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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Side Effects of Marijuana: Does Pot Mean No Payday for Tim Lincecum?

Posted By on Wed, Jan 20, 2010 at 12:42 PM

The fact the San Francisco Giants' Tim Lincecum was charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession following a traffic stop near his Washington State hometown barely raised eyebrows among local Giants faithful.  Come on -- a 25-year old West Coast kid, a snowboarder, with that long hair? Dude looks like a total stoner.


The two-time Cy Young Award winner (i.e., arguably the best pitcher in baseball, for those unfamiliar with Cy Youngs) paid a $513 fine on Tuesday for possession of 3.3 grams of marijuana and a pipe. This isn't that big of a deal around the 415, where "many folks probably vacuum more than 3.3 grams of pot residue off their carpets at home," as SF Chronicle Giants beat writer Henry Shulman put it.

We would like to note that 3.3 grams is also .2 grams short of an eighth, meaning either Timmy got shorted or, more likely, he had just lit a bowl when he was pulled over. Either way, Shulman added, the situation is being "taken seriously elsewhere and by Major League Baseball" -- and you can bet Lincecum is taking it seriously. As in, millions of dollars seriously.

click to enlarge Screen_shot_2010_01_20_at_12.32.50_PM.jpg

Lincecum filed for salary arbitration on Friday. At his current pay of $650,000 a year, he is an absolute steal for the Giants; other pitchers of his caliber command $25 million or more in the free agent market (which Lincecum is not eligible to enter for several more years, by which time, every Giants fan is praying, he is locked up for years to come in a long-term deal. That, or in a cage in China Basin).

But did the reefer screw up Lincecum's chance for a big payday?


Common sense might suggest that it would be foolish of the Giants to make Lincecum's pot habit a sticking point in contract negotiations: he has no criminal history and is, by all accounts, well-behaved on and off the field. And raising heck over a mere paltry bowl could poison the waters for the *big* payday Lincecum is all but assured when he nears the end of his contract in 2013.

If marijuana is being mentioned in negotiations, the numbers certainly don't reflect it: according to the Associated Press the Giants offered their young ace $8 million; Lincecum's camp aimed even higher, asking for $13 million which, if granted, would be the highest salary ever won in baseball arbitration.

In this, perhaps Lincecum is lucky he plays for a team in pot-friendly NorCal and not, say, an image-conscious franchise in Red State USA. Incidentally, the Giants' highest salary is $18.5 million , which goes to pitcher Barry Zito - whose hippie-leaning ways include surfing, playing guitar, and practicing yoga. So Tim's got room to grow.

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About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.


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