Tagged: Brian Wilson

The Worst MLB Trade Rumor Of All Time

Brian Wilson, the bearded, All-Star closer for the San Francisco Giants’ pitching prowess is to be admired. In 2010 (his last full season) he lead the league in saves, finished 7th in Cy Young Award voting, and 13th in the MVP race. He also lead his team to a World Series victory. 

In 2011 his season was cut short due to an elbow injury. 2012 seemed promising as he participated in Spring Training, but after only two games he was forced to have Tommy John surgery. 

While fans mourned the loss of Wilson, another bearded reliever took the lead- Sergio Romo. While the Giants maintained a quasi-closer by committee role at first, Romo eventually seemed to best Casilla and the other contenders for the position. Now, with Romo at the back of the bullpen, and Wilson arbitration eligible, the question becomes where will Wilson end up.

To my mind, the answer is simple. The Giants should keep Wilson, allow him to recover, and keep him in the bullpen. Wilson’s leadership qualities and quirkiness have helped define the 2010 and 2012 World Series Champions San Francisco Giants. 

But, more important than his pitching statistics or his leadership ability, is Brian Wilson’s ability to market himself, and his franchise. 

Wilson is outlandish, his off the field antics often overwhelm his on field performance, and yet it is somehow not distracting from the Giants’ organization. Over the past few years Wilson has pulled the following stunts- The Machine on Chris Rose’s The Cheap Seats, the speedo tuxedo at the 2011 ESPYs, the Sasquatch at the 2012 ESPYS, driving around San Francisco on a motorized scooter, Uncaged with Sasquatch, his Nike shoes, and countless others. Wilson has also stared in a number of commercials- Taco Bell, MLB2K11, NBA2K12, SportsCenter, and that isn’t all of them. Wilson also does advertising for Nike. In short, wherever Wilson is, San Francisco fans, and MLB fans alike are watching- he is a marketing machine. 

Why, then, would you propose sending Wilson to the ONE PLACE in the league where these antics will be frowned upon and entirely shut down- the Yankees? Yes, the Yakees who made Johnny Damon shave his beard. The Yankees have a storied history of not allowing facial hair on the team. And their manager, Joe Girardi doesn’t like it either. 

Can you really trade a player affectionately nicknamed, The Beard, to a team that doesn’t allow beards? Isn’t this the opposite of every basic marketing principle? Wilson, and his antics, are incongruent with the Yankees brand- so don’t try to mesh the two. 

So Giants, if you do decide to trade Wilson, please do yourself a favor and market him for what he is, and excellent closer, coming back from Tommy John surgery who is a risk, but focus on the additional upside of his marketing value. Wilson will fill seats- if he is playing or not.

There are 28 clubs outside of the Giants and the Yankees. So send him somewhere we can keep the beard. 

An Open Letter to Brian Wilson

Dear Brian Wilson,

On the eve of one of the saddest days of the year, the last day of the Major League Baseball Season, I wanted to take the time to thank you.

As a twenty-three year old baseball fan I spent the majority of my formative baseball years adoring players who, during the majority of my (albeit few) adult years were not inducted into the Hall of Fame, but rather spent their time sitting in front of congress and being persecuted in the court of public opinion. Yes, as a twenty-three year old baseball fan the majority of my baseball years have been marred with asterisks and fallen heroes.

There were guys who were all but certainly using steroids, there were guys who were never suspected, and there were guys who I just couldn’t bring myself to believe could have tarnished the game (perhaps more appropriately, tarnished my pure image of the game). Those in the last category fell the hardest. Those in the last category broke my heart.

As a fan of pitchers, pitching duels, pitching idiosyncrasies, pitching records, I couldn’t bring myself to believe that Roger Clemens had used steroids. These accusations, the idea that everything I had cherished for years might somehow be false, or tainted caused me to question the validity of the only thing I had ever truly loved; the game of baseball. When it was revealed that A-Rod, a player I had never suspected, and always defended, had used steroids my heart could no longer take it. When I realized that the perfect embodiment of the so-called “American Dream,” the idea of a level playing field, of hard work, and pulling oneself up by the bootstraps had failed, I became disenchanted with game.

