October 26, 2010
SAN FRANCISCO — During Tuesday's World Series media day, one reporter asked San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson(notes) about his rapidly growing beard — which is increasing both in length and popularity — and whether or not he has ever considered dying it orange for the upcoming championship battle against the Texas Rangers.
Wilson initially humored the reporter's query with an "I thought about it," before seemingly realizing that he's never publicly admitted to coloring his wonderful whiskers.
"It's just dark because we play a lot of day games," Wilson said, backtracking. "It's really tan. It's just focused."
Because his beard is black and his mohawk is brown, Wilson knows that too many people won't buy his reasoning. But that's pretty much besides the point because Wilson knows the fans are having as much fun with his face as he is.
He started growing the beard in the second half and it has grown as the Giants marched toward the National League pennant and Wilson recorded a MLB-high 48 saves. Now any look up into the stands at AT&T Park is filled with fans wearing fake beards or waving Wilson volleyballs with beards and mohwawks — a black-and-orange tinged nod to the Tom Hanks movie "Cast Away," of course.
Wilson says there are so many impersonators running around San Francisco now that he would consider dressing up as himself for Halloween if 1) he hadn't "been a vampire for the past 24 years" and 2) the Giants weren't scheduled to play Game 4 against the Rangers in Texas that day.
"I've already seen pumpkins being carved [with my likeness and beard]," Wilson said. "I've seen stores selling the beard and mohawk. I think people would probably look at me and say 'Wow, that guy really looks like Brian, but it's not him.'"
While hockey has its superstitious playoff beard, Wilson claims he didn't lose his razor as a way to get the Giants into their first World Series since 2002.
"I think it was just something fun to do," Wilson said. "Fans enjoy it. When fans enjoy it, you can feel the energy from them.
"I didn't think it would take a life of its own ... But fans come to the game, they get dressed up, they get amped up and they really put their heart and soul into cheering. And we feel it. We feel it from pitch one to the last one."
Wilson has pitched five innings so far this postseason and has yet to give up an earned run. He keeps it up and San Francisco will soon look like the Summer of Love again.
Only in late October, of course.