Home > Uncategorized > ‘The Franchise’ Episode 6: The Light Shines On Tim Lincecum — And He Probably Hates It

‘The Franchise’ Episode 6: The Light Shines On Tim Lincecum — And He Probably Hates It

I’ve wondered why this show hasn’t given us more information into the life of Tim Lincecum. He’s one of the Giants’ best players, one of the best starting pitchers in the game. He’s always struck me as a cool, interesting cat. You know, with a devil-may-care approach. He has the physical stature of a 12-year-old boy but has been overwhelming MLB hitters for five seasons.

Yet, we’ve barely gotten a glimpse of him on camera. In the entirety of what we’ve been shown through five episodes, I think Lincecum has said maybe two or three sentences. And in episode six, the lack of attention made sense. Lincecum wants none of it.

The first five or six minutes of the episode are all about Lincecum and how it is to be him. We follow him as he signs jerseys and balls for rabid hordes of fans. He makes it through one crowd and gives an audible “whew.” Because really, Lincecum finds all of the attention, in his words, “overwhelming.”

“Whether it’s media or fans or just friends you haven’t talked to in 10 years, it just becomes I wouldn’t say a pain in the ass — it’s just something close to that. So I’ve always been one to kind of shy away from it.”

And right after that quote, there’s the scene from the White House when President Obama singled out Lincecum during his speech to the team when it visited last month. When Obama turned to find Lincecum among the players, he appropriately tried to duck out of view.

It’s almost painful to listen to him speak about being in the public eye. He has the talent, the uniqueness and the fans to take over San Francisco, but he just wants to chill at home, playing some video games. While I’m sure many who’ve covered him since 2007 know this all too well now, I was really surprised to learn just how private Lincecum is outside of the clubhouse. He probably hates what Showtime is doing with the team for the summer.

And I think it makes for an interesting personality study. You have two baseball players in their late 20s on the same team who like hanging out together and are two of the best in the sport at their respective job. But with Lincecum and Brian Wilson, you have people who are on completely opposite ends of the social spectrum. That kind of contrast just makes for an interesting thought.

  • The rest of the episode is dominated by — whom else? — Wilson. However, it’s not him as a joker, but with a personal story to tell.

Michael Wilson taught his son, Brian, everything he knows about baseball. And as a 22-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, he taught it to him the only way he knew. For example, when Brian was a kid, Michael would hit hard grounders to him with an aluminum bat, screaming at him to stay in front of the ball.

“At one point, it’s no longer fun. It’s you better do well. And you better not cry about it either,” Brian says in the episode.

But when Brian was 12, his father was diagnosed with cancer. Brian went years without seeing Michael while he was sick and said he got into a lot of trouble as an adolescent. Although Michael thought he was in remission when Brian was 16, the medicine that he had been taking to cure his cancer had actually caused a brain tumor. So his father sat him down and, according to Brian, this is what Michael said to his 17-year-old son:

“I’m not going to watch you graduate. I’m not going to know whether or not you’re going to be successful. But just understand that I did everything I could. I fought to my best ability, but I’m OK with dying.”

(Damn, I don’t know how all this dust gets in here)

Michael died before Brian turned 18. Brian said he never saw his father cry once and that he used humor to describe the pain he was going through. I think those were an interesting couple of lines because it pretty much tells us how Brian learned how humor can be used in even the most awkward situations.

The story closes with a shot of Wilson recording the last out of the 2010 World Series, then turning around to salute his father. The shot comes from far up above as if we — or someone — is watching Wilson reach the pinnacle of the baseball world. It was a little cheesy depending upon your beliefs, but it does give you some chills.

  • More Wilson footage … we get a taste of his intense workout routine. But the dude is seriously jacked, so good on him. He unleashes another classic line: “I’m gonna squat until my fucking legs break.”

And there’s a scene with him walking down a hallway carrying what appears to be a 65-pound free weight in each hand. He nearly drops to a knee after each stride. Meanwhile, walking in the opposite direction with what appears to be a 20-ounce soda in his hand, Pablo Sandoval passes Wilson and proceeds to give a “you gotta be shitting me” look behind him as Wilson continues to grind out each step with supreme focus.

  • Third-base coach Tim Flannery sings the “The Star Spangled Banner” with members of the Grateful Dead before a Aug. 9 game in San Francisco. Was Bill Walton there? Well, of course Bill Walton was there, stupid. And Flannery’s rendition of the anthem was pretty good. Flannery, who is quite an accomplished musician, asks Wilson for some words of advice before he sings. “You can’t fuck it up, you’re Irish,” Wilson said.

As a Murphy, I gotta say that’s damn right!

“You’re supposed to be the last guy standing. Well, I wasn’t the last guy standing, so I was pissed off about it. So I took 30 seconds to allow myself to completely lose it, snap a little bit. Smashed a water cooler. No big deal. It’s made of plastic. It’s fine.”

  • While Lincecum tries to shut down the Phillies on Aug. 7, we are privy to some of the discussion between him and catcher Chris Stewart on the mound and in the dugout. It wasn’t much, but you don’t get to hear pitchers and catchers chat about pitch selection and what they want with the next batter while the game is ongoing. I love that stuff.

I think this was the best episode in the series thus far. There was so much emotion and great insight into who some of these players are outside of the lines. That’s what this show has been lacking for the past couple of weeks, but episode 6 was a major success.

Next week, we check in on Buster Posey as he struggles with a season-ending ankle injury. And it looks like another father-son story will be told, one shared between Barry and Joe Zito. Joe, who was battling a heart condition during the Giants’ playoff run last fall, says he was dead for eight minutes before doctors were able to bring him back. He still looks terribly weak, and it’s easy to wonder how much his father’s health has weighed Barry’s mind during this rough season for him.

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