San Francisco Giants' pitcher Tim Lincecum was a bona fide phenom when he won the Cy Young award in 2008 and 2009, but in recent years he seems to have lost the magic. In the latest of a series of somewhat inexplicable hair/face-related decisions that may or may not be related to his attempt to climb back to dominance, he has unveiled a new mustache. As die-hard baseball fanatics, BuzzFeed's Lindsey Adler and Summer Anne Burton have a lot of thoughts about The Stache.
Summer Anne Burton: OK, so we're here to discuss San Francisco Giants' pitcher Tim Lincecum's new mustache. And I'm here to say I think the mustache is great! Big fan. I'm not a Giants fan, but as a baseball fanatic who's been increasingly invested over the last six years or so, I have a lot of *feelings* about Tim Lincecum, generally speaking. In just a few years, I've gone from admiration and confidence that he was going to end up being a first-ballot Hall of Famer, to sadness and sympathy when he started to decline, to a strange brew of anxiety and optimism for his currently somewhat positive trajectory (aided by the fact that I drafted him for my fantasy baseball team this year). And I feel that this mustache really speaks to all of that. The mustache contains multitudes. Lindsey, you're a Giants fan, so I know you must have thoughts…
Lindsey Adler: Timmy is my dude. He's one of the very few athletes I find relatable. This does in fact lead me to psychoanalyze some of Timmy's more bizarre choices. I've watched my two-time Cy Young winner let his ERA skyrocket, pitch relief in the 2012 World Series, and sign a two-year extension (for maybe too much money) when we were certain he was leaving San Francisco. Timmy spent the 2012 offseason in Mexico and returned with a new haircut à la Atticus Finch. This offseason, he installed a synthetic mound in a warehouse in Seattle and came back with that damn mustache.
You know when you get out of a relationship and feel like it's time to make some changes and enter your next endeavor hotter, cooler, and more prepared? That's how I see Timmy's mustache: a breakup makeover. Can whatever confidence he gets from the upper-lip fuzz help him throw more strikes? I'm doubtful.
SAB: I know the breakup makeover of which you speak, but I'm also familiar with a totally different kind of makeover, and it's how I see the mustache: It's the FUCK YOU makeover. I think Tim's mustache is amazing precisely because it's so awful. I look at his mustache and I see a dude who wants to be a good pitcher, yes, but who otherwise is far more concerned with 1) pot, 2) his friends, and 3) FIFA video games than he is with being some kind of iconic figure, alterna-heartthrob, or even anyone's inspiring comeback story. This mustache might as well be a face tattoo of him giving the finger to anyone even thinking about writing something moving about his season. This is the mustache of a guy who wants people to look away from his face and pay attention to someone else while he gets his groove back away from the spotlight. I don't know if it will actually work, but I respect the IDGAFness of the whole thing.
LA: Maybe that theory is why I hate it. I have written my fair share of sappy blog posts about Timmy and what his career means to ME. I shelled out the money for good seats for what we thought would be his last start as a Giant. Our fan base is very emotionally invested in Timmy, who has never been one to pitch with a poker face. I should probably throw in a personal disclaimer and admit that my "type" is very much long-haired, lanky dudes, so I feel personally slighted by his deviation from his classic look.
SAB: Oh man, my type too! Or one of, like, seven types. I think Timmy is super foxy, or I did, but I respect that he clearly does not give a care for "the ladies," as evidenced very clearly by this mustache. This is like a gender-swapped version of the Man Repeller fashion blog. All dudes know that 99% of young women are not super into creepy mustaches and associate them with beefy dudes their moms want to bone and/or guys in white vans, so growing a mustache is a pretty defiant act, particularly for a pseudo-heartthrob.
Some athletes love being famous — it means they get lots of money, for one thing, plus women and notoriety long after they're not great anymore. But every once in a while you run across someone who seems to see the fame part of playing the game they love as a burden instead of a bonus, and Timmy's mustache seems like a symptom of that to me, and it makes me feel strangely maternal toward him — and effectively eliminates any of my former fantasies of mugging down with him in a marijuana haze. I think he probably likes it better that way?
LA: I was working luxury retail during the 2012 World Series, and Timmy came into the store the DAY AFTER Game 4. Everything he was wearing looked like he'd just pulled the tags off that morning. The indigo in his jeans was super fresh. I thought it was kind of dorky-looking. I guess I would say the 'stache fits in with that: Timmy sports looks that he can't quite pull off. But I think that's what separates him from a lot of other baseball players. Buster Posey would never get all experimental with his appearance. It's also not exaggerated like Brian "Satan" Wilson's gross-ass beard and need for attention.
It might be fair to say that Giants fans are more obsessed with the 'stache than Timmy himself. I bet he looks in the mirror in the morning, shrugs, and thinks, OK, and puts on his little white pants. Meanwhile, we're making memes and Grant Brisbee, sportswriter of the gods, is counting the hairs.
SAB: Yeah, it's true — the stache reminds me of a lot of guys I knew as a teenager who just weren't totally comfortable in their own skin. I think seeing that reflected in a millionaire star athlete (even one struggling to regain his former glory) is just charming. I think Lincecum's mustache is like the polar opposite of Bryce Harper's mohawk and eye black. Harper is a guy who a lot of baseball fans love to watch because he's got a certain je ne sais quoi, but to me it has always seemed like he's trying really hard to have this cool/weird/alternative image, whole Timmy's whole stoner-bro look has always felt very authentic. Never more authentic than now, with this mustache. I believe that Tim doesn't really know what he's doing, and that the mustache is a reflection of that. It makes me like him even more.
LA: I agree! My theory has always been that Timmy is an accidental jock. Had his father not been such a powerful influence, he'd probably spend his twenties drinking PBR in a dive bar. I might be projecting. So what does this mean? Is my anti-'stache stance totally contradictory to the reasons I love Timmy? I mean…other than the fact that he's a wacky-looking pitcher who usually pulls it together when need be. I'll compromise: If by the All-Star break, Timmy's ERA is lower than his 2012/2013 ERAs, I'll resign to superstition and support the 'stache. Until then, I'm going to pine for long-haired, Cy Young Timmy.