Tim Lincecum's(notes) life has been a whirlwind, kind of like his trademark delivery, since he arrived in the majors two years ago. He won the Cy Young Award in his second season and, it was just announced, he's starting for the NL in Tuesday's All-Star Game. It's almost been a fairy tale or — to put it in modern terms — a cartoon for Lincecum, who not only rules reality but also its virtual counterpart. On the Giants' recent swing through St. Louis, Lincecum chatted with Answer Man and testified as to what it's like living such an animated existence.
David Brown: Referring to the commercial where you mentor your video game self ... What has Virtual Tim taught you about life?
Tim Lincecum: Heh. That the unbelievable can happen, that you can be a part of something you never thought you could be a part of. The right amount of doors appear and you put up the right amount of hands to open them, and you can be in a spot where you're very thankful for what you've got.
DB: What's the song in the car you switch off?
TL: I don't even know it.
DB: You've been asked that?
TL: Oh, yeah [laughs].
("Dance Hall Days" by Wang Chung, "The Everyone Have Fun Tonight" guys.)
TL: No, I didn't. It was like this Spandex suit that has Velcro all over it. They had all kinds of different sizes — they had one that Shaq wore. That one was pretty big [laughs].
DB: Reading about a recent pregame meal of yours — from a start against the A's — it was a Choco Taco. Why not a Drumstick?
TL: Choco Taco was, like, my all-time favorite from growing up, summertime in Seattle when they had ice cream trucks going up and down the streets. The Choco Taco was always my first pick.
DB: If the ice cream man didn't have the Taco?
TL: I'm a big fan of the Push-Ups, but ... I don't remember what it's called, but it's red, white and blue and shaped like a rocket?
DB: The Bomb Pop?
DB: How important is the right ice cream to your success?
TL: Umm [laughs]. I'm actually a mint chocolate chip guy, but those are really hard to find in Choco Tacos. I think any ice cream is pretty good, so ...
DB: Do you ever scrape your knuckles on the ground during a follow-through on a pitch?
TL: No. I don't follow through quite that far.
DB: But that's a true story about your dad putting the cash on the ground and you picking it up as part of the drill?
TL: Yeah, that's what I used to practice doing. It was just over-exaggerating it to get my mind to practice doing the right thing.
DB: Can you identify at all with Timmy from "South Park"?
TL: Yeah, definitely [laughs]. You've got [coach] Tim Flannery on the team too and every time I see him, every day, first thing he says is, "Timmeh! [gibberish] Timmeh!" We kind of just yell that back at each other. Ever since [the character] became popular, I definitely haven't heard the last of that.
DB: Regarding your youthful looks — As your fame has grown, have you been mistaken less and less for someone trying to impersonate a baseball player?
TL: Yeah, yeah. More and more. You start to see the same people coming in and out of the stadiums. People start to recognize you more than not. Especially in the NL West. You play those teams all the time. Yeah, I haven't run into as many ... how should I put it?
TL: Yeah, not as many doubters as before.
DB: Before you were of age, did you not even bother with a fake ID because nobody would believe it anyway?
TL: There was no point in having a fake ID if I didn't have a [driver's] license. I wasn't even close to having a license until I was 18. When I got that, that was Step One for me.
DB: How come you didn't learn to drive when you were 16?
TL: Mmm, my parents just wanted to wait until I was a senior [in high school].
DB: When was your most recent haircut?
DB: When it gets this long, does it seem like two Decembers ago?
TL: No, not really. I've had the long hair the last couple of years. It's not, like, growing tremendously fast.
DB: What would you say if a retailer stepped forward to ask you to start your own line of "Timmy" stocking caps?
TL: I think I'd be down for that. But that time hasn't come yet. Call my agent [laughs].
DB: Did you secretly bury something in the Busch Stadium pitcher's mound last night just to see if it's still there in two weeks when you come back for the All-Star Game?
TL: No [laughs]. I didn't want to presume anything. It would be nice, though, to step on the field and be at the actual All-Star Game this year. Everything that happened to me last year was great, but I'd like to take a step up this year and maybe get in the game.
DB: If you were a pharaoh and I entombed you, what personal objects would you want buried with you to take to the afterlife?
TL: I'd have to take my Xbox 360, some Dinty Moore canned stew and ... I don't even know.
DB: Glove and ball?
TL: Maybe. Maybe a cap.
DB: A skull cap! ... Are you any closer to purchasing that Henry Rosinbagger jersey, the one the kid from "Rookie of the Year" wore?
TL: No. I'd still like to have one and it would be funny for the sake of the movie, but to wear a Cubs jersey? No. I'd have to change the Cubs logo to San Francisco.
DB: If you woke up tomorrow trapped in a TV show for the rest of your life, who would you be?
TL: Someone from "Family Guy." I'd like to be my own character, though. Not someone who was already on the show, but a new guy.
DB: Yourself? A character with your traits?
TL: Yeah, if they could make that happen, it would be great.
DB: Is Lou Seal a boy or a girl?
TL: I don't know. If I had to guess, a boy.
DB: Shouldn't every major league city have a Space Needle like you do in your hometown?
TL: No, because it just makes Seattle ... and I think up in Toronto they have such a Needle (the CN Tower) but it makes it unique to those places. There's not a lot of them and, kind of like how the Arch is to St. Louis, the Space Needle is to us.
DB: Why do you wear No. 55?
TL: It was given to me.
DB: Your dad has been so instrumental in the development of your delivery. Not as helpful on the batting swing?
TL: No, my dad helped me with my batting swing too. I just don't see enough pitches. I took a number of years off — I didn't get to hit in college — so, for getting caught up in at-bats compared to everyone else, I think I'm doing OK.
DB: Your father has been quoted as saying you have the best fastball since Bob Gibson and Bob Feller and the best breaking pitch since Sandy Koufax. It must have been tough, huh, growing up without any positive reinforcement?
TL: Ha! At the same time, my dad is obviously biased — I am his son — so you've got to take that into consideration. But who doesn't want to believe their kid is amazing? I'm going to be hoping the same thing for my kid when I get older. What better feeling can parents have than when they brag about their own kids?
DB: You were singing "Come Fly with Me" a little bit in the clubhouse before. You seemed to be stuck on the chorus. Does that happen to you, where you get a song stuck in your head and you have to sing it out?
TL: Yeah. I was only singing it because it was playing earlier. I blurt out things, you know? It's almost like I don't even know I'm doing it. It's kind of involuntary.
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