Tim Lincecum, a man of the people

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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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Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.