November 02, 2010
It's a routine well-known to baseball fans. After recording the final out of a ballgame, the San Francisco Giants closer turns away from the plate, crosses his foreams in front of his chest and quickly looks toward the sky. It's a MMA signal that he says he adopted and adapted to honor both his late father — who passed away from cancer when Brian was only 17 — and his Christian faith.
It's also the signal that he performed just after striking out Nelson Cruz(notes) to seal the Giants' first title since 1954 with a 3-1 victory and just before his teammates mobbed him out on the mound at Rangers Ballpark.
After the celebration had calmed down somewhat, I asked the closer with the dyed beard he won't admit to if this signal meant more than the others he's made in the past.
"This one was the most special, sure" he said. "It showed that hard work really does pay off. That's what my dad always taught me."
Wilson's tribute to his father has been misinterpreted by other players in the past — most notably by Casey Blake in 2009 — but it's a move that only gets attention because we write about it, not because Wilson makes a big production of it. (He usually does it rather quickly and it's never in the face of an opponent or anything like that.)
At any rate, this makes for the second straight year that we've feature a father and son moment of sorts at the World Series. When the New York Yankees won last year's World Series, we brought you the scene where Joba Chamberlain(notes) shared a hug with his dad.
Today, it's Brian Wilson showing the world his sentimental side by sharing the day with his dad who can no longer be there.