By Morris Phillips
Tim Lincecum wanted to end his 2013 season—and possibly his career with the Giants—in style. Fans of the Giants and Dodgers—weary of senseless violence– wanted peace. And apparently, Brian Wilson wants his World Series ring after all.
To say Thursday night was a busy one on the shores of McCovey Covey would be an under statement.
Lincecum arrived in San Francisco in 2007- the final year of Barry Bonds as a Giant—and went on to win two Cy Young awards, two World titles and throw a no-hitter. Now 29 and not nearly the pitcher and player he was a few years back, Lincecum enters the off-season as a free agent. But if Thursday was his final act as a Giant, LIncecum made sure he leaves a winner, as the Giants squeezed past the Dodgers, 3-2.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen, but I was very happy with what he did tonight,” manager Bruce Bochy said of Lincecum.
While both sides have said all the conciliatory things, Lincecum may not be back. The Giants will have bigger off-season priorities then resigning the Freak, and Lincecum will command offers to be a starter for other teams even as his skill set has eroded prior to him turning 30. Given that, the fans in attendance brought signs and cheers of encouragement while Lincecum departed after seven innings pitched by giving the crowd a polite bow.
“That ovation was pretty special and I’ve always had an awkward way of acknowledging that,” Lincecum said. “But I do have an appreciation and respect for the way they’ve received me.”
Lincecum cooled the Dodgers’ lineup during his stint, allowing single runs in the first and fourth inning and leaving with the game tied after the Giants rallied for a pair of runs in the fifth. Angel Pagan’s drive to left in the eighth inning just barely cleared the wall and marked the difference in a hard fought game between the California rivals.
Prior to the evening’s first pitch the crowd stood in a moment of silence for Jonathan Denver, who attended Wednesday’s game and was stabbed to death after the game in a confrontation between Giants and Dodgers’ supporters near the ballpark after the game’s conclusion.
Arrests have already been made in connection to Denver’s death, but the violence between fans of both clubs again marred the rivalry as it did when Bryan Stow was severely injured outside Dodgers Stadium in 2011. The moment of silence on Thursday was an eery reminder of that incident and also an indication that much work is to be done to move beyond the violence.
After the game’s final pitch, former Giant Brian Wilson ran across the field and confronted Giants CEO Larry Baer apparently over the delivery of his World Series ring from 2012. According to the Giants, they had approached Wilson a couple of times to arrange and schedule the gift of his ring but were rebuffed both times. In the bizarre confrontation, Wilson was seen to be yelling while Baer stood befuddled.
The awkward solution? Wilson’s ring was delivered to the Dodgers’ clubhouse soon after the confrontation without any fanfare.