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Wilson Goes Overboard

by Robb Reel

No, it's not a reference to Cast Away, the volleyball and Tom Hanks.

This time Wilson did the shouting.

Even casual sports fans recall the spectacle that Brian Wilson was when at the top of his game.  In Game 5 of the 2010 World Series, he closed the door on the Texas Rangers by striking out the side.  That gave San Francisco its first baseball title and the Giants their first since leaving the Polo Grounds back in New York.  

Wilson's trademarks were his wild beard and wild behavior.  They still are.  I have always known that they will be his undoing.  Around the time of the 2010 playoff run, I was chatting with a fellow sportswriter who had worked for me years before.  I predicted that Wilson would be gone from the Giants in less than three years and out of baseball altogether in five.

So far, I am half-right.

Following his second Tommy John surgery -- yes, he's needed it twice -- that sidelined him for almost the entire 2012 season, the Giants let Wilson go as a free agent after seven seasons.  Once the rehab was complete, Wilson signed with the archrival Dodgers midway through 2013.  Did I mention that, even without his services, the Giants won the 2012 World Series?  That was likely a factor in the front office deciding not to put up with his nonsense any further.

Still, as a member of the 2012 championship team, Wilson is entitled a Worlds Series ring.  There had already been considerable disagreement about him getting it.  Then the Dodgers played their last game in San Francisco for the season Thursday night -- the Winchester, Mass., native didn't even pitch in the game -- and Wilson walked to over to the home dugout afterward.  He began what I would call a "heated exchange" with Giants' owner Larry Baer.  He wanted his ring.


It's worth noting that Baer sent the ring to the Dodger clubhouse immediately after the encounter.  According to the organization, the front office has been trying to get a hold of, and the ring to, the 31-year-old for some time.  Based on his mercurial nature, I am much more inclined to side with the team.

We put up with a lot of garbage in the sports world, a lot of bad or just plain stupid behavior.  Wilson has exhibited a fair amount of both, but people think it's interesting or endearing... when he's winning.  The erratic gets whitewashed as "eccentric" so long as someone can deliver.  As soon as s/he can't, the rose-colored glasses come off and we see athletes like Wilson for what they really are.

Keep watching that clock -- those five years, and Wilson's 15 minutes, will be up soon.


[Wilson celebrates the final out of the 2011 MLB All-Star Game in Arizona -- Photo: REUTERS/Jim Young ]