When Tim Lincecum took the mound earlier this month hoping to bring his career back to life, it had been a year-and-a-half since his final game in 2016. It was a cold, gray Thursday afternoon in Kent, Washington, at a warehouse just south of Seattle, and there were questions whether he would once again perform like the man nicknamed The Freak—the 5’11” flamethrower with long brown hair, who for a long time had a face that didn’t need a razor, who racked up two consecutive Cy Young Awards and three World Series rings. A year-and-a-half ago, his fastball had slowed to the mid-80s—hardly the 99 mph that he threw as a rookie—and now Tim wanted to see whether he could be, if not his old self, at least something close to it.
The entire affair was held away from the public eye. This was, apparently, per Tim’s wishes. Just some 20 scouts. Tim. Agents. A few clients and employees of the facility. And Chris, Tim’s father. Tim dressed in athletic gear—sneakers, leggings, shorts, T-shirt and a hat—and looked strong. His fastball topped out at 93, impressing several scouts. In the coming weeks, Tim would consider multiple offers. On Tuesday, he signed a one-year deal with the Texas Rangers.
Afterward, Tim left in a gray Shelby Ford Raptor, heading north, the direction of Madison Park, a village near Lake Washington. A few years ago, Tim sold his $2 million penthouse on the top floor of Escala, the glitzy downtown skyscraper, and bought a place near the lake. Madison Park feels like its own little town, bordered by the lake and shrouded by the hills and their towering firs and pines and contorta trees.
It’s where Tim Lincecum has been hiding from the world.