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One more thought on Brian Wilson

Jan 28, 2011, 10:08 AM EDT

Brian Wilson

The George Lopez Show stuff from the last post inspired an offline conversation with someone who wondered whether people might think that Brian Wilson has gone overboard or jumped the shark or whatever.

To this I have to offer an emphatic no.  Wilson may be completely over the top, but I don’t get the sense that he’s putting on some act simply to get noticed.  I get the sense that he is truly a goofball, and is simply enjoying himself now that he’s learned that people don’t mind it when he lets his freak flag fly.  It would be totally different if he was a phony who was out to get attention.  I don’t see that at all.

Not that this will stop someone — be it a blogger, columnist, radio show host or whoever — from soon declaring the shark jumped.  That’s just what we do.  Indeed, when Brian Wilson loses effectiveness as a closer — as all closers inevitably do — I am 100% certain that someone will write the “perhaps Brian Wilson should have been working on his game more than his act” column.  And when I read it I’ll die inside a little.

By its very nature — by virtue of the development process and the kinds of guys who are drawn to it — baseball lends itself to way more conformity than other sports.  The stuff Bouton described in “Ball Four” wasn’t just a 1950s-era hangover.  There’s a big premium placed on not sticking out. There are more coaches who are ex-players who — accurately or not — will say that when they played things were “done the right way” or whatever.  As a result I get why ballplayers are more conservative than their NBA or NFL counterparts.

But there are hundreds of normal workaday ballplayers in the game.  There’s usually only one Bill Lee, Mark Fydrich, Jose Lima or Brian Wilson going at any given time.  When one of them comes along and adds some color, our lives are better for it.

I hope no one gets their nose out of joint over the George Lopez thing. Or the Showtime Series featuring the Giants that will air later this year.  Even if it’s too much for some, it’s enjoyable as hell for a lot of us, so let’s just let it be, OK?

  1. Jonny 5 - Jan 28, 2011 at 11:00 AM

    Sometimes people are just plain goofy. You can ask my wife, kid, and my friends. Even the cat knows. Good for him for letting everyone know by being himself no matter the situation. I don’t have that luxury. I work in a professional environment ,and have to put on an act and there are teeth marks in my tounge from biting it. Well after 7 years of being at the same job, some people have seen the true me, and they seem to like it better once over whatever shock I enduced has subsided. Or they’re afraid, very afraid. Maybe I should wear that Marvin the martian costume I created to work one day, it’s getting dusty…

  2. clydeserra - Jan 28, 2011 at 11:05 AM

    Baseball, I would guess, has less non-conformists because players don’t have an immediate impact of the game from the day they are drafted. They need to percolate through the minors, giving coaches more time to say “hey weirdo, you are not getting to AA with that kind of attitude.” And they believe it.

  3. scapistron - Jan 28, 2011 at 11:29 AM

    Your post needs a pozterisc.

    Not that this will stop someone — be it a blogger, columnist, radio show host or whoever — from soon declaring the shark jumped. That’s just what we do. Indeed, when Brian Wilson loses effectiveness as a closer — as all closers inevitably do* — I am 100% certain that someone will write the “perhaps Brian Wilson should have been working on his game more than his act” column. And when I read it I’ll die inside a little.

    * That guy on the Yankees is not human, therefore this statement does not apply

  4. jh0088 - Jan 28, 2011 at 12:56 PM

    Brian Wilson gets to be more Joaquin Pheonix than Joaquin Pheonix.

  5. baseballisboring - Jan 28, 2011 at 1:34 PM

    Brian Wilson’s from my home town…my dad coached him in high school as a freshman. The goofball thing is most definitely not an act. He is a dick, though. His senior yearbook quote was something like “You will all be pumping my gas one day”. I don’t really care though…he’s entertaining.

  6. Mike Luna - Jan 28, 2011 at 1:42 PM

    I thought Brian Wilson “jumped the shark” or whatever ages ago. Maybe I just don’t get him. I don’t think he’s funny and I don’t understand why people are so drawn to him. I think he’s boring and his material is tired.

    He’s into 8mm, but so what? He grew a beard, but lots of people grow beards [myself included].

