Lincecum, and the lack of Pinoys in Major League Baseball | Inquirer Sports
Southpaw

Lincecum, and the lack of Pinoys in Major League Baseball

/ 12:55 AM December 17, 2011

SACRAMENTO—If winter comes, can spring training be far behind?
Major League Baseball’s who’s who have come and gone from their industry get-together, known traditionally since 1877 as the winter meetings.
At these closed-door huddles, the game’s managers, agents and other movers and shakers check their lists twice—and then find out who’s naughty or nice among their old and new players, free agents and prospects before the league moves on to spring training in February.
The winter meetings, where some offseason trades and acquisitions are decided, produced a few blockbuster deals this year.
One of the more mind-blowing involved the Los Angeles Angels. With owner Arte Moreno’s deep pockets, the Angels acquired slugger Albert Pujols from the St. Louis Cardinals and pitcher C.J. Wilson from the Texas Rangers.
The pair of 30-year-old stars—no longer spring chicken by the game’s standards, got away with big bucks. Pujols ended up with a 10-year $250-million deal while Wilson will get paid $77.5 million for five years.
Pujols’ hefty contract sent shock waves throughout the baseball community. But the Wilson deal probably hit closer to home for the San Francisco Giants, who are trying not to lose Filipino-American pitching ace Tim Lincecum.
The shaggy-haired, 27-year-old darling of the Bay Area’s huge Fil-Am community earned $23 million on a two-year deal that expired this year. Lincecum could pursue a multiyear agreement or opt for a one-year contract, depending on how and where the wind blows day to day.
Committed to keeping Lincecum—the linchpin of its talented pitching staff—the Giants have gone public, saying they will not explore trading Tim. Whatever transpires, Lincecum will end up as the guy with the happy dilemma in the run-up to spring training.
A two-time Cy Young Award winner, Lincecum is one of three or so Fil-Ams playing Major League ball. He is the second-highest paid Pinoy athlete, next to boxing’s pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao. Just as Pacquiao packs that solid straight left that could bring down taller, heavier opponents, the lanky, 5-11 Lincecum can put away big league hitters with his vaunted fastball and change-up.
Lincecum, whose mom Becky Asis is a descendant of immigrants from Mindanao, is still the top dog, numero uno, when it comes to Asian Americans and Asians fortunately playing for the world’s premier baseball league.
Asian standouts will continue to multiply next season though, since six of the top 10 international prospects come from Taiwan, Japan and South Korea. It is disheartening to note that in the majors where 30 percent of the players are foreign-born, Pinoy players have no prominent presence.
It is lamentable that our country, with baseball roots considered the deepest in the Asian region, a country that’s home to hordes of talent on the diamond, is not on MLB’s radar screen.
I said it before and I say it again. We only have ourselves to blame. We continue to be mesmerized by the wrong team sports, one that’s best suited for giants, where height is might.
Meantime, America’s national pastime continues to go global every minute, with team owners willing to pay a king’s ransom for foreign-born talents.
Sadly, Major League scouts have not turned their gaze on the Philippines and probably never will, although they have been rewarded with stars from our neighboring shores.
***
Arlon Serdenia, manager of Radio Tirad Pass in my adopted Candon City, Ilocos Sur, reports that the paving of a short stretch of road between barangays Tamurong I and II should be done before Christmas. I hope so.
The project’s completion after months of delay is certainly not a feather in the cap of city officials, but would be a great relief to residents.
Now barangay folks, under threat of wave surges during the storm season, are wondering whether a much needed seawall is in their future.

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TAGS: Albert Pujols, Arte Moreno, Baseball, C.J. Wilson, Los Angeles Angels, MBL, Sports, St. Louis Cardinals, Texas Rangers
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