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In Praise of Timmy Lin

Not beholden to the afterwards
Vic Chesnutt “Tarragon”

Had a strange, good day on Tuesday that ended early in the evening with my legs giving out from under me. Well, not my legs exactly, but close enough. Before that there had been good company, Charlie Kaufman not allowing film to go gentle into that good night, and machine-mixed semi-poison from an old piano showroom. I dusted myself off and left, not wanting to be identified and needing no further confirmation that this was the final act for the day and perhaps part of a larger closing scene. But I’m not even sure on that count and am becoming increasingly OK with this too.

I got home in one physical piece and opened a chain Buddhist email from an old acquaintence with a mantra from the Dalai Lama containing eighteen thoughts of wisdom and instructions to forward to fifteen people in order for my life to “improve drastically.” Number seventeen was remember the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other. I’m fairly certain that I read the same while leafing through the third chapter of Dr. Phil’s new book in Borders the other night. I couldn’t even think of the minimum four people to forward it to ( “your life will improve somewhat” ) who wouldn’t disown me indefinitely. Then I noticed the small picture of Tim Lincecum in another window and the caption “Giant Wins Cy Young.”

Never mind that Lincecum struck out 265 batters and had an ERA of 2.62. Watching him on ESPN in the press conference was reason alone to give him the honor. There’s something eternally appealing about a five-foot-ten, hundred and sixty pound, dopey looking twenty-four year old kid with a gummy smile and ninety-five mile an hour fastball who keeps using the word “awesome” to sum up his response to winning pitching’s greatest award. Lincecum’s boyishly appealing goofiness belies a fiercely competitive nature, but he also possesses a natural playfulness that communicates an appreciation for what he’s been blessed with.

Baseball, as we all know, is about coming home. Somewhat ironically, we’re all there already before we take our hacks and attempt to make it around the bases. Why would we ever leave in the first place, given the common knowledge that most of what’s out there is fraught with the danger of unknown, potent concoctions and faulty, unstable legs? Those far wiser than I have attempted and failed to answer that one, and as I look back on the last five years I’m not even certain that I could accurately dissect a single inning. But as true as this may be, along the way there are also Tim Lincecums with their natural ease, devastating skills, and inherent joy for the game. I’d like to think of it as a reminder that we’ve all got to take our swings.

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  1. Who Asked Me? › Ballad Of A Thin, Right-Handed Pitcher on Friday, November 20, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    […] time last year when he won?” I remember what I was doing at this time last year, and I even wrote about it. The day ended with the legs of the stool I was sitting on failing inexplicably. Yesterday’s […]

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