Fear the Beard — and laugh with him, too

Wednesday, May 16

SAN FRANCISCO — Brian Wilson’s elbow needs plenty of healing, but his sense of humor remains extremely healthy.

Wilson packed numerous gags, both obvious and subtle, into his 20-minute chat with reporters Wednesday. The man should have his own television show. He’d be at home hosting his own HBO special or sitting down for a droll chat with Leno, Letterman or Conan.

Asked about the garden gnomes bearing his likeness that will be distributed to fans attending Sunday’s game, Wilson turned punster by saying, “I don’t gnome what you’re talking about.” He also mentioned that his gnome figure isn’t “really in shape.”

This won’t be the first Wilson gnome. He said that one was spawned when he was a collegian at Louisiana State University. Except he didn’t know about it right away.

“My mom bought it,” he said. “I walked into her house, I was like, ‘What is this?’ She says, ‘It’s you.’ ”

He bought one on-line. He still has it. “It’s next to The Machine,” Wilson said matter-of-factly, providing a brief, fond reminder of 2010.

Wilson related that he has occupied himself by doing plenty of puzzles, including one of the jigsaw variety of the Taj