Brian Wilson and his monstrous beard emerged from the bullpen Thursday night wearing that Dodger blue that still seems so strange on him. He was coming into a tie game, 2-2 in the 10th inning. A tense situation, no doubt, but nothing the guy who turned "Fear the Beard" into a way of life hadn't fearlessly faced before.
The situation wasn't new. But the opposition was.
From the mound, he stared at the San Francisco Giants, the team that drafted him in 2003, brought him up through its minor leagues, turned him into its closer and let him grow into this hairy character we see today. This was Wilson's first time pitching against the Giants and it gave San Francisco fans a type of "torture" they'd never experienced.
Wilson shut down the Giants in the 10th inning, making quick work of them, except for a walk to Brandon Belt. He even got his former catcher Buster Posey to line out. When the Dodgers scored the winning run in the bottom of the 10th, it was Wilson who was awarded the win. The upside-downness of this was so confounding that the online box score still had Wilson in Giants gear beating the Giants.
He wasn't bubbly about it. Or sad. Or anything, really. He didn't say much after the game. "I didn't do anything," he told Giants scribe Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area and the flock of reporters waiting to hear if Wilson would unload a goofy quote. He didn't. Just walked on by. He wasn't talking before the game either — blowing off Bay Area reporters, as Baggarly wrote it.
An observation: I saw Giants players/coaches offer WAY more handshakes/hugs/hellos for Melky in Toronto than I saw for Brian Wilson today.
— Andrew Baggarly (@CSNBaggs) September 13, 2013
After the game, the Giants were nice enough when talking about their former fan favorite. According to CSN Bay Area, Posey said "it was fun" facing Wilson. Manager Bruce Bochy commended Wilson for doing to the Giants what he'd watched Wilson do to so many other teams while wearing orange and black.
“Well, he got us out,” Bochy said. “He did his job. He did a good job for us and I appreciate what Brian did for us. He’s with another club, and we were trying to score off him there.”
The two teams have three more games running through Sunday, so there's a good chance Wilson and the Giants might meet again on the field. And he'll have plenty of opportunities to talk nice about the team that gave him a World Series ring, or downplay the whole thing if he so chooses. The reporters — and the eyes of Giants fans — will be stuck on him like a beard on a chin.