More importantly, when I turned on a game and was bombarded with news of who was found to be in this report. Who was now being deposed. Who may or may not have taken steroids. When I could no longer listen to a game or news broadcast to learn the updated stats of my favorite players, I became disenchanted.

This isn’t to say I didn’t love baseball, but rather that baseball had broken my heart in a way no boy ever could. But still, as someone still so in love (an unrequited love) I remained friends with baseball. Always there to support it, but hurting inside knowing that everything I had ever thought to be true was false. Realizing that the numbers and statistics I had adoringly memorized as fact were somehow fiction.

Last season as you, Brian, decided to grow out your beard, as your Giants made an improbable run to the World Series championed by Weez and your fastball, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the game again. The 2010 Giants embodied baseball, 25 guys working together on a level playing field to accomplish a goal, and not letting anything in the way of that goal.

But, perhaps more than the team, more than the championship, more than anything, it is your carefree, passionate, and often hilarious persona that has reconnected myself (and many others) with the game I grew up loving. Despite a few stints on the disabled list, through a series of interviews, commercials, outstanding pitching performances, and the maintenance of Weez, you have refocused baseball on baseball and fun (and away from steroids and negativity).

The Sports Pickle ran an article earlier this year entitled “Brian Wilson’s Beard Apparently MLB’s Entire 2011 Marketing Campaign”, and with good reason- The Beard was in a plethora of commercials. The Beard, The Machine, whatever else you want to throw at us remind us that baseball is a game to be enjoyed on and off the field.

This season I went to 17 regular season games and 3 spring training games. I saw you in your spring training debut, and on Brian Wilson Jersey day against the Phillies in August as you closed out a game for Lincecum. As you warmed up in the Giants’ bullpen, your face, beard and pitching highlights were displayed on the big screen while the crowd went wild. An otherwise stressful outing with playoff implications was turned into a joyous event as the AT&T faithful were assured you would bring home the win.

A Giants’ fan or not, it is impossible not to love what you have done for the game of baseball over the past year. Fans of every team must agree that the positive exposure you have given the game in a post steroid era (especially after the year of the pitcher) is incredible for the game as a whole. You have earned yourself a rare place in the baseball history books, one based not only on stats or rings, but overall impact on baseball.

Thank you, Brian Wilson, for The Machine, The Beard, The Speedo Tuxedo, the impressive pitching, the commercials, the flair, and the passionate, positive attitude. Thank you for reminding me what baseball is about.

I’m already counting down the days to next season, I’ll be wearing my “Fear the Beard” shirt, as long as you continue to inspire.

Thanks again,

Coral

P.S. I would love to see Weez break another bat in the dugout while you wear your Marty McFly Nikes.

A New Venture- Topp’s Allen and Ginter 2011

I have been fascinated by baseball cards for sometime now, I love reading about players and absorbing their stats.

This year’s Allen and Ginter set contains a short issue insert set, The Fabulous Faces of Flocculence, that I am very intrigued by. There is a Brian Wilson “The Closer” card which pays homage to his beard.

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I broke a box of A&G in hopes of finding the beard card, unfortunately I had no such luck. I am looking to buy sell and trade within the set. Below is a check list of all 350 cards in the base set, with a notation next to it of whether or not I have it. Let me know if you have any interest in them for purchase or trade.

