POINT TO PONDER
"A professional is someone who can do his best work even when he doesn't feel like it."
- Alistair Cooke
STORY LINE by Rajiv Shah
Tim Lincecum threw his first no-hitter this past Saturday on July 13th. A no-hitter in baseball is special and is a rare feat - only 281 no-hitters in the history of the sport have been recorded since 1875. 162 games are played every season by a total of 30 teams in major league baseball. When looking at those numbers it's clear how rare a no-hitter is to the sport.
For Tim Lincecum, it's been a long road. He was once the premier starting pitcher in the game having won two Cy-Young Awards (the highest honor a pitcher can receive in baseball), and two World Series championships in 2010 and last year in 2012.
Last year in the play-offs and in the World Series, Tim was not performing up to his usual Cy-Young caliber pedigree. When he asked to be moved to a relief pitcher (which is a downgrade in status in Major League Baseball), he did so without question. The media had a field day with him, constantly asking what it was like for a premier pitcher to be demoted to relief pitching duties. Tim responded that if that's what the coach wanted and it was the best for the team, he would do whatever was needed to the best of his abilities. And out in a relief capacity Tim was stellar, helping the Giants win another championship last year. It's the same attitude that has allowed him to weather the tough times which ultimately have led to his success recently with his no-hitter.
"Professional" is a term that started being used in relation to Tim Lincecum as he has exemplified what a true professional is supposed to be: selfless performance for the greater good of the team no matter how tough it was to his ego to be demoted.
Tim Lincecum could have easily taken to the media and criticized and complained about his demotion. He could have rested on his laurels, his past accolades and lamented that a pitcher of his status should have never been put in a relief role to begin with, but he didn't. He did what he has always done even if that was in a position he wasn't entirely happy - he went out onto the field and threw the ball as well as he could no matter what the situation. That is what makes a true "professional."