There’s a divide between bloggers and we who actually cover sports between paying attention to numbers versus how a player actually looks on the field. Last year, Giants’ pitcher Tim Lincecum did not have his usual stellar numbers. He walked too many people. He gave up too many home runs. He won five games less than he lost. His appearance matched his numbers. He looked dejected and lost. He looked like he forgot how to win. One thing that didn’t change was Lincecum’s long locks. Lincecum has been dubbed The Freak, due to his unusual pitching delivery, but that title could have easily applied to his, let’s say lady-like hair.
Well, it appears as if the mane is gone.
I, for one, am glad. Whenever I saw Lincecum, I couldn’t help be reminded of the diamond heroes of my childhood; Mantle, Yaz, Drysdale. These men were poster boys for the way a ballplayer should look. They were the faces you imagined when you thought of the greatest players of the gentleman’s game. These were prototypical champions. They belonged on baseball cards and cigarette ads and cereal boxes.
Lincecum, with his hair falling out of the back of his hat, reaching his shoulders at times, looked more like a poster from a skateboarding magazine. Some players like to have their abilities do all the talking for them. Lincecum, blessed with great abilities at one time, let his slacker looks tell the fans all they needed to know. Here stands a pitcher who is more interested in looking good than playing well. Cal Ripken never had long hair. Neither did Jeter or Bench.
But now, much to the chagrin of the female fans (and probably some men, too – it IS San Francisco, after all) Lincecum has shorn his selfish moptop. Much like his probable favorite band, Metallica, he is going for a more clean demeanor. He looks more like Koufax than Gene Simmons. More Seaver than Tom Petty.
Perhaps this will help him get back to his true form. The hours spent fixing his do can now be spent throwing bullpen sessions or studying hitters. With athletes now-a-days more interested in their next tattoo or how much their jeans cost, it’s good to see a player go back to his roots (no pun intended).
We’ll know in a couple of weeks if Lincecum the Pitcher is back to his old self. But one thing is for sure. The new-look Lincecum is a sight for sore eyes. He may still be a boy of summer, but he looks like a man with a purpose.
(photo via Alex Pavlovic)