Jeff Riger: My New Favorite Athlete!
OK, so I have a new favorite athlete and he plays for the San Francisco Giants. No I’m not talking about former Tigers Cody Ross, Andres Torress or even Aubry Huff, I’m talking about “Blackbeard” Brian Wilson. For those people that did not see the game on Friday night you missed one of the greatest blow ups in at least the last decade. Sure it could have been staged by a guy that loves being in the media limelight but it was awesome none the less!
Here is what happened! On Thursday in Chicago, the Giants led the Cubs 1-0 going into the bottom of the ninth inning. Wilson was brought in to get the save as the team was ready to get out of town. But instead, Wilson promptly gave up a solo home run to Aramis Rameriz and the Cubs ended up winning the game 5-2 in 13 innings. So you can imagine that the man with the greatest beard in baseball was already in a bad mood when he got to Comerica Park on Friday. Well that mood worsened late in the game on Friday night as the Giants once again led 1-0 and this time Wilson was brought in with 2 outs in the 8th inning. Blackbeard promptly gave up a game tying single to Magglio Ordonez and for the second straight game, Wilson had blown a save. But that is not when the temper tantrum took place, not yet, because the Giants came back in the top of the 9th inning and scored three runs, 2 of which came off of Tiger pitching walking batters with the bases loaded and San Fran led 4-1. So even though Wilson blew a save he still had a chance to get a win.
In the bottom of the 9th inning, Wilson gave up a couple hits and then a run and was quickly taken out of the game in hopes that San Francisco reliever Jeremy Affeldt could pick up Wilson and help the Giants win the game which he did. But it was what happened when Wilson was yanked that turned out to be the story of the game. As soon as “Blackbeard” entered the dugout he made a run at the Gatorade jug. He threw it down and then grabbed a bat and with perfect form struck the helpless jug lying on the ground. Wilson then attempted to punch what looked like the wall with his left glove hand. The entire blow up took about 45 seconds to a minute. Camera men were scared for their lives as Wilson could have been mistaken as any murderous bad guy from any scary movie ever made. The man was pissed! Nobody wanted to be around him!
The Giants ended up winning the game 4-3 and Wilson picked up his 6th win of the year but that was nothing for him to be happy about. He took a shower then got dressed and proceeded to stand in front of his locker as the media grilled him about his fit that was already being televised on the clubhouse television. The closer said all the right things from him not making excuses to the fact that he doesn’t believe in bad luck, it’s his bad execution that he is worried about. But this stuff didn’t interest me, it didn’t interest anybody, I wanted to know what that poor Gatorade jug did to him that he had to kill it, I wanted to know about the temper tantrum that had scared so many. So I asked! “Brian is it going to be tough to watch yourself back on Sports Center tonight?” His response was priceless! “I don’t watch Sports Center so it’s not going to be too difficult, I mean why would that be difficult, I squared it up (the bat on the jug)” The whole media laughed! I thought to myself, what a guy! He is cracking jokes when minutes before he could have possibly killed someone if they had gotten in his way. Of course while this was going on, Affeldt, the pitcher that ended up getting the save and saving the day was sitting in the corner fake coughing and saying “bad question” for everything that the media threw Wilson’s way. Another reporter made note of the fact that he thought Wilson punched the wall and if his hand was ok? Wilson stated very seriously “its fine, my hand is fine, ask the wall.” Again the media cracked up and then the interview was over.
Wilson was still pissed but he took the time to answer questions and was engaging about it. Many athletes after bad outings will leave the premises before the media can fire questions at them, but Wilson knew he was the story, he knew people wanted to hear from him so he talked and he gave solid answers. That is why he is my new favorite athlete. That and the fact that I could show up on Showtime! Ohh wait did I leave that part out? Showtime is filming a show about the Giants. It is called “Franchise” and cameras have full access to the World Champions. So of course they filmed the entire Wilson blow up and his entire 4 minute media session as well. I asked one of the workers if what they just got on tape was video gold and his answer was “hell yeah!” So I’m hoping when it airs that I can be seen. So yes, there is a selfish element to this entire blog as well.
But I know what you’re thinking! You are thinking that because Showtime is filming this program that maybe Wilson felt like he had to play to the cameras? I thought the same thing! And you know what? If he did, then he has got more talent than just throwing a baseball 97 miles per hour.
Watch the blow up below and you tell me if he was putting on a show or of he was legitimately pissed?