The Horse

Mike_timlin

He’s not having the best season — in fact he’s having the worst season of his career — and he may be less than two weeks away from pitching his final game in the major leagues, but it’s time to give Mike Timlin his due.

Last night, he appeared in his 1,051st game, most ever by a right-handed reliever. Until this season, his worst ERA+ was a 92. He hadn’t posted an ERA below league average since 1994. He’s appeared in at least 50 games and thrown at least 55 innings every year since 1996, and though it’ll be hard to reach those marks this year, that shouldn’t detract from the accomplishments of his career.

He’s never been flashy or ultradominant. He’s not Rivera or K-Rod or Papelbon. He’s simply been the horse, posting solid seasons time and again — and winning four World Series rings along the way. If he wins a fifth this season, he’ll be just the third player ever (and the first since Stuffy McInnis retired in 1927) to win five World Series without ever playing for the Yankees.

Since arriving in the bigs 17 years ago with a 134 ERA+ and two third-place Rookie of the Year votes, Timlin has posted a 100 or better ERA+ 15 times in 18 seasons, 110 or better 12 times, 120 or better 11 times, 130 or better 10 times and 140 or better four times.

In 2003, Timlin was the middle-relief ace who should have helped lead us to the championship in 2003, but helped bring home the ring in ’04. He was dominant in 2005, and rebounded from a subpar 2006 to help us win another one last year.

This year has been different, of course. It’s sad, as it always is, when a great career ends ignominously, but that shouldn’t obscure Timlin’s accomplishments. Thanks for the good years you gave us, Mike.

34 comments… add one
  • Great post, Paul.
    I have a feeling that if I were to meet Mike Timlin personally, we probably wouldn’t have a whole lot in common. He’d probably think I was a overly-intellectual liberal weenie, and I’d think he was a gun-toting neanderthal. But that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate what he’s done as a ballplayer.
    As I enter my mid-forties, I find that I’m appreciating journeymen players more. I’m realizing that I’m no longer able to be a phenom and won’t be a superstar in my profession, and so I identify with those solid, day-to-day players who toil, if not in obscurity, in a much lesser glow than their more talented brethren.
    No GM ever said “We need Mike Timlin,” but I’m willing to wager that every one has thought to himself, “We need someone like Mike Timlin.” Players like him are the ones who are the ones who lead to championships- the inning eaters, the utility in/outfielders, guys who can replace a regular and perform solidly for as long as they need to. They prepare, work hard, don’t bitch, and contribute to your team.
    There are so many gifted ballplayers who make you shake your head and say “what a waste of talent.” It’s safe to say that Mike Timlin never wasted his.

    Ayuh - SF September 16, 2008, 3:51 pm
  • Great post, Paul. And a very nice comment, too, Ayuh.

    stuck working September 16, 2008, 4:07 pm
  • Even though I believe Timlin was far more than what Ayuh is giving him credit as being, at this stage any compliment is a good compliment. Thanks, Mike.

    Dirty Water September 16, 2008, 5:23 pm
  • i will always remember mike for his 2003 post seasons campaign. in the ALCS series that year timlin threw 5.1 innings giving up 1 hit 0 runs while striking out 6. when scott williamson was so nervous his mouth broke out in kanker sores, the unflappable timlin wanted the ball. as much as we give credit to schill for his post season success, timlin’s has been every bit as good (results over numbers). besides all of that….the man has caught every home run hit into the sox bullpen with his trusty towel for last 5 years.

    sf rod September 16, 2008, 5:52 pm
  • I won’t miss his performance, but I really will miss Timlin. It’d be especially nice if we could help bookend his career with back-to-back World Series winners.

    Hit Dog September 16, 2008, 7:45 pm
  • I will always remember Timlin as the guy my ex-girlfriend (who I dated for a year in 2004, and who is a Harvard grad) was madly in love with. Oh, and he always had his “I wish I had something to kill” look on his face.

    Atheose September 16, 2008, 7:50 pm
  • I’d be a little surprised if he didn’t come back next year. Maybe not for the Sox, but for someone.

    Kazz September 17, 2008, 5:56 am
  • Yeah, I always like Timlin. Not so much because of the performances, which at times were just flat out awesome, but more becuase he’s my kind of guy. Having just spent three days in the woods for opening day of bow season here, I can truly say that I will surely miss Timling (and Beckett for that matter) when they’re gone from this team. They both bring something other than baseball to me. Yeah, baseball is why I like them, but hunting, fishing, cars, skoal, and baseball is what gives them something in common with most of my life, thus, making them seem a little different than the average big league superstars.
    Probably very corny, but I like to have that little connection.
    FWIW, I plan on taking the trip to the Beckett ranch next fall, and when I’m standing there, baseball will be the last thing I mention to him. The first will be the absurd ten grand it costs to hunt the land. ha.

