Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

Lunch w/ Tim


Had lunch today in Manhattan with an interesting dude—Tim Lincecum.

Met up with him for a magazine piece. Never spoke with the guy before; actually knew little about him, not having covered the game in several years. Sat down at a restaurant in Manhattan—me, Tim, his girlfriend, his dad, his agent and someone else.

To be honest, toward the end of my baseball writing days at SI I came to dread these sorts of things. The cliches. The blahs. The lack of any sort of radar outside of the game. But I found myself really liking Tim. He has a good head on his shoulders for someone in his mid-20s; doesn’t seem overly consumed with his own fame or, for that matter, overly impressed with it. At the end of our hour together, I actually said to him, “I covered baseball for several years, and it’s refreshing to meet someone like you.” I don’t know why I uttered the words, because I can’t image he cares what some washed-up baseball scribe has to say. But it’s true—I’ve seen a ton of ballplayers start out one way and, gradually, morph into different people. Hell, it’s hard to blame them—the money, the celebrity, the fans, the women, the awards. I always found Barry Zito to be the most blatant case. When I first met Barry, he was just wonderful. Unassuming … casual … indifferent to attention. We ate fish tacos at Manhattan Beach, and I thought, “If every ballplayer were just like this …”

Then something snapped. Not sure why. Maybe the big contract. Maybe the struggles. But he’s not the same guy. Perhaps that’s just life—I’m probably not the same guy I was at 25, either. But I hope I still hold onto the decency and wonderment and empathy from past decades; the stuff my folks taught me.

I hope Lincecum does, too. Because he’s a person worth rooting for.