Brian Wilson must shave beard before returning to baseball


It was not all that long ago that ‘Fear the Beard’ was born. Brian Wilson had become one of the most feared closers in the league and it only made logical sense that, since his skill could not make him any more fearful, his face could.

A legend began.

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During the 2010 pennant race, the beard began to grow like a chia pet, only much more dark and much more foreboding. It grew Wilson all the way to making the final out to secure the San Francisco Giants their first World Series win since 1954. Any betting man would have placed a large portion of his life’s savings that that beard had earned a permanent place on Wilson’s face. One does not simply win a pennant and then shave.

However, perhaps he should have.

After securing the 2010 World Series, Wilson sustained a strained oblique and an injury-riddled 2011 left him with a 6-4 record, a still respectable 3.11 ERA and 36/41 converted saves. It was not the fear-invoking Wilson we had seen throughout his career, but injuries can do that.

2012 was met with more ill-fated news, as Wilson had to undergo Tommy John surgery and by the end of the year, he opted for free agency.

Brian Wilson did not search for a new home until he was sure that he was fully healthy. It would not due to have the beard return as anything less than prolific. Sure enough, in the middle of the 2013 season, the Los Angeles Dodgers inked Wilson to a deal that would last the rest of the season.

However, life with the Dodgers was not pleasant. He maintained a 4.66 ERA over 61 appearances. Since that brief stint with the Dodgers, Brian Wilson has been a 33-year old free agent.

Such a progression is not that odd. Rarely does a closer stay dominant for more than a few years. In recent memory, John Rocker and Eric Gagne come to mind but they had 2 to 3 years of dominance and then fell into obscurity. That is the life of a hard-balling closer.

RotoWorld now indicates that Wilson is eyeing a 2016 return. So the question is, is this is a good idea for Brian Wilson?

One could say that Wilson created the beard phase of baseball. Now, the dominant pitchers in the league opt for large foliage on their chin. Just look at Dallas Keuchel. However, the beard is no longer the symbol of Brian Wilson. He lost that bearded dominance a handful of years ago.

For that, the answer is simple. Brian Wilson should absolutely return to baseball. He was one of the most dominant closers we have ever seen. But he must do so without the beard. Baseball players are a superstitious bunch. He has to see the beard’s success as unattainable. It was the trophy that won the pennant. But after that he was never the same. It was his pre-bearded self that gave rise to the Brian Wilson that dominated with the beard.

In order to dominate with the beard again, Wilson must reset without the beard. It’s science. One does not simply put that added pressure on thine face. It must be acquired over time. Look at it like a symbolic growth. Wilson must start over as a pitcher and his beard must start over as stubble. From there, the two can grow together.

Next: Is Cueto widdling his way out of postseason rotation?

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