Brian Wilson sprinted out from behind the wall in a game-used jersey and bright orange shoes that he was once fined for wearing by Major League Baseball. Before Tuesday, you would’ve thought that was the setup to a story about the arrest of Brian Wilson outside Whisky a Go Go, but since this is Brian Wilson we’re talking about, it actually means something far more weird happened — he did something quaint. Almost normal. He threw out the first pitch for the Giants’ home opener.
Under normal Brian Wilson circumstances, we would’ve heard about this beforehand. There would’ve been a huge build up. He would’ve been obnoxious on TV and we might’ve chuckled about it. And then afterwards we would’ve forgotten and moved on. But it became a Twitter Moment —
— which, yes, Twitter Moments are incredibly lame and this was the first time one has ever been used in a baseball article without irony, but perhaps it’s also an interesting metaphor for the entire Brian Wilson Experience...?
Brian Wilson says he will be around the Giants more often. Just needed an icebreaker. Oh and his uniform was legit game used, down to the cleats he got fined for wearing.— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) April 3, 2018
Is that a threat?
Who knows if Wilson’s plan to “be around” fits with the Giants desire to have him around “more often”. Certainly, his presence at the home opener, throwing out the first pitch in front of bona fide legends like Mays, McCovey, and Bonds, suggests that the Giants aren’t all out on him, but the life of a former major leaguer, a former champion, a former star is a weird one. And being attached to a movie as a producer that’s clearly stuck in development hell — it takes years and years and years to get a movie made — is absolutely no fun. We can all be sympathetic, especially because of the good memories. And yet...
Recall that he got caught up in the Charlie Sheen coke dudes orbit after signing with the Dodgers which led to this movie producer thing. Recall that he made our stomachs turn by helping the Dodgers win a playoff series. Recall that he had a public to do with Larry Baer and then turned around and said it looked bad only because of his beard, which in this case is the “I had a big bowl of chili for lunch” of defenses. The Giants are gambling that fans will buy anything labeled “2010” and they may be right. And Wilson has been so used to the spotlight and attention that after running out of that in tough LA maybe he sees a chance to win it all back in forgiving SF.
It gets real tricky parsing intentions and whatever I think I know about human nature or can call up about baseball history, any of you can counter with your own views and experiences with human nature and baseball knowledge. So, I’ll just end on this: Brian Wilson is an odd player in Giants history. He’s not even a polarizing figure. He’s merely... odd. But the Giants really only know one way to honor former players, particularly the World Series champs: they’re heroes and legends. The facts declare him a baseball hero, but only Brian Wilson has made himself a legend. Right? I mean, I don’t know.