    Brad September 17, 2008, 10:31 am
  • Brad, would Beckett actually be there? Most ranch owners — at least the rich ones — just leave a hand or ranch manager around to make sure no one gets shot or lost, I thought. Or is meeting Beckett part of the package?
    Beckett was actually in my city at a hunting dinner for charity last year, but my boss didn’t know who he was until he met him, at which point it was a little late to let me know about it…. :-(

    Paul SF September 17, 2008, 10:46 am
  • “…would Beckett actually be there?…”
    for 10 g’s?…sheesh, i certainly hope so…

    dc September 17, 2008, 10:59 am
  • Yeah, there is a meet and greet. You can look it up here:
    http://www.herraduraranch.com/

    Brad September 17, 2008, 11:20 am
  • For 10 grand he’d better give you a “massage” too, if you catch my drift.

    Atheose September 17, 2008, 2:11 pm
  • i agree with brads point about connectedness with players. it means more to see a guy you can relate to succeed over a guy like a-rod. i’ve hopped onto the prince fielder bandwagon this year after finding out about his switch to vegetarianism and support of the animal rights movement. it’s refreshing to see someone buck the neanderthal jock mentality that proliferates the sports world.

    sf rod September 17, 2008, 3:32 pm
  • it’s refreshing to see someone buck the neanderthal jock mentality that proliferates the sports world…
    A) There is an animal rights movement? Where is this movement taking place?
    B) Is he “bucking the neanderthal mentality” or just doing what makes him happy? Because someone doesn’t do something doesn’t mean that they are rebeling against it or take offense to what others around them are doing, right? Some guys really like to date other guys – I happen to like women. The simple decision to not date men doesn’t mean that I’m “bucking” the men dating trend. I just happen to like women.
    Some guys like neanderthal things. Some guys like tofu turkey chunks. Different strokes. Prince probably had to switch after waking up one morning with a half eaten bucket of wings and sauce on his enormous chin and then realized that he was a professional baseball player who could no longer see his toes. ha.:)

    Brad September 17, 2008, 5:14 pm
  • fielder chose a vegetarian lifestyle after becoming informed on the brutality of the meat industry. you can read up on it on hiswiki page.
    A) what “closet” have you been living in? ….michael vicks?
    B) fielder was an avid non-respecter of life meat eater, even appearing in McDonalds commercials with his father. only after researching for himself did he chose to actually contemplate what he was jamming in his piehole. your analogy of dating men would hold water if you had always dated men, informed yourself of the risky lifestyle you were participating in, and then chose a different course of action. timlins enjoyment of “hunting, fishing, cars, skoal,…” really only puts him in with the majority of ballplayers. i guess it’s cool that mike is like 90% of other texans (austin excluded), but that’s just not something i can get excited about.

    sf rod September 17, 2008, 6:22 pm
  • should read…. “fielder was an avid non-respecter of life meat eater,…”

    sf rod September 17, 2008, 6:35 pm
  • As a resident of Norfolk, Virginia (where PETA is based) the animal rights movement is the most extreme, hypocritical movement in the country. They euthanize over 2,000 dogs and cats per year here at their headquarters, saying that they would rather humanely end their lives than see them abused.
    They’re also under investigation for giving over 1 million in funding to the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), a terrorist organization that bombs research facilities that test cancer medicine on animals.
    Aside from that, my school (Old Dominion University) routinely gets protested by them for serving meat and dairy in our on-campus cafeterias. Having to walk through two-dozen angry vegans to get breakfast in the morning was a pretty shitty was to start college off as a Freshman.

    Atheose September 17, 2008, 6:43 pm
  • Oh yeah, and their president Ingrid Newkirk is a diabetic, but uses insulin (which PETA boycotts because it comes from animals). She says that it’s okay for her to use insulin because she’s using her life to help animals.

