Dear old dad is understandably on edge with either a skipped start, a trip to the bullpen or a vacation in Triple-A Fresno being mentioned as possibilities if the two-time Cy Young winner doesn't fix his performance anytime soon. Lincecum will bring a 2-8 record with an alarming 6.19 ERA into Friday night's start against Oakland.
It's puzzling, though, why Chris Lincecum already feels so persecuted by — and antagonistic toward — the front office, fans and media in San Francisco.
Here's what pops had to say in the pages of USA Today :
"Here's a two-time Cy Young winner, a four-time All-Star, a World Series champion, and send him to the minors?" Chris Lincecum said, his voice rising. "You do that, and what you're basically telling the player is, 'We don't need you or respect you.' And this is the kid who helped bring a championship to the city of San Francisco for the first time in over 50 years?
"It's like people forget what he's done. It's like, 'What the (expletive) do I have to do. What more do you want? I gave you two Cy Youngs. I was a major contributor to the World Series. And you crucify me now?' " [...]
"You keep saying (expletive) like this, and he'll want to go away. This is the face of the franchise … and now that he's struggling, as all players do at some point, this is the (bleep) respect he gets? You're crucifying him.
"It's like the media is hoping he fails so they'll have something to write about. If they're trying to get him to leave that city, they're (bleeping) on their way."
From an admittedly outside viewpoint, I haven't sensed the same disrespectful tenor when it comes to Lincecum's struggles being discussed in the Giants universe. There have been many questions asked and many articles written about his bad start, sure, but that's only natural when you're talking about the first prolonged slump from a guy who won two Cy Youngs and a World Series in his first four seasons.
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There have also been some meatheaded fans calling for a trade but, again, that only comes with the territory. It's hard to believe that anyone on the San Francisco side of the bay is actively rooting against Lincecum getting it back on track (something that my esteemed colleague Brad Evans believes is just around the corner.) They're only searching for answers, just like father and son are doing.
With all the early success that Tim Lincecum experienced in his career, it's easy to forget that Chris Lincecum escaped any charges of being an overinvolved stage parent. His teaching methods with Tim's delivery quickly became legend and those early accolades meant that he wouldn't be viewed like Tony Rasmus or Marv Marinovich. He was guru instead of goon.
But maybe that reputation is in jeopardy as Chris is busy firing off a defense system at the first sign of trouble in his son's career. Taking the jump from concern to crucifixion is a big one and it seems like Chris Lincecum would be a lot better served pouring all of his energies into helping fix the delivery that placed the Lincecums on this stage in the first place.