High crime? Nope, just stupid
Saturday, November 7, 2009
(11-06) 21:58 PST -- The rest of the sporting world must have chuckled to see the Bay Area media frenzy over Tim Lincecum's pot bust. Prominent headlines, top story on newscasts, non-stop chatter on radio talk shows.
Major, major story, and outsiders must be asking: The Bay Area is shocked by this? Really?
The Bay Area, isn't that Ground Zero for steroids, with BALCO, Bonds, Canseco and Giambi?
Isn't that where time-bomb Tom Cable doesn't always work and play well with others?
Isn't that where Cable's team owner places "Talk to coach about alleged spouse-beating" on his to-do list, behind "Rotate limo tires"?
Isn't that where the Giants have a phenomenal young hitting prospect who stands accused of murder?
Isn't that where former 49ers defensive tackle Dana Stubblefield, already convicted of lying to federal investigators about steroids, just got socked with a restraining order after allegedly knocking his fiance off her bike with his SUV?
Good points, all. I would explain to the chuckling Mr. and Ms. America Outside the Bay Area that the media hyperventilation over Timmygate probably doesn't reflect the man-on-the-street's reaction.
Oh, there was shock when it was reported that police found marijuana after stopping Lincecum for speeding in his 2006 Mercedes.
The screamer headline for this readership probably should have been: "Cy Young winner caught driving 4-year-old car."
Based on reader reaction on SFGate.com, for instance, Lincecum will get off easy in the Bay Area court of public opinion. In fact, his moment of reefer madness might even enhance his stature as a free-spirited goofball.
Sifting through the reader responses on our Web site, my eyes grew weary looking for even one demand for Lincecum to be punished by MLB or the Giants.
I'm no psychologist, so I don't know if we're letting him off easy because so many of us here in the Bay have all fallen off the liberal-left cliff, or because we face realities, such as the fact that the last three U.S. presidents admitted to recreational drug use in their youths.
I do know that if you are a sports hero busted for pot, you should be thankful if you play for a Bay Area team. Remember how, not so many years ago, Warriors' fans would convene at halftime on the "dope ramp," turning the Oakland Arena into the world's largest bong?
This much is evident: As a regional group, we seem to agree that the sports world has more pressing moral issues than a long-haired, pot-smoking pitcher.
For sure we compartmentalize crimes. Gone are the days when all drug-related sins were filed in one brain bin. Andre Agassi admitting he had a serious crystal meth problem, and that the tennis establishment turned a blind eye to it, that causes some serious eyebrow-raising.
But I don't think we're much different from the rest of America in that we have larger targets these days for our contempt, such as the evil droids taking over corporate boardrooms, banks and government offices.
That said, there will be no attempt here to minimize what Lincecum did. I have a 14-year-old son who admires Lincecum, and I will have the obligatory talk about how Timmy is cool but not everything he does is.
There's dumb, then there's speeding while carrying weed and a pipe, giving the world the perception that you might be dumb enough to fire up while driving. One of the great mysteries of sports is why so many athletes load their cars with a mixture of drugs, handguns and expired drivers' licenses, then ask themselves, "Dude, how fast do you think this baby will go in a hospital zone?"
But there will be no attempt here to supersize Lincecum's mistake. The district attorney in Washington considered the crime to be worth $372 - a $250 fine for the pot pipe and $122 for speeding.
Lincecum won't shrug off his crime. We've all gotten to know him well enough to realize that behind the garage-band hair and the cartwheels in the clubhouse is an intelligent young man who approaches his job in a professional manner and spares himself the self-importance and lack of accountability embraced by many ball stars.
Too bad when Timmy placed the pot and the pipe in his car, his events-memory didn't set off alarms. Michael Phelps! Michael Phelps! Oooogah!
Or on a much, much more somber note: Nick Adenhart. He's the Angels pitcher who was killed in April when his friend's car was struck by a drunk driver. Both drivers had been drinking.
Lincecum will be properly embarrassed and he will make proper apologies, which will be immediately accepted - here and probably everywhere.
But even we zonked-out Bay Area hipsters hope the Franchise plays it smarter next time, because whether the media's reaction is frenzied or laid-back, that isn't the kind of news we like to see him make.
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.c ... zz0WE4OoME