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When you first look at Tim Lincecum, the immediate thought is not that you're gazing at one of the most dominating right-handed pitchers on the planet. His thin, wiry frame doesn't look like it can generate the necessary power to win the 2008 National League Cy Young Award, nor the durability to make him a contender for another one when baseball hands out its hardward in November. So, how does he do it?
The cover story is that his father devised an optimal windup and delivery that maximizes everything in Lincecum's body to make him a lethal pitching weapon. That's a lot of science, though, and some of us just don't buy that science could fully explain the success of Lincecum. We need something to believe in beyond mechanics, we need something to generate faith that we're seeing something more than a machine, we need ... a mullet.
It's fitting that Randy Johnson has joined Lincecum's Giants this season, because Timmy's rocking the finest baseball example of the hairdo since Johnson went corporate on us. (Please note that this distinction is only for the major leagues, or Kenny Powers' mullet on "Eastbound and Down" would still hold the number one spot on the list.) Just as Johnson's mullet once gave him the audacity to attack every hitter he ever faced, so too are Lincecum's follicles filling him with confidence.
"When I saw the lineup card today, I thought they're throwing some pretty good guys out there," Lincecum said after shutting out the Cardinals on Monday night. "But then I thought, 'I'm good. I'm here for a reason. I can get these guys out if I make my pitches the way I need to.' "
There's no doubt that Lincecum was looking in the mirror when he had that thought. How good could the Cardinals lineup look when you are staring at a glorious mane built for speed?
Is this the start of a trend? Braves rookie Tommy Hanson, off to a good start and heralded as an ace starter of the future, is also a mullet devotee. If he keeps up the good work, it shouldn't take much more to keep the ball rolling until it turns into a full-fledged mullet renaissance at the major league level.
Maybe the Big Unit will even recover the locks of his youth and wring an extra year or three out of his body. Anything is possible thanks to Lincecum and his magnificent mullet.