Skip to content

Scenes from Spring Training: Brian Wilson is mistaken about a great many things

Mar 11, 2012, 3:00 PM EDT

Brian Wilson AP

So I’m loitering along the rail down the right field line, about 20 feet away from where Brian Wilson, Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Jeremy Affeldt are stretching. When this happens:

Brian Wilson: So you guys would agree that Superman would beat Batman in a fistfight?

Lincecum: I dunno, man. I guess if it’s just fists, sure.

Wilson: Doesn’t matter. Superman definitely wins. No question.

Now, as you know, I am the baseball blogosphere’s foremost expert on Batman and Batman-related subjects. And while, yes, I have a bias here, it does not prevent me from seeing the bleedin’ obvious: that Batman would kick Superman’s butt in a fight. It’s just science.

I felt it necessary to correct Mr. Wilson. To that end, I called up this pic on my phone and showed it to him when he came near:


Me: Brian, I hate to break this to you, but look at this [I show him the pic].

Wilson: [examines the pic]  It never happened.

Me: Sure it did. It’s right there.

Wilson: Nope, never happened.

And then he walked away.

It’s sad that a man with such physical gifts and such obvious intelligence is as deluded on such an important point as Wilson is here. Oh well.

  1. shaggytoodle - Mar 11, 2012 at 3:31 PM

    You are the only person I can think of with a Fathead like that on your wall.

  2. tomemos - Mar 11, 2012 at 3:36 PM

    Craig, that pic from Dark Knight Returns isn’t of “just fists.” Batman is in some crazy robotic exoskeleton, and has already made use of a sonic bomb, missiles, and a kryptonite arrow. If he didn’t have his gadgets he’d be a smear on the post-apocalyptic sidewalk.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Mar 11, 2012 at 3:40 PM

      Oh, not claiming Bats could beat Superman with just fists. That was Lincecum’s caveat, not mine nor Wilson’s. Batman should be able to use his “powers” just as Superman can.

      Now, if you were to take Superman’s powers away and Batman could not use his gadgets, that would be fair. And Batman would put Superman into an intensive care unit someplace.

      • RedHeadedBastard - Mar 11, 2012 at 3:49 PM

        If you want to take away their powers and make it a fair fight, you should let them fight as Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent, respectively. Bruce, the billionaire playboy, would inflict some pretty serious damage on the little nerdy journalist Clark. .

      • whopper17 - Mar 11, 2012 at 4:31 PM

        except nerdy journalist Clark is still freaking superman

      • Baseball Beer Burritos In That Order - Mar 11, 2012 at 7:43 PM

        Craig, I don’t want to play Devil’s Advocate, but the picture as tomemos mentions, references a scene in which Batman tricks superman into being physically vulnerable. Now, while trickery/gadgetry shouldn’t disqualify Bats, I think it is worth pointing out that Batman did not beat Superman alone which I think is a key distinction. Green Arrow is the one who hits Superman with the kryptonite arrow.

        I fully agree with you, of course, that in a man-on-man fist fight with no powers Batman would turn Superman into a toothless rag doll. But this photo is more like Batman and friends v. Superman.

      • Jeremy Fox - Mar 11, 2012 at 10:16 PM

        “if you were to take Superman’s powers away…”

        I’m sure Craig and many readers will correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t Superman have his powers by virtue of being on planet Earth? So doesn’t imagining “Superman without his powers” amount to imagining that Superman isn’t even on Earth to fight Batman?

        It’s like saying, “if you were to take away Albert Pujols’ baseball skills and athletic ability…” At some point, if you take too much away, he stops being Albert Pujols.

      • Baseball Beer Burritos In That Order - Mar 12, 2012 at 1:24 PM


        Superman’s powers come from the sun. In the comic we’re discussing, actually, Superman loses his powers at one point when a nuclear strike/magnetic storm block his access to the sun (he is then revitalized by some plants (?)).

