This post was manufactured by machinery that also processes armchair psychology. So if you're allergic, you've been warned.
Do you know the kind of ego it usually takes to be a major-league baseball player? It comes naturally for some, but others were drafted late, moved slowly, hurt, ineffective, demoted, promoted only to struggle, demoted again, hurt, traded, told to repeat a year, and hurt again. The only thing that keeps some players going is an unwavering belief that they're going to persevere. Conviction they're going to be better than everyone else. They're going to be the people who make it to the last rounds of Baseball Idol because they're more talented than everyone else.
Brian Wilson was one of those. He done busted his elbow before he could even be drafted. Then he was drafted late, and struggled in his rookie season. He didn't make the majors for good until he was 25, and then he slowly climbed the bullpen ranks. By the time he's striking out Nelson Cruz, he doesn't just think he's King Badass. He knows it. He has a velvet cape inscribed with "King Badass," and interns are feeding him grapes as he wears it around the house. You want your closer to think like that. He should feel like one of the most important parts of the team.
Then the Giants won a World Series without him. Didn't need him in the slightest. In fact, if he had been on the team, there's a chance they wouldn't have won it. A cutter flapping its seams in one part of the world, and all that.
Man, that has to screw up an ego.
Then, instead of the Giants exercising a $6 million option as a kind of "services rendered" bonus for 2010, they cut Wilson loose. That was practical. The Giants paid Wilson over $22 million in his career, and they did it because they wanted the team to win the World Series. Which happened. That was the whole point. So … no, there's no "services rendered" bonus, even if it seems a little harsh to just cut the guy loose.
The ego probably built up some serious anti-missile-defense systems over time. The team winning without Wilson and then cutting him loose would seem like a great way to feel unwanted and unneeded. But the ego isn't letting that happen. It's channelling that darkness into rage.
So that's how you get Brian Wilson yelling at Larry Baer about respect , perceived slights, and proper tributes. This doesn't mean that Wilson is anything but a dingus. And the timing of the confrontation suggests that maybe, just maybe, Wilson was looking for attention. The dingus.
But I don't ever want to look at something like this through the prism of what I would have done. Because I'm a civilian. Wilson is deep in an alternate reality, in which baseball is the most important thing in the world. It's like he's actually living in Days of Our Lives, where a lifetime's worth of dramatic events are scrunched into an hour before it starts again the next day.
Still a dingus. Pick a better time. And if the Giants are being honest about how often they tried to contact Wilson, maybe it wouldn't hurt for him to take a weekend trip outside of that alternate reality every so often. Because that's just weird.
The most important part of this? Wilson finally became the WWF villain that some Giants fans made him out to be as soon as the Dodgers deal was announced. There was a little bit of a schism between the fans who were able to write him off immediately, and the people who keep thinking about the strikeout looking to Ryan Howard and the strikeout swinging to Nelson Cruz. Those were two of the greatest baseball moments most of us will ever experience. It's hard to let go.
It's a little easier now, even if it's still mostly impossible
Tromping across the field in Dodger blue to yell at someone from the Giants' front office because of something incredibly silly? That's Sgt. Slaughter supporting Saddam Hussein in Operation Desert Storm. It's an absurd storyline that shouldn't work … but danged if it's not effective.
When Wilson signed with the Dodgers, the consensus was "gross." Now? Kinda hoping he re-signs. It's pretty good theater, probably because he thinks this whole thing is real. Nobody tell him. This is getting good. The more oblivious, the better, Brian Wilson. Keep it up.