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Timmy Time

Great atmosphere at China Basin last night for the unveiling of Giants prospect Tim Lincecum. No doubt the hefty showing of 38,738 was inspired, at least in part, by the prospect of folks telling their grandkids, “Hall of Famer Tim Lincecum, I was there when he made his debut.”

Of course, it’s a long way between a debut and a Hall of Fame, as the Phillies reminded those 38,000 and change last night. Lincecum showed a lot, most impressive of which was his 97 mph fastball. I’m not a huge radar-gun guy, because I think you can tell if a pitch has life without looking at a gun. But the explosion of Lincecum’s fastball harkens back to the great flame-throwers of any generation.

Talked to a buddy of mine during the game, and he said Lincecum reminded him of a young, drug-free Dwight Gooden. Thought that was a pretty good comparison. Gooden had the huge leg kick and amazing torque, and it seemed four of every five pitches were fastballs. Lincecum showed the same thing. He seemed overly reliant on his hard stuff last night (hard to blame him), but the true measure of a pitcher is how he’s able to spot his breakings stuff. Judging by his first start, this will be a work in progress for Lincecum.

Overall, though, it’s safe to conclude that there should be some wonderful days ahead for the kid. Don’t get me wrong, it only gets harder from here for him. Getting to the majors is one thing. Staying there is something else.

Some other Monday impressions:

— The A’s, as is their wont, have found a way to go 3-2 on an eight-game trip and keep hanging around .500. Pitching, defense, and contributions from folks like Jack Cust. This is how they roll.

Roger Clemens is returning to the Yankees. Funny, didn’t see anybody faint from shock.

— Once again, the Yankees are throwing money at a problem, which, given their budget, is fine. But one of these years, they’ll find that strategy doesn’t work, and Mt. George will explode.

— Very interesting poll by ABC News indicates that perhaps more people are rooting for Bonds than the media would care to admit, and that there’s a racial element to our support. As a media member who has been critical of Bonds, I’m insulted by any insinuation that I’d be more supportive of Bonds if he was white. Bonds has been exposed as a cheater, perhaps not in court, but through evidence that would be tough to ignore if it ever came up in court.

— My experience with Bonds goes back years. A childhood friend of the family roomed with him at Arizona State, and my first two exposures to Bonds came when I was a young teen. To watch him enter a function at a family member’s house and treat everybody so rudely turned me off to him immediately. He’s mellowed over the years, and on a couple of occasions, he granted me interviews in which he was pleasant, funny and insightful. But on the whole, it’s tough to wish good things upon people who have treated people so badly.

rhurd