PLAYER BASE CARD
1 Carlos Gonzalez
2 Ty Wigginton Have It
3 Lou Holtz Have It
4 Jhoulys Chacin
5 Aroldis Chapman RC
6 Micky Ward Have It
7 Mickey Mantle
8 Alexei Ramirez
9 Joe Saunders Have It
10 Miguel Cabrera Have It
11 Marc Fargione Have It
12 Hope Solo
13 Brett Anderson
14 Adrian Beltre
15 Diana Turasi
16 Gordon Beckham
17 Jonthan Papelbon
18 Daniel Hudson
19 Daniel Bard
20 Jeremy Hellickson
21 Logan Morrison
22 Michael Bourn Have It
23 Aubrey Huff
24 Kristi Yamaguchi
25 Nelson Cruz
26 Edwin Jackson
27 Dillon Gee RC
28 John Lindsey RC Have It
29 Johnny Cueto Have It
30 Hanley Ramirez
31 Jimmy Rollins Have It
32 Dirk Hayhurst
33 Curtis Granderson
34 Pedro Ciriaco RC Have It
35 Adam Dunn
36 Eric Sogard RC
37 Fausto Carmona Have It
38 Angel Pagan Have It
39 Stephen Drew Have It
40 John McEnroe Have It
41 Carlos Santana Have It
42 Heath Bell Have It
43 Jake LaMotta
44 Ozzie Martinez
45 Annika Sorenstam Have It
46 Edinson Volquez 2
47 Phil Hughes
48 Francisco Liriano
49 Javier Vazquez
50 Carl Crawford
51 Tim Collins RC Have It
52 Francisco Cordero Have It
53 Chipper Jones
54 Austin Jackson
55 Dustin Pedroia
56 Scott Kazmir
57 Derek Jeter
58 Alcides Escobar
59 Jeremy Jeffress RC Have It
60 Brandon Belt RC
61 Brian Roberts
62 Alfonso Soriano
63 Neil Walker Have It
64 Ricky Romero
65 Ryan Howard
66 Starlin Castro
67 Delmon Young
68 Max Scherzer
69 Neftali Feliz Have It
70 Evan Longoria Have It
71 Chris Perez
72 Maxim Shmyrev
73 Brandon Morrow
74 Torii Hunter Have It
75 Jose Reyes
76 Chase Headley Have It
77 Rafael Furcal
78 Luke Scott
79 Aimee Mullins
80 Joey Votto
81 Yonder Alonso RC
82 Scott Rolen Have It
83 Mat Hoffman
84 Gregory Infante RC
85 Chris Sale RC
86 Greg Halman RC
87 Colby Lewis Have It
88 David Ortiz
89 John Axford
90 Roy Halladay
91 Joel Pineiro
92 Michael Pineda RC
93 Evan Lysacek
94 Josh Rodriguez RC
95 Dan Uggla
96 Daniel Boulud Have It
97 Zach Britton RC Have It
98 Jason Bay
99 Placido Polanco Have It
100 Albert Pujols
101 Peter Bourjous Have It
102 Wandy Rodriguez
103 Andres Torres
104 Huston Street Have It
105 Ubaldo Jimenez Have It
106 Jonathan Broxton
107 Ludwig Zamenhof
108 Roy Oswalt
109 Martin Prado
110 Jake McGee RC
111 Pablo Sandoval
112 Tim Scheif Have It
113 Miguel Montero
114 Brandon Phillips
115 Shin-Soo Choo
116 Josh Beckett Have it CODE CARD
117 Jonathan Sanchez Have It
118 Rafael Soriano
119 Nancy Lopez
120 Adrian Gonzalez
121 J.D. Drew Have It
122 Ryan Dempster
123 Rajai Davis
124 Chad Billingsley Have It
125 Clayton Kershaw
126 Jair Jurrjens Have It
127 James Loney
128 Michael Cuddyer Have It
129 Kelly Johnson
130 Robinson Cano Have It
131 Chris Iannetta
132 Colby Rasmus
133 Geno Auriemma
134 Matt Cain
135 Kyle Petty
136 Dick Vitale
137 Carlos Beltran
138 Matt Garza
139 Tim Howard Have It
140 Felix Hernandez Have It
141 Vernon Wells 2
142 Michael Young Have It
143 Carlos Zambrano Have It
144 Jorge Posada
145 Victor Martinez
146 John Danks
147 George W. Bush Have It
148 Sanya Richards
149 Lars Anderson RC
150 Troy Tulowitzki Have It
151 Brandon Beachy RC Have It
152 Jordan Zimmermann Have It
153 Scott Cousins RC Have It
154 Todd Helton
155 Josh Johnson
156 Marlon Byrd
157 Corey Hart Have It
158 Billy Butler Have It
159 Shawn Michaels Have It
160 David Wright
161 Casey McGehee Have It
162 Mat Latos
163 Ian Kennedy
164 Heather Mitts Have It
165 Jo Frost Have It
166 Geovany Soto Have It
167 Adam LaRoche
168 Carlos Marmol
169 Dan Haren Have It & Code Card (2)
170 Tim Lincecum
171 John Lackey Have It
172 Yunesky Maya RC
173 Mariano Rivera
174 Joakim Soria Have It
175 Jose Bautista Have It
