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Big League Stew

Brian Wilson wears cool new shoes, stumps for new teammate

Big League Stew

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PHOENIX — During Tuesday's All-Star game, San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson sported the coolest personalized pair of cleats I've ever seen on a diamond.

But what Wilson would really like is a brand new outfielder.

Despite wearing a pair of shoes that featured his own heavily bearded face (above), Wilson made bigger waves at Chase Field with the public appeals he made for New York Mets right fielder Carlos Beltran before and after the game.

While reading the National League lineup for the FOX broadcast (video here), the eccentric closer made special note of Beltran, who was slotted in the No. 2 spot as the league's designated hitter. With an expiring contract and the Mets seemingly in rebuilding mode — they traded closer Francisco Rodriguez to the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday — Beltran's name has been bandied about by fans of contending teams.

Just never by a potential new teammate. Until now: {YSP:MORE}

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"Carlos Beltran, the guy's a phenomenal hitter, a switch hitter," Wilson said on Fox. "There's talks of him coming over to the Giants. More than welcome. Come on over, pal."

Gotta love Wilson's enthusiasm for improving his team, if not his knack for destroying any leverage that Giants' GM Brian Sabean might have had.

After the NL's 5-1 victory — which Wilson successfully closed by retiring Paul Konerko — Wilson became a popular interview target for New York-based writers seeking an even stronger endorsement of Beltran. Wilson was only too happy to give it to them.

"You know, talking facts. I guess we're in talks and we're talking about Beltran,'' he said. "Everyone knows he's a perennial hitter. He can only help our squad."

"I have no qualms about it. Come on over. I just don't want to be the guy that's traded [for him], though. OK? Let's make sure that doesn't happen."

Beltran says he hopes he stays in New York, but understands if he's dealt. The 34-year-old outfielder is hitting .285 with 13 homers and 58 RBIs during a resurgent season and his skills at the plate would fit perfectly with the runs-starved Giants lineup.

Especially if he goes on the type of playoff tear that he posted with the Houston Astros in 2004, earning him the monster contract that's currently coming to an end with the Mets.

As for Wilson's shoes, I can't remember any athlete ever wearing a pair that featured his own face. It makes sense that Wilson might be the one to bring the cult of personality to one's own feet, though it might be the only time we see that happen. You might remember that after debuting a bright orange pair of shoes during last year's Midsummer Classic, Wilson was forced to give them up in the regular season when then-Florida Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez complained that they were a distraction. It's hard to imagine MLB allowing Wilson to wear his own "Fear the Beard" face out on the field in 2011.

Acquiring Beltran, though, would apparently go a long way in beating the disappointment of those shoes possibly being a one-and-done.

Big BLS H/N: Larry Brown Sports

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