        Goddamnit, I’m such a nerd.

      • borninfellspoint - Mar 13, 2012 at 6:34 AM

        ahhh…the old Frank Miller Dark knight mini series,some of the best Batman stories of all time!

  3. ditto65 - Mar 11, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    I think it is obvious that Brian Wilson a) knows you are a Batmanophile; and b) used that knowledge to get back at you for any previous negative Brian Wilson posts on HBT. (I am sure he catologs them in a virtual dewey decimal system-like card catalog located in his enormous brain.)

    • bravojawja - Mar 12, 2012 at 11:23 AM

      I assume “brain” is a typo for “beard,” right? He could probably fit an actual card catalog in there.

  4. hodaghunter - Mar 11, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    So you’re telling me that Superman who cannot be wounded by bullets, would be wounded by fists? Remember he said, “just fists”
    Superman wins hands down….

    • whopper17 - Mar 11, 2012 at 4:33 PM


  5. Ben - Mar 11, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    Best part of the article–working a dorky Star Wars reference into the title.

    • aceshigh11 - Mar 11, 2012 at 4:25 PM

      Yes, indeed.

      The original trilogy is so seared into my brain that I instantly heard Ian McDiarmid (as the Emperor) gleefully hissing those words in my running interior monologue.

      Being a nerd really is fun.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 11, 2012 at 4:33 PM

        It’s not just being a nerd. Read this link and tell me you didn’t do the same.

  6. losangelasbasketball - Mar 11, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    what is happening to my brain…?

  7. paperlions - Mar 11, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    Batman is an anti-baldite.

    True story.

    • cur68 - Mar 11, 2012 at 7:13 PM

      Well, so’s Superman, given the number of times he’s butted heads with Craig’s muse, Lex Luthor. The point here is that Craig doesn’t lose: whomever loses the fight, an anti-baldite gets a butt-wuppin’. There’s a reason that there’s so few bald good guys. In fact, without Charles Xavier, I can’t think of another good guy. Bald guys are just given to evil.

  8. jtorrey13 - Mar 11, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    If you want to see what would happen when Batman faces Superman (except with the names changed to protect the innocent), check out the first issue of Mark Waid’s “Irredeemable.” One of the best #1 comics I have ever read. One of the best scenes I have ever seen.

    Now that I’ve built it up, feel free to hate it.

  9. lewp - Mar 11, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    Craig, I hate to break this to ya dude…..but Batman can’t fly. Superman can. That in itself should tell you something about a fight between these two.
    Batman has no super powers, just gadgets and a buddy with tight pants.

    • cltjump - Mar 12, 2012 at 1:50 PM

      Robin started wearing pants?

  10. gloccamorra - Mar 11, 2012 at 6:01 PM

    I hate when crowds are so bored by the nuances of baseball that they bat a beach ball around. This post must be the sportswriter equivalent. Fortunately, the phenomenon is probably limited to writers who live where there is cold and ice in the off-season.

    This is their reaction to sunshine and green grass: Spring Fever, I think it’s called. Contrary to popular opinion, the length of Spring Training isn’t meant to give pitchers time to “stretch out” their arms, it’s to get those northern writers time to recover from Spring Fever.

    Fortunately, as April approaches, the writers snap out of it and begin looking for the nuances. It’s too bad that they’ve missed all the Spring Training developments, and embarrass themselves with nutty team projections on opening day. It happens every year.

  11. Gilbert Short - Mar 11, 2012 at 6:19 PM

    Well, my bias is showing, but he’s absolutely right:


  12. hlang - Mar 11, 2012 at 7:03 PM

    In the SM vs. BM scenario, Batman is basically Lex Luthor. An extremely knowledgable and skillful human being with access to unlimited resources. Superman is basically God: Can move and fly faster than the speed of light (so he can reverse time), can lift the continental shelf, can fly unaided in the vacuum of space, can move planets, etc. What Craig knows that Wilson rejects, for good reason, is this: The writer decides. Wilson understandably rejects this notion. But it’s a standoff. Just as national writers continue to characterize, for instance, the Cousins-Posey collision as a matter of “blocking the plate” when it was no such thing, writers could decide that Batman beats Superman. Which is the same as saying he beats God.