176 Brian Bogusevic RC
177 Aaron Crow RC
178 Ben Revere RC Have It
179 Shane Victorino Have It
180 Kyle Drabek RC
181 Mark Buehrle
182 Clay Buchholz
183 Mike Napoli Have It
184 Pedro Alvarez
185 Justin Upton
186 Yunel Escobar
187 Jim Nantz
188 Daniel Descalso RC
189 Dexter Fowler
190 Sue Bird Have It
191 Matt Guy
192 Carl Pavano
193 Jorge De La Rosa
194 Rick Porcello Have It
195 Tommy Hanson
196 Jered Weaver Have It
197 Jay Bruce Have It
198 Freddie Freeman RC
199 Jake Peavy
200 Josh Hamilton
201 Andrew Romine RC Have It
202 Nick Swisher Have It
203 Aaron Hill
204 Jim Thome Have It
205 Kendry Morales
206 Tsuyoshi Nishioka RC
207 Kosuke Fukudome Have It
208 Marco Scutaro Have It
209 Guy Fieri Have It
210 Chase Utley
211 Francisco Rodriguez
212 Aramis Ramirez
213 Xavier Nady Have It
214 Elvis Andrus
215 Andrew McCutchen Have It
216 Jose Tabata Have It
217 Shaun Marcum Have It
218 Bobby Abreu Have It
219 Johan Santana
220 Prince Fielder
221 Mark Rogers RC
222 James Shields Have It
223 Chuck Woolery
224 Jason Kubel Have It
225 Jack LaLanne Have It
226 Andre Ethier
227 Lucas Duda RC
228 Brandon Snyder RC
229 Juan Pierre Have It
230 Mark Teixeira Have It
231 C.J. Wilson
232 Picabo Street
233 Ben Zobrist Have It
234 Chrissie Wellington Have It
235 Cole Hamels Have It
236 B.J. Upton
237 Carlos Quentin
238 Rudy Ruettiger
239 Brett Myers
240 Matt Holliday
241 Ike Davis Have It
242 Cheryl Burke Have It
243 Mike Nickeas RC
244 Chone Figgins
245 Brian McCann
246 Ian Kinsler
247 Yadier Molina Have It
248 Ervin Santana
249 Carlos Ruiz
250 Ichiro Have It
251 Ian Desmond Have It
252 Omar Infante
253 Mike Minor Have It
254 Denard Span
255 David Price
256 Hunter Pence Have It
257 Andrew Bailey
258 Howie Kendrick Have It
259 Tim Hudson
260 Alex Rodriguez
261 Carlos Pena
262 Manny Pacquiao Have it as code
263 Mark Trumbo RC Have It
264 Adam Jones Have It
265 Buster Posey
266 Chris Coghlan Have It
267 Brett Sinkbeil RC
268 Dallas Braden
269 Derrek Lee
270 Kevin Youkilis Have It
271 Chris Young
272 Wee Man
273 Brent Morel RC
274 Stan Lee Have It
275 Justin Verlander Have It
276 Desmond Jennings RC Have It
277 Hank Conger RC Have It
278 Travis Snider
279 Brian Wilson
280 Adam Wainwright Have It
281 Adam Lind Have It
282 Reid Brignac Have It
283 Daric Barton Have It
284 Eric Jackson
285 Alex Rios
286 Cory Luebke RC Have It
287 Yovani Gallardo
288 Rickie Weeks
289 Paul Konerko
290 Cliff Lee
291 Grady Sizemore
292 Wade Davis
293 Royal Wedding Have It
294 Jacoby Ellsbury
295 Chris Carpenter Have It
296 Derek Lowe 2
297 Travis Hafner
298 Peter Gammons
299 Ana Julaton
300 Ryan Braun
301 Gio Gonzalez
302 John Buck Have It
303 Jaime Garcia Have It
304 Madison Bumgarner
305 Justin Morneau
306 Josh Willingham Have It
307 Ryan Ludwick
308 Jhonny Peralta
309 Kurt Suzuki
310 Matt Kemp
311 Ian Stewart
312 Cody Ross
313 Leo Nunez
314 Nick Markakis
315 Jayson Werth
316 Manny Ramirez Have It
317 Brian Matusz
318 Brett Wallace
319 Jon Niese
320 Jon Lester
321 Mark Reynolds
322 Trevor Cahill
323 Orlando Hudson
324 Domonic Brown Have It
325 Mike Stanton
326 Jason Castro
327 David DeJesus
328 Chris Johnson Have It
329 Alex Gordon
330 CC Sabathia
331 Carlos Gomez
332 Luke Hochevar Have It
333 Carlos Lee Have It
334 Gaby Sanchez
335 Jason Heyward
336 Kevin Kouzmanoff
337 Drew Storen
338 Lance Berkman
339 Miguel Tejada
340 Ryan Zimmerman
341 Ricky Nolasco
342 Mike Pelfrey
343 Drew Stubbs Have It
344 Danny Valencia
345 Zack Greinke
346 Brett Gardner
347 Josh Thole Have It
348 Russell Martin
349 Yuniesky Betancourt Have It
350 Joe Mauer Have It