    Atheose September 17, 2008, 6:47 pm
  • Is there going to be a gamer today?

    rootbeerfloat September 17, 2008, 6:51 pm
  • People Eating Tasty Animals?
    Rod, I actually own a dog, and regretfully, a cat. Making some kind of hunting to Vick comparison is exactly the kind of statement that makes people argue over the topic of animal rights v. hunters.
    Fact is, hunters and fishermen put more money and legislation back into the environment and wildlife than any single (or combined) animal rights organization or protection agency.
    Where do you think the money goes from our licenses, permits, and in most states, gear used for the sport? You think Peta or some other group funds the federal parks, raises the money for conservation officers, and keeps animal pounds funded and open?
    I agree that the meat industry is a haven for brutality and disgusting conditions: I worked in one when I was in high school in the summers. It’s exactly why I don’t eat chicken, and unless I kill it myself, turkey.
    I would give up beef, but it’s just too damn tasty.
    90% of the meat consumed at my house comes from my own efforts. Not out of need at all, but it’s something that I enjoy doing, and it supplies a very healthy alternative to the slaughter houses. I agree that not all outdoorsmen have the same outlook, and most are in it for the kill, which I can understand. But, I’m the furthest thing from a comparison to Vick that you could find. So while I haven’t been living in anyones closet, I do like the idea of being completely capable of living at least somewhat self sufficient for food. I also grow a garden near my home, and harvest that as well. It’s not glamourous in any way, but to me, it’s nice to do. I grew up in the country, and it’s something that goes along with being in that environment. I hunt, I fish, I farm a little bit, I played baseball all the way through college and then on an independent league team, and I’ve had a lipper of skoal every now and then. I also own a home, have a college degree in chemistry, spend my days in a lab, drive an old pickup truck, and don’t like having to defend my ability to do any of that because someone compares me to Michael Vick or shoots of their mouth about it being so “neanderthal” and “stereotypica jock” behavior. Because you don’t like it, or you can’t “get excited about it” doesn’t mean it’s wrong in any way whatsoever. It just means it’s different than what you want to do or take part in. You, like most animal rights folks, have a real problem separating the two groups of people, thus when you make blanket statements about animals being harvested for the societal good, you include the normal guy who does it for himself and his family. Even you, filled with PETA propaganda and holding a protest sign over the local high school selling milk in their cafeteria that doesn’t come from soy, can see the difference between someone like myself and Michael Vick.

    Brad September 18, 2008, 12:17 am
  • On another note, how weird is it for Peta to be based in Norfolk. Just outside of the city is hundreds miles of NC farmland on the way to the beach, and thousands of acres of Virginia farmland, hunting resorts, and every other kind of outdoor sport you can think of.
    I really would have thought they’d set up camp in New England somewhere – or maybe somewhere in California, but not VA.
    It’s like setting up a GOP convention on the cape. Doesn’t seem to fit.
    Atheose – are you actuall in Norfolk? I have some very good friends down there, and visit quite often. Ironically, to hunt. It’s very, very nice in most spots near that city. If I could live out my days on that highway that leads to the NC beaches, I definitely would.

    Brad September 18, 2008, 12:24 am
  • normally i don’t like to get in the middle of a disagreement between 2 sox fans, but i’ll make an exception this time…brad, you are right on with your counterpoints to rod…in fact, this country survived because native americans taught early settlers how to farm, hunt, and fish…those skills have been passed down for generations…i’m not a hunter, by choice, not because of my politics, but i do enjoy a walk through the woods around my home, and while i follow a varied diet, i eat meat or fish every day…i’m lucky enough to live “in the woods”, so i see a variety of wildlife, including deer, fox, turkey, possum, racoon, turtles, etc., along with the usual suspects, birds, squirrels, in my yard every day…i love to fish, and i am lucky to have a lake loaded with bass in my backyard…i catch and release, but again, that’s a choice not to keep them…i don’t begrudge for one minute your right to supplement your diet with fish and game…what i do resent is for responsible folks like us being labeled as animal rights violators or worse…i’m no michael vick, and i’m certainly not neanderthal….fish and game are an important part of this country’s heritage…everybody already knows this but it’s worth retelling: ben franklin wanted the turkey to be the national bird because hunting it spared the early colonists from certain starvation…i’ll admit, as i’m sure you would, that as with any hobby or pastime, there are irresponsible fishermen and hunters….that’s why the money for conservation officers [game wardens] is so important…i’ve even found that the more responsible men and women who love the outdoors, fishing and hunting, are somewhat self-policing…i have rules for any friends who want to fish in my lake for example…anyway, i ramble…

    dc September 18, 2008, 8:44 am
  • Brad, I’m on the corner of Colley Avenue and 44th street, a few blocks down from Old Dominion. Shoot me an email if you’re ever in the area; I’ll buy you a beer!

