Posted by: furmanbisher | July 24, 2009

Musings on Size vs Stature

Well, tonight I get to watch (Tiny) Tim Lincecum pitch. The Giants are in Atlanta, and on a losing streak. Braves bats have suddenly come to life, especially those of Yunel Escobar and Martin Prado. Not to mention that Brian McCann has become the big bat among major league catchers.

Now, this Lincecum pitcher fellow is a sight to watch, what little there is of him. I’ll get a closer fix on that tonight. The Giants press guide says he’s five feet, 11 inches tall. Guys who are five-feet-eight, and have stood beside him, insist he is no taller than they are. Most of us always like to say we’re taller than they actually are, and they’ll find, as they age, that they’re not as tall as they used to be. We do know, for sure, that Tiny Tim weighs right at 168 pounds.

This Lincecum doesn’t make his living by his measurements. He’s a pitcher with a style of his own, and I’m all a-twitter to see how he gets it done. You can’t really judge pitchers by their size. There have been some mighty tough undersized pitchers. Remember Bobby Shantz, about the size your average batboy. And Elroy Face was just about tall enough to see over a bar. And I could go on, and may, but right now it’s about time to leave for Turner Field. I’ll check in with you after I’ve had an evening watching Tim Lincecum at work.

The next day:

Well, I got my fill of pitching, but it didn’t come from Tim Lincecum, who isn’t quite as “tiny” as suspected. He’s about 5-10, weighs no more than 165, a sort of scrawny kind of body with enough hair to stuff a mattress. They call him “The Freak,” not just for his unusual body and features, but because he is rather unorthodox as pitchers go. He toes the rubber on the first base end, comes to a straight-up stance and fires. And when he comes out of the dugout, he runs to the mound.

He didn’t have a really disastrous night. He threw one critical pitch that Yunel Escobar struck over the centerfield fence with a lashing swing for a three-run homer in the third inning. End of contest. That’s where the other pitcher comes in. Jair Jurrjens pitched the game of his Braves career. He looked Lincecum eyeball to eyeball and never blinked. In seven innings the Giants touched him for only two hits, and in one stretch he retired 17 in a row.

Lincecum was gone after five innings. Jurrjens finally took leave in the eighth, on a night when I was certain Bobby Cox would have let him go the distance. He was charged with one run, the other to Rafael Soriano in the 9th of the 4-2 game.

But keep this in mind: this time the Braves beat the pitcher who started the All-Star Game. They beat the pitcher who won the Cy Young Award his first full season in the major leagues, and a pitcher who had never lost to them. So the night was a gala for the 34,000 who showed up, and sang “Take Me Out To the Ball Game” with unusual gusto. And, even started up a couple of “waves.”  Wow!


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