Is Brian Wilson the Next Peyton Manning?

Many have discussed the marketability of
Peyton Manning. BusinessWeek’s Joel Stonington describes power in sport as “the
combination of athletic achievement plus the ability to connect with an
audience on a deeper, more personal level that separates mere jocks from the
stars” (Stonington, Power 100 2011). In addition to being an elite level
quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts, a perennial record setter, and a
SuperBowl winner he is also ranked number one on BusinessWeek’s 2011 Power 100
in large part because of his ability to market himself, as well as many other
businesses. As most any sports fan (and even many non-sports fans) can tell
you, Peyton Manning is in the business of appealing to fans both on an off the
field as he has starred in commercials ranging from Sprint to Mastercard to
Reebok. But, there seems to be another face, or beard, on the sports marketing
horizon- Brian Wilson. 

Could Peyton’s stance as America’s
Sweetheart, and the most powerful man in sport (at the very least the most
likeable), be in jeopardy to a closer from the Bay Area? Possibly.

Labor negotiations in the NFL have left
fans frazzled, and if there is one thing the owners and players seem to have
missed in their sports history lessons, it is that fans are not quick to forget
labor disputes. Baseball players, for example, have gone on strike a total of
eight times. World War II couldn’t
stop the game because of Roosevelt’s Green Light Letter, encouraging
commissioner Kenesaw Landis to
keep the game going, but greed certainly could. The most egregious of the
strikes came at the end of the 1994 season – the only year in Major League
Baseball history where no World Series was played. 

In 1993, the year before the strike,
Major League Baseball set an attendance record of 70,257,938 fans, with an
average of 30,984 fans per game (http://bss.sfsu.edu/tygiel/hist490/mlbattendance.htm).
In the strike shortened 1994 season only 50,010,016 total fans attended games,
with 31,256 fans per game. With more fans attending games in 1994 the league
stood to break the previous year’s record. A shortened season in 1995 yielded
more fans than the previous year, but lower per game attendance (50,469,236
total fans, 25,022 fans per game). The 1996 and 1997 seasons showed
improvements of about 1,500 fans per game per year (26,510/27,877 respectively), but
neither was on par with the pre-strike rates.