    Atheose September 18, 2008, 12:11 pm
  • And I agree completely, DC. If you want to be a vegan that’s 100% fine with me, but don’t tell me I’m a murderer because I like a cheeseburger or a bit of venison every now and then. We didn’t get to the top of the food chain by eating soy every meal.
    What’s ironic to me is that PETA protests humans eating meat, but it’s okay for other animals to do it. Tigers kill gazelles in Africa every day, so why not protest them?

    Atheose September 18, 2008, 12:15 pm
  • Right on, Atheose. I’ll be sure to do that.
    People need to belong to something. I have no beef with anyone from any group. If a person wants to belong to any group or organization in any form or cause it’s fine with me – just leave me out of your verbal (or written for that matter) harsh judgements.
    There are a lot of things that I have a problem with, but I have a much bigger problem with the idea that I have the right to voice my opinion in a matter that makes me appear better or more informed because I don’t agree with it: I don’t like the idea of gay marriage, but saying it’s wrong or any different than regular marriage and people shouldn’t have the right to partake in it is even more of a problem with me – who the hell am I to tell people what is wrong or unacceptable if it makes them happy?
    Do your thing, and I’ll do mine, I guess.

    Brad September 18, 2008, 12:30 pm
  • Well said Brad. In general I’m a fan of small government, so I completely agree.
    I think it was Voltaire that said “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” I think the same can be applied to actions, and not just speech.

    Atheose September 18, 2008, 12:38 pm
  • brad- the vick thing was taken in the wrong dirrection. my point was, everyone became an animal activist after the public outrage over vicks dog fighting. you asked “A) there’s an animal rights movement?”. clearly america showed compassion after they could associate the harm being committed with an animal they cared about. in no way was i associating your leisure activivties with that of vicks. although, in dog fighting, at least the animals involved in the “sport” have a chance to defend survival.
    i appreciate the fact that you’ve given thought to what you consume. to most, it’s just a simple matter of handing money through a drive thru window. the disconnect between flank steaks in the grocery store and the hands that took that life is so great that most people dissasociate themselves from the disturbing part of the process. believe me, i take a lot of heat from my vegan friends for eating dairy. i can’t tell you how many times i’ve heard “you’re against murder, but you’re ok with rape”. for me, the important part is that people contemplate their actions and involvement. it seems that you’ve done that, with tastiness coming out the victor. simply put, it’s a dietary choice governed by my conscience and an appreciation for the value of life.
    your support of wildlife preserves and parks via licenses, permits, and gear is commendable, but would you support them if you were not afforded the ability to kill things? the sierra club (my charity of choice) does a lot for the preservation on nature minus the whole taking of a life thing.
    ath/brad- i’m not a member of any group or pushing pamphlets. you don’t have to join a group to be geniuenly concerned for the sanctity of life. Peta has changed over the years. ingrid has taken the organization in a direction that’s ultimately counterproductive to it’s original goals. Peta was designed to appeal to youths and provide a resource for alternative dietary choices. Peta has become driven by media hungry political spinsters. as much as i was accused of broadstroking hunters/meat-eaters, you guy’s managed to marginalize all non-meat-eaters as protesters and extremists. we are not all soy swilling granola crunchers. the food chain argument is a weak one. as humans we could easily harvest pandas and baby seals, but for some reason we find those animals too cute to consume. i’m sure with the right marinade both would be scrumptious. just because we have thumbs and the ability to rationalize the food pyramid doesn’t mean every living creature should end up in our mouths.
    dc- the appeal to colonial history as a grounds for how we consume animals today is a pretty substantial leap. colonialists survived winters with the help of the native indians knowledge of root cellars and subsistant responsible farming. both things our society no longer practices while at the same time we’ve perfected genetically engineering and hormone plumping those same turkeys ben franklin owed our early survival to. i guess were lucky old ben didn’t have a tastebud penchant for bald eagles or we’d be out our other national bird.
    in summation, i wasn’t comparing anyone to michael vick. i have no desire to take away anyones choice to eat as they see fit. just some food for thought.

    sf rod September 18, 2008, 6:09 pm
  • Yeah sf rod, PETA used to work towards a goal rather than trying their scare tactics. Sorry if I made it seem like all vegans are protesters and extremists–I just meant that PETA was (since I deal with them at least once a month here).
    And I wasn’t trying to say that every living creature should end up in our mouths, just that we’re omnivores and have been for millions of years. We eat some meat and we eat some other stuff (fruit, grain). In general I hate people trying to take away my rights.

