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Tim Lincecum: The Freak Show

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As one of baseball’s most dominant pitchers, Tim Lincecum is becoming one of its most marketable stars. The Freak speaks on expectation and taking it to the next level.

Yes, there’s the hair - luxuriant, Lennon-length hair, a grunge-bassist’s hair, the trait marketers and pundits seize on to flout his unconventionality.

He’s the über-chilled West Coast bro, an ace hurler and “High Times” icon in equal parts. The favorite player of a legion of delirious, rabid fans, they regularly don hats and wigs to watch him, and see the essence of their city distilled in his slim frame and composed cool on the mound. Now, of course, he’s also a World Series champ, a cover star, and a fiercely protected promotional figure of Major League Baseball (MLB).

But Tim Lincecum’s eyes reveal more. Wide and alert, they can be both expressive and cold. They lock in on you when he’s animated, talking about the latest music he’s bingeing on or about FIFA on the Xbox, then narrow into slits when he’s on the mound, or when the endless media demands become bothersome and exhausting.

There are a good many more of those these days. No longer simply the quirky talent on an underperforming West Coast team, the 26-year-old is a World Series-winning pitcher, and one of the most marketable names in the big leagues. His jersey is in the top-ten list of national best-sellers; his name is the one the national media ask for when they want interviews; and his personality is one of the stars of the behind-the-scenes Giants documentary, airing since April 13 on Showtime.

“Any publicity is good publicity,” says Lincecum, his slightly tired voice suggesting it’s a cliché that his group of handlers have yet to convince him of.

“But at the same time, there’s no more of a target on my back than has already been there. I have to just keep living up to expectations, whether it’s my own, my coaches’, or my teammates’… the people that make it, they keep pushing themselves. They’re never complacent -and that’s where I want to be.”

For the full story pick up the June Red Bulletin Magazine.

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