In 2009, I was living in Cleveland, Ohio. I was in the second year of my baseball infatuation, but I didn’t have a favorite team. I went to a lot of Cleveland Indians games because they were convenient, but the team wasn’t doing well, and I didn’t feel a real connection to them. I’m originally from Milwaukee, but I haven’t lived there since I was a teenager and the Brewers weren’t exactly lighting the world on fire. Basically, I was a baseball omnivore — I would watch whatever game was on.
Then, one day, while I was out at a bar with friends, the game that was on included the San Francisco Giants and their wunderkind right-hander Tim Lincecum.
I was smitten.
I know all of the stereotypes about women liking baseball because of attractive men, and I am not above appreciating a hot guy in a baseball uniform, but my adoration of Tim Lincecum has nothing to do with his physical appearance. He’s on the shorter side, and had long hair at the time, and his teeth were jacked up for a while. He’s not my type.
No, my intense love for Tim Lincecum(1) is because I love to watch him pitch. I love his long stride and the hard tilt of his shoulders and the little rocking step he stakes when he’s pitching out of the windup (but not the stretch). His motion fascinates me.
Because of this fascination, I started keeping track of when he was pitching and trying to catch his games. And this was the heyday of Tim Lincecum, who had won the Cy Young in 2008 and was about to win it again in 2009, so he was everywhere, and I saw a fair number of his games. As a result, I saw more Giants games, and started remembering the other players.
Then I discovered that my At Bat baseball app had the radio broadcasts for free, so I started listening to Giants radio broadcasts. They have an excellent radio team helmed by Jon Miller (second only to Vin Scully in game calling skill in my opinion) and I started following all their games, learning the names of the players and waiting for the next episode in the story of the season, like the Giants were a soap opera.(2)
They didn’t do that well that season, but I really liked listening to their games, so when the 2010 baseball season rolled around, I ponied up for MLBtv so I could start watching their games and see Tim Lincecum in action. And that year was the first time they won the World Series since they became the San Francisco Giants. I knew right then that I had found my team. I knew the way you know about a good melon.(3)
And that’s how I became a San Francisco Giants fan. Tim Lincecum.
1. a love that continues to this day, incidentally, even though he last played for the Los Angeles Angels and has hip problems that may mean his career is over.
2. I’m not the first person to say this, but sports are really soap operas. Especially baseball, when a new episode airs almost every day of the season.
3. Points if you get the reference.