    • cur68 - Mar 11, 2012 at 7:16 PM

      Meta-nerding. Awesome.

  13. firstandonlywarning - Mar 12, 2012 at 1:33 AM

    Come now, everyone including Superman knows that Green Lantern is the most powerful

    • dexterismyhero - Mar 12, 2012 at 10:19 AM

      There’s no need to fear…..Underdog is here……aka Wally Cox

  14. Jonny 5 - Mar 12, 2012 at 9:01 AM

    I’m sorry, but Superman has heat vision which would destroy Batman from hundreds of feet away. Easily.

    “these beams can also be used to produce great concussive force rather than heat. The beams are tremendously powerful and can be used to rupture steel plates and pulverize rock. Also in some stories, it can be reflected like a true laser, able to use great skill and accuracy in manipulating the blasts off multiple targets in rapid succession”

    Batman Shatman.

  15. stex52 - Mar 12, 2012 at 9:24 AM

    Superman is a freak of nature and a continuous violation of the second law of thermodynamics. He is an expression of our desire that a supernatural being is there to set things right. Following that logic, the real question was asked on Saturday Night Live about 40 years ago, ” If Jesus fought Superman, who would win?”

    Batman, on the other hand, is not that different from us – a socially undeveloped misanthrope with a miserable childhood. Unlike us, though, he has channelled his inner misery into being a vigilante. He has the same motivations as Superman, but – being human – he gets the crap kicked out of him time after time. But he perserveres and succeeds. He also seems to me to face a lot more criminal psychopaths in Gotham. Must be some message about the northeastern cities.

    In the end you have to go with Batman because you love him for his unhappiness. The millionaire playboy is the fake. The twisted loner who fights for justice is real.

  16. centurio1 - Mar 12, 2012 at 11:03 AM

    Muhammad Ali beat Superman in a fist fight.
    Batman would kick Ali’s a$$.
    Ergo Batman beats Superman.
    History doesn’t lie.

  17. nineroutsider - Mar 12, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    Even if “Bats” were able to beat down Superman, and I’m not convinced that he could, Superman would fly around the world “against the grain” (his time traveling method) and erase the entire incident…we’d never know. I suppose that means Superman wins the war even if he loses the battle…

  18. skerney - Mar 12, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    I only bought DC comics when I had already read all the Marvel titles at the newsstand.

  19. dulljokerman - Mar 26, 2012 at 12:37 AM

    Yes, I am leaving a comment almost two weeks late — blame my friend who just showed me the post.

    I have to take Wilson’s side, but not because Superman could clearly beat Batman, a fight with many stable equilibria. No, instead I will defend his response of “never happened.” Because it did not.

    At this point, all but the highest nerds are saying “Of course it didn’t happen, Superman & Batman aren’t real” which is true in its way. What I am addressing is that The Dark Knight Returns is an Elseworlds title (though published w/out the logo), known in the old days as an “Imaginary Story” (DC’s terminology, not mine). The point of Elseworlds is to tell stories that can take place in alternate universes, or kill off major characters, age them, etc, with no harm done to the flagship titles. Their point in this argument, though, is that, within the DC universe in which this fight would take place, the above panel did not happen.

    So, regardless of the logic behind it, Wilson’s words of “never happened” are 100% correct.

    P.S. You may send my nerd laurels in the mail, as I am the victor.

    P.P.S. If anyone feels like responding to this w/a mockery of how nerdy I am? I already know. God do I know.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. J. Baez (2355)
  2. B. Crawford (2284)
  3. H. Pence (2240)
  4. A. Rodriguez (2220)
  5. B. Harper (2167)