Lincecum bobblehead excites Chukchansi Park crowd

The Fresno BeeJune 28, 2014 

Anthony Puente and Jesse Arteaga cut it close.

Puente had his heart set on securing one of the 2,000 Tim Lincecum Farm Grown Bobbleheads that the Fresno Grizzlies gave away Saturday.

But Arteaga was running late getting off work and the pair of 20-year-old Fresnans didn't arrive at Chukchansi Park until 3 p.m., four hours before first pitch of the Grizzlies' Pacific Coast League game against Salt Lake.

Considering a smattering of fans grabbed spots in line as early as 6 p.m. Friday, Puente and Arteaga were lucky to get their hands on the popular collectable that the Grizzlies began handing out at 5:30 p.m.

"I really wanted to get one, so I was anxious about it," Puente said. "It's Tim Lincecum. I'm a really big fan."

The giveaway drew long lines at each of Chukchansi's five entry gates for a bobblehead in the likeness of the San Francisco Giants right-hander who pitched his second career no-hitter Wednesday against the San Diego Padres.

Lincecum pitched in Fresno in 2007, going 4-0 with a 0.29 ERA in five starts before being promoted to San Francisco, which he helped lead to World Series titles in 2012 and 2010.

"He's been my favorite Giant since we got him," an excited 17-year-old Matt Esquert of Sanger said after getting his bobblehead.

The promotion helped draw an announced crowd of 9,039 to the third of Fresno's current four-game homestand. The bobbleheads were an investor's hit -- more than a dozen had hit eBay before the end of the game.

Lincecum was a draw for many, but there were plenty who found the real deal more enticing than a bobblehead. Saturday's game also featured a rehab appearance by Giants first baseman Brandon Belt.

"We came out for Belt," said 44-year-old Fresnan Maria Bezerra, who arrived at the park at 5 p.m. with her husband, Jason. "The bobblehead was a bonus. I knew (Belt) was coming for rehab, so I was super excited to see him. We like seeing guys when they come back.

"But I really wanted the bobblehead, too, after Timmy threw his no-no."

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6103, nickg@fresnobee.com or @NickG_FB on Twitter.

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