It was not until the Home Run race of
1998 that fan attendance reached (and slightly exceeded) the pre-strike totals
(even then attendance per game was down). The data indicates that it took three seasons for fans to come back to
Major League Baseball – in other words, for baseball to recover from the
strike. Admittedly, there are likely other factors for fan’s demotivation to
attend baseball events, but the strike
is the most obvious correlation.

Three years, and a home run
record-setting season is a lot to ask for the public to fall back in love
with its national pastime. While
fans were not attending baseball games, they were spending their discretionary
income elsewhere – meaning there was an opening for other sports to gain
prominence while baseball was not viewed as favorably.

With the impending football lockout, and
NFL attendance dropping for the third straight year in 2010 (to its lowest
level since 1998, the year baseball saw its upswing), it seems just the time
for baseball to take advantage of what was once rightfully theirs – America’s
adoration. Despite football fans
disinclination for attending live events in recent years, ESPN noted that
17,007,172 total fans attended in 2010. According to USA Today the average
ticket cost at an NFL game is $75.00 per seat, totaling over 1.2 billion
dollars in discretionary fan income in ticket sales alone.

With that much discretionary income, and
a history of fan dissatisfaction after a strike season, baseball was ready to make its move- insert
Brian Wilson.

Manning is the poster child for on and
off-field performance, as discussed above, but he is also lead plaintiff in a
lawsuit that embodies the greed of the lockout. As much as Manning has enamored
fans in the past, many are wondering why he and the rest of the league can’t
come to terms with the owners when they are making so much money every year
(Manning’s 2010 income was estimated by BusinessWeek at 30 million dollars).
The majority of Americans cannot fathom making 30 million dollars in their
lifetime, let alone in one year. Manning’s on the field prowess and off the
field humor cannot mask his- and the rest of the league’s- perceived greed.

Brian Wilson made his debut in 2006 with
the Giants and has been with the club for his entire career- much like Manning
has been with the Colts. He is a two-time All Star selection (2008 & 2010)
and led the league in saves last
season with 48 while pitching in 70 games. In addition to having impressive
individual statistics with a career 290 strike outs and 139 career saves (as of
April 24, 2011), he helped the Giants win their first World Series since 1954
by allowing no earned runs in 11.2 postseason innings.

However, on the field reliability is not the only thing that what wins over American sports fans. Wilson is
incredible in his ability to make
fans laugh through his commercials, which include video games (MLB 2k11), SportsCenter
(again like Manning), and ESPN Opening Day. Moreover, there doesn’t appear to
be an end in sight, eliciting spoof websites such as the sportspickle.com to
write an article entitled “Brian Wilson’s Beard Apparently MLB’s Entire 2011
Marketing Campaign”.  In addition
to commercial’s Wilson is incredibly personable, intelligent, and eloquent in
his interviews on film and in text. And the man has a heart of gold as evidenced
by a YouTube clip of Wilson and fellow teammate Cody Ross, staring internet
sensation Keenan Cahill, all lip syncing to Taio Cruz’ popular “Dynamite” to
raise money for charity.

If Wilson’s ability to market himself, or
have someone else extremely intelligent do it for him, hasn’t been evident to
this point, just look at his beard. The 2010 “fear the beard” campaign was
wildly successful, as Wilson’s beard “Weez” took center stage during the
playoffs. The beard has inspired clever sayings, cakes, fan beards, and a wide
array of t-shirts from online retailers and Nike.

Fans are so awe struck by Wilson (and
Weez’) presence they have started an online campaign for Wilson to host
Saturday Night Live. As of April 20, 2011 the page has 45,882 likes. Similarly,
Manning hosted Saturday Night Live on his 31st birthday just after his SuperBowl win in 2007.

While Wilson is not as clean cut as
Manning (in addition to The Beard there are also tattoos) that doesn’t seem
particularly relevant to fans. The American public has shown that Brian Wilson
can be their new hero, and the NFL lockout seems to be affording him the
perfect opportunity to embrace that role. It is likely that a man entirely left
off BusinessWeek’s 2011 Power Rankings could top the 2012 edition.

 

Fear the Beard, Peyton.