Giants' All-Stars soak up experience
Lincecum, Wilson excited despite rough trip to New York
NEW YORK -- Sitting behind tables set up on adjacent elevated platforms in a ballroom at the Grand Hyatt in Manhattan, Giants right-handers Tim Lincecum and Brian Wilson each stood out among their peers for very different reasons during the National League All-Stars' media-availability session Monday.
"I never had a job," said Lincecum, wide-eyed and earnest. "It's kind of tough to take this all in. [Current teammates and former All-Stars Randy Winn and Rich Aurilia] said this was going to be the most exciting thing I've ever done, but until you get here, you really don't know what to expect."
Wilson, 26, looked far more the All-Star part. His own short brown hair whipped into a faux-hawk, he wore a stylish, short-sleeved T-shirt and the kind of big, shiny chain-and-charm combo often seen around the neck of sports stars.
What distinguished Wilson was the necklace itself. Most All-Stars rock outrageously expensive, diamond-encrusted accessories. Wilson's thick, silver chain and large accompanying cross set him back all of $16.
"I got it at a mall, at one of those kiosks in the middle," he confessed. "I think the place was called 'Truck Ice.' You're supposed to hang [the cross] from your rear-view mirror in your truck, but I thought it'd look good on a necklace, so here it is."
And here they are, first-time All-Stars in their first full year in the big leagues, preparing to take the stage Tuesday for the 79th All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium -- the last Midsummer Classic to be played at The House That Ruth Built before a new Yankee Stadium opens across the street in the Bronx next spring.
"It's a great thing to be a part of," Lincecum said. "And it's awesome to be here with Brian and representing the Giants. ... We're proud of each other."
"It's pretty exciting," Wilson echoed. "Winn and Aurilia told me to just soak it all in, have a good time, make sure you get to the park early to sign all the balls we have to sign, and take home some great memories. So that's what I plan to do."
Wilson, San Francisco's closer, is here on the strength of his NL-best 25 saves. And without sounding the slightest bit cocky, he said he expected to be here before the season even started.
"I expect high things from myself, and I write out some unrealistic goals before the start of every year," he explained. "I might achieve some of them, I might not. But one of them was to make the All-Star team, definitely. One of them was to save 40 games.
"And one of them was to win the Cy Young. ... We'll have to see about that one."
Winning the NL Cy Young seems far more realistic for Lincecum, who went 11-2 with a 2.57 ERA -- second-best in the NL -- and a league-high 135 strikeouts in 129 2/3 innings over 20 games (19 starts) in the first half. The recent Sports Illustrated cover boy, however, said he isn't much for setting, or even thinking about, goals.
"Making the All-Star team was the last thing on my mind going into the season," he insisted. "I never set anything like that. For me, it's just important to work to get better, game by game, and not look too far ahead."
As deserving as they are to be in New York this week, they did have quite a hard time getting here. Lincecum was the winning pitcher and Wilson picked up the save Sunday as the Giants closed out the first half with a 4-2 victory over the NL Central-leading Cubs at Wrigley Field, and that turned out to be the easiest part of their day.
First, they went to the wrong airport after the game. By the time they got to the right airport, they'd missed the 45-minute deadline for checking bags, so they missed that flight and were placed on the economy-class standby list for a later flight.
"Kind of a circus," Wilson said.
There's more. When they finally touched down in New York at close to 1 a.m. ET Monday, another plane was already at their gate.
"So we had to wait on the tarmac for another 30 minutes," Lincecum said. "That's OK, though. We're here now.
"No matter what else happens, that's good enough for me."
Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.