Hard not to think about the start of the World Series tonight and laugh about Tim Lincecum.
Here's a kid in his fourth big-league season who won the National League Cy Young Award twice and now - in an 'off year' - will pitch Game 1 of the World Series. Life isn't supposed to look that easy. What a ride.
It's Lincecum's San Francisco Giants vs. Josh Hamilton's Texas Rangers if you heed the hype, though Cliff Lee likely will have much to do with the outcome. Hamilton's storyline, though, is made for network television. Lee? His bloodless passion for the game has made him the best post-season pitcher of his generation, but he's not about to open up about himself.
Lincecum is a great talker, a delightful longhair who rather likes his nickname, The Freak. Hamilton is open about the drug addictions that derailed his career, and about the wife and family that have helped him reclaim it.
Lee? He's a thorough professional, and it's hard to see that Giants offense beating him.
So how do we see the Series? Columnist John McGrath picks San Francisco in seven, and you can read why here. Ryan Divish goes the other way, picking Texas in seven - and throws in his World Series MVP pick, to boot - outfielder Nelson Cruz.
I'm torn, like most everyone else. I like and admire both managers, Bruce Bochy and Ron Washington. Hamilton is a personal favorite whenever the Mariners face the Rangers during the season, an unassuming star who hasn't forgotten how life humbled him. Michael Young is another, a Robin Yount-like player who'd rather not say much but is a joy to watch hit.
I only saw the Giants in spring training this year, so don't know them as well, don't have as vested an interest in them. Bochy has molded them into as fundamentally solid a team as there is in the game, and that pitching has been remarkable.
I'll go with the Rangers and hope, for entertainment sake, it goes seven.