SAN FRANCISCO — A ceremony before Tuesday’s game ended the way so many Giants games once did: With Brian Wilson on the mound throwing to Buster Posey.
Wilson was a surprise guest at the home opener. After a parade of Giants legends took the field to celebrate the organization’s 60th year in San Francisco, a clean-shaven Wilson jogged in from center field, took the mound and fired the ceremonial first pitch to Posey. Wilson has largely been absent from the public eye since his career ended after the 2014 season, and that was the last time he was at AT&T Park. What has he been doing?
“Eating raw food and hanging out,” he said.
Wilson lives in the Los Angles area these days but said he plans to be seen in San Francisco more often. He said Larry Baer was instrumental in bringing him back into the fold after two years with the Dodgers, and credited Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper with helping the reunion happen.
While the Giants love to bring their former players back, this was one reunion that looked unlikely. Wilson confronted Baer near the Giants dugout after a Giants-Dodgers game in 2013, but on Tuesday he said that ring dustup was overblown. He claimed his bushy black beard made it look more intimidating than it was.
“I guess what people saw was it was some argument, but it wasn’t,” he said. “It was just a conversation … we’re good.”
Wilson was often almost a caricature of himself during the final years of his career, but he was laid-back while talking to reporters during Tuesday’s game. He said he couldn't sleep Monday night because of the jitters involved with throwing out the first pitch on two days notice. He brought his own uniform for the ceremony and took the field fully dressed.
“Why not have the last uniform I put on be the 38 Giants uniform? This is my uniform,” he said. “I had it all, especially the cleats that I got fined for.”
One thing was missing. Wilson shaved his famous beard a year ago.
“It wasn’t like a big deal,” he said. “It was a big deal because I was like, ‘holy crap, that’s my face.’”
The lack of a beard led to a bit of a confusing moment when Wilson was announced. His “House of Pain” walk-up song blasted through the park but the sellout crowd had a mixed reaction. Some didn’t seem to recognize the player running in from center field. Others seemed unsure of how to react to a man who left the Giants for the Dodgers. Wilson was fine with all reactions.
“You’re allowed to do whatever you want, just be loud about it,” he said. “Show your emotions, just be loud about it.”