This may or may not be a story about Tim Lincecum. You’ll have to decide.
It’s just that he’s pitching Saturday night and I’m covering the game, and I’ve been thinking about it for days. I mean, each of his starts is so interesting in good and bad ways. And that’s where this story comes in.
First some background. As you know I grew up in Brooklyn. I spent most of my time until I went away to college in a playground across the street from our apartment. We called it the Avenue L Park even though it had about six trees. It was basically a giant slab of concrete enclosed by a fence, and we played all our games there — punchball, stickball, slapball, handball, you name it.
I was one of the younger brothers. There was a whole set of older brothers about five years older than my group and one day the word went out that two of the older guys, Vasquez and Greenspan were going to fight in the Park after school on a particular day. They were settling some kind of grudge.
For days I thought about the fight, pondered it. It excited me and it agitated me. It certainly fascinated me. I was there when it happened, there alone standing near a fence. Vasquez and Greenspan walked toward each other near second base of the punchball court. It was all very formal. Vasquez got Greenspan in a headlock — there were lots of headlocks in those days in the mid-1950s. He yanked Greenspan to the ground and threw Greenspan on his back. Then Vasquez grabbed him by the hair and slammed his head into the concrete a couple of times and Greenspan said I give up. At which point, Vasquez got off him. They both walked towards the men’s room and as they entered they whipped combs out of their back pockets.When they emerged their hair was perfectly combed. Then everybody went back to playing ball. And that was that.
I haven’t thought about Vasquez and Greenspan in ages. Could someone out there explain to me why I keep thinking about them now and what this has to do with Lincecum?