    Atheose September 18, 2008, 10:20 pm
  • …geez rod, where do i start?…you’re rebuttal is not only inaccurate, it smacks of the extreme you so want to distance yourself from…
    “…the appeal to colonial history…” was not to justify how we consume animals today, it was to support brad’s lifestyle choice that includes game, fish, and produce that he harvests himself…you go on to say that this style of farming is no longer practiced…you apparently have never spent any time in rural america, or you’d change your opinion…i know folks that almost excusively subsist on the produce from their family farm, along with fish, and game obtained locally…yes, they are in a vast minority of consumers, but don’t pretend they don’t exist…this is a lifesyle that kept early colonists alive during the harsh early days of this country…no leap needed…as for the crack about ben franklin, nice of you to trivialize his thoughtful approach to the debate about the national bird…he felt the turkey was the logical choice because it was a symbol of survival…the bald eagle won out because it was more majestic….as someone who has had the thrill of witnessing a young eagle fishing in my lake not long ago, i understand the choice…even meateaters appreciate nature, my friend…
    …as for the threat to these great birds: your comment: “…we’d be out our other national bird…” …actually wild turkeys are plentiful and thriving in most parts of the country thanks to reintroduction efforts that started in the 1940’s…i chuckled when i read your comment because the other day, i had to stop my car in the middle of the road to let a flock of no less than a dozen, including some younger ones cross the road in front of me…this is not an unusual sight where i live…while the bald eagle was removed from the endangered species list in 1995, and given “Threatened” status until 2007 when it was removed from the list, it remains a fragile species…the biggest threat to these beautiful animals is ignorance, destruction of habitat related to over-development, pollution, pesticides, and inorganic fertilizers…not meateaters…
    …you say that you didn’t intend to link any of us to michael vick, yet you specifically asked brad if he had been “living in” vick’s “closet”…sounded like a link…
    …no one here said that they support the unethical treatment of animals, wild or domestic…animals that are ‘manufactured’ for consumption is something that’s been driven by an exploding population and demand for bigger, better, faster, cheaper products, and a natural human hunger for protein derived from meat…i respect your right to protest it, please respect my right to eat it…it’s just possible that if God put fish here for the eagle to eat, he put turkeys here for me to eat, or should we teach the eagle to eat lettuce?…
    …my charity of choice?…the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society…like you, for personal reasons that hit close to home…
    …see what i mean?…free country, freedom to have an open mind, freedom to have opinions, freedom to lead individual lifestyles, freedom to disagree without being disagreeable…it’s a great country…

    dc September 18, 2008, 11:53 pm
  • as for the crack about ben franklin, nice of you to trivialize his thoughtful approach to the debate about the national bird…he felt the turkey was the logical choice because it was a symbol of survival…the bald eagle won out because it was more majestic
    Yeah, Ben Franklin liked the Turkey because he felt they were courageous, elegant, family-oriented birds, and that the Bald Eagle was a cowardly carrion eater. Most eagles do not hunt for their own food, but prefer to snatch up other animals’ kills.
    And DC’s totally right about the turkeys being plentiful in most parts of the country; here in Virginia I used to see wild flocks of them in the woods pretty often when I was younger.
    I think we can sum this up by saying that extremism in any form (religion, animal rights, recreational drug use) is bad. We live in the most diverse country in the world, and as such we need to respect each others right to believe what we want to believe. I 100% support people that want to be religious, vegan, or potheads, and I expect them to respect my beliefs as well.
    Except for scientologists. They’re just f*cking nuts.

    Atheose September 19, 2008, 10:19 am
  • No problem, Rod. I just read it wrong, I guess.
    Like I said, everyone has their beliefs, and I’m the last guy to question them or belittle anything that one person does or says that does not agree with what I want to hear. I simply defend my own position, and move on. I have no desire to continue this conversation. We’ve all said our piece, so let’s just move on.

    Brad September 19, 2008, 11:13 am
  • Yeah, I have to agree, Ath. They definitely are freaking nuts.

    Brad September 19, 2008, 11:14 am
  • as a scientologist, i’m horribly offended….(i kid)
    brad- looking back, i can see where my “neanderthal jock mentality” comment may have felt like a personal attack. it wasn’t directed towards you in the least. it was sincerely just a statement of the good ol’ boys mentality that proliferates the sport i love. i find prince fielder refreshing for being outside the norm. i’ve always had a soft spot for the guy’s that don’t fit the ballplayer mold (ie; la russa, reggie willits, pat neshek). sorry if i offended you, ath, or dc.

    sf rod September 19, 2008, 5:01 pm
  • no sweat rod…it’s all good…just a difference of opinion which is always ok, especially here…i just can’t believe i was defending a stinkin’ sox fan [brad]…what’s wrong with me?…i need help… ;)

    dc September 19, 2008, 8:21 pm

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