    Even if he’s weird, I don’t think he’s as weird as he lets on. There’s no question in my mind that at least some of it is an act and I’ve felt that way for almost as long as I’ve been aware of him.

    I’m not trying to be contrary or troll, but wanted you to know what there is at least one person out there that’s not buying what Wilson is selling. Perhaps I’m not alone…but I probably am.

    • motherscratcher23 - Jan 28, 2011 at 3:28 PM

      You sound like a fun guy to hang out with.

      • Mike Luna - Jan 28, 2011 at 4:35 PM

        You’re right. I’m lame because I’m not infatuated with the guy’s beard.

        Thanks for setting me straight.

      • tomemos - Jan 28, 2011 at 5:39 PM

        You’re lame because you’ve been overthinking Brian Wilson for, apparently, several years now.

    • Mike Luna - Jan 28, 2011 at 6:26 PM

      I’m not sure how having an opinion about the guy is overthinking him. If that’s the case, I’ve been overthinking just about everyone in the national sports scene.

      Either way, it wouldn’t have been several years. I only really became aware of Wilson when the ‘Fear the Beard’ stuff started up.

      • tomemos - Jan 28, 2011 at 8:05 PM

        You’ve been aware of the guy since, what, August, and you call that “ages ago”? And you wrote four paragraphs on this guy that you apparently don’t care about–four paragraphs that just amount to “he’s not that great”–and yet you don’t understand why you strike people as joyless? Heck, I’m a Giants fan and I didn’t even know he was “into 8mm,” and in fact I don’t even know what that means. Like, the Nicolas Cage movie?

      • Mike Luna - Jan 28, 2011 at 9:41 PM

        I don’t live in San Fran and I don’t follow the NL as much, so I was only made aware of Wilson when ESPN started paying attention to him towards the end of last season.

        I might have written four paragraphs, but I was trying to make my point thoroughly so I wouldn’t seem like I was trolling.

        This post was inspired by Craig talking to someone about whether people might think that Brian Wilson has “jumped the shark” and my whole point is that at least one person thinks so. Me.

        I think it’s unfair to assume that I’m joyless just because I don’t find Wilson’s antics entertaining. There’s a lot of joy in my life, but none of it stems from Brian Wilson. That’s just my opinion.

        (Yeah. The Nicholas Cage movie.)

  7. jhorton83 - Jan 28, 2011 at 2:12 PM

    Brian Wilson is the baseball version of Zach Galifianakis (the guy from “The Hangover”). Same brand of random non-sequitur oddball comedy (along with the beard thing too). I find his shtick funny personally, so more power to him.

  8. sosascork - Jan 28, 2011 at 2:21 PM

    And I thought this was the goofiest cloers out there:

  9. seeingwhatsticks - Jan 28, 2011 at 3:13 PM

    Tough to argue that Wilson’s act, if you want to call it that, is hurting his performance since he’s improved his numbers every year he’s been the closer and has added an effective cutter to his repertoire. Wilson can still bring some heat but he’s not living and dying by his ability to throw the ball past people anymore. Most closers struggle to make that adjustment and so far he has. I’d say he’s got a pretty good chance to be an effective closer longer than most.

  10. feartherallythong - Jan 28, 2011 at 3:25 PM

    I am more convinced by the day that this is a combination of 24/7 performance art, ala Andy Kaufman, and daily auditioning for life after baseball. On TV. He’s just doing his “Emmy push” before he gets a role on a sitcom…

    • natedawg321 - Jan 28, 2011 at 5:18 PM

      This is correct. Giants beat writer Andy Baggerly described him as someone like Stephen Colbert, a person who acts in character (that goes by the real name) 100% of the time when around other people.

      To me, the number one benefit of all of this was watching Chris Rose do the celebration interviews, the look of veiled terror on his face knowing that he interviewing Wilson on live national TV was an all-time highlight.

  11. 22gigantes - Jan 28, 2011 at 11:08 PM

    Yo Craig, had you actually took the time to read my blog TWO WEEKS AGO (Jan 14), you would have seen that this blogger did in fact declared the shark jumped.

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