From Brian “the Beard” Wilson to Pablo “Kung Fu Panda” Sandoval, last year’s San Francisco Giants were the most ragtag gang of misfits ever to take home the title. And no player better personified the team’s quirks—or was more embraced by the hometown fans—than their pint-size, shaggy-haired two-time Cy Young–winning ace, TIM LINCECUM. Has there ever been a sports star more perfectly suited to his city than the Freak, who bounced back from an arrest for weed to lead the team to the title? No freakin’ way.
How does winning a ring compare to winning the Cy Young award?
It’s kind of like a Cy Young for the whole team, you know? Obviously there are more people involved, from teammates to the community of San Francisco. Everyone was just so elated and excited, and I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that we were doubted so much. It kind of took the pressure off and made us feel like all we had to do was play good baseball, have fun and enjoy being there.
It seems like a really fun group of guys.
Yeah, there was no real pressure, everybody was allowed to be themselves, and that made for great chemistry. Everybody was pulling for everybody, even more than they were pulling for themselves. I can’t say enough about this team. It’s just so much fun to play with these guys.
In the post-season you had to go head to head with guys like Ray Halladay and Cliff Lee, and came out on top. What do you think of them being on the same team? Scared?
That’s the worst word to use. If you’re in this game because of fear, that’s a problem. Right now we’re the team with the target on its back, so they have to see if they can hang with us.
People are talking about the Phillies having one of the best rotations ever, but your staff could be even better. You’re younger, you have a better bullpen. Do you think you’re the best?
I’d say so, especially considering what we did in the postseason last year. Part of that is because we can be loose – if we go down a run our butthole isn’t gonna get tight and we’re not going to worry about it. We’re just going to pitch our game. With the guys we have here, we’re capable of anything.
You went through a terrible stretch in August last year. Did you think you were going to get your stuff back?
It was an emotional rollercoaster for me, cuz I’d never been through anything like that in my life, at any level. So I went back to the drawing board to try and change things up. And you can see the stuff I tried: changing my wind-up, wearing my pant legs up, or my stirrups down. Obviously we’re superstitious, and you can’t help but think: ‘Is there one thing that’s going to make a difference?’
Well, the city of San Francisco has obviously embraced you through thick and thin.
It definitely helps to know you have that kind of support from the fan base. You know, after I did what I did last off-season – getting caught with that shit – the fans still accepted me. And it’s nice to be accepted for my flaws as well as my accomplishments. We really have an unbelievable connection with our fans. I mean when we went through that victory parade, there were Panda hats up the ying yang, and “Fear the Beard” shirts everywhere. It was unreal the emotion that was flowing through those street.
You guys obviously have more of a spotlight on you now, especially with Showtime series, “The Franchise: A Season With the San Francisco Giants,” coming in July.
That should be fun. It’s a documentary that’s going to focus on us as individuals, and how we’re feeling on any given day, and give some insight into our lives as defending champions. I’m hoping it’s not going to be a distraction, but I doubt it will. I think it’s gonna be cool. It ain’t gonna be the Kardashians of baseball, I can tell you that.
Come on, you’re a bona fide celebrity now! After the series last fall, the New York Times Style section said you were better than any male model.
(Laughs) I don’t remember reading that! I’ve read some pretty mixed reviews about my style. I mean, people are always making fun of me for my ponytail, and my Fu Manchu, or whatever you call this wannabe thing I have on my face right now. So I don’t know about being a fashion icon. I just wanna win.
Keep up with Tim Lincecum on his Facebook page.