Competing on the Mound

During the course of a long baseball season, certain games stand out among others. Games when the competition is so strong and players seem to be working harder than usual. When all the hours of practice these players put in pay off and they appear to be competing at the top of their game.

Last Thursday night's game between the San Francisco Giants and the Philadelphia Phillies in Philadelphia was one of those games. The Phillies won 2-1, but that wasn't the real story. The real story was the match-up of two great pitchers, Pedro Martinez and Tim Lincecum.

Martinez: At 37 years old, Pedro Martinez is nearing the end of his career. He has battled injuries over the last couple of years and spent a lot of time on the disabled list. This year, it didn't seem like any team wanted Pedro until the Phillies picked him up in August. Earlier in his career, Pedro was one of the best pitchers in baseball history. He won the Cy Young Award in 1997, 1999 and 2000. Even though his best days are behind him, Pedro still has the ability to pitch a great game. He showed that while playing against the Giants. He may not be at the peak of his career, but he still is determined and works hard to get results.

Lincecum: At 25 years old, Tim Lincecum is just starting what promises to be a brilliant career. He already won one Cy Young Award last season for the Giants and will likely win the award again in the future. Lincecum is considered one of the best pitchers in baseball. Ever since he was growing up in the state of Washington, he wanted to be a pro ballplayer. He was a great pitcher in his high school and college and has continued to find success in the big leagues. He is a great example of an athlete who set a goal and stayed focused on achieving it.

Post-Game: It was amazing to watch two excellent pitchers going head to head. Pedro Martinez is finishing up a great career; Tim Lincecum is just starting his. What was more amazing was the praise that each pitcher had for the other after the game. Pedro talked about how Lincecum will be a better pitcher than he ever was. Lincecum talked about what a thrill it was to go up against a great pitcher like Pedro Martinez. They both demonstrated sportsmanship and appreciated the efforts of their opponent.

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