faster in 2015 than 2014 as well given the rules changes.
Those changes: agreement to enforce the rule requiring a hitter to keep at least one foot in the batter’s box and the installation of clocks timing pitching changes and between-inning breaks in ever ballpark.
It remains to be seen if MLB stays satisfied with that modest improvement or if chooses to go the way Triple-A and Double-A leagues did. They installed 20-second pitch clocks and started penalizing violators with balls and strikes. Triple-A’s two leagues, the International and Pacific Leagues, saw game-time decreases by 13 and 16 minutes, respectively.
I’m so old I remember when general managers used to run baseball operations departments. Now they’re basically assistants.
The latest example: the Oakland Athletics have promoted Billy Beane to vice president of baseball operations and have named David Forst general manager. Forst has been with the A’s for 16 years and has been Beane’s assistant for 12 years, so it’s not exactly a situation in which Forst will be making the final calls. The official move came today, though the move has been in the works for some time, it seems.
Someone with a lot of good front office access is going to write a good story this winter about the title inflation going on in Major League Baseball over the past year. And it’s gonna be great when one of his or her sources breaks the pattern of saying “well, baseball transactions are so much more complex these days . . . ” and admits “hey, if Theo gets a fancy title and La Russa gets a fancy title I WANT A FANCY TITLE TOO.”
Not that it’s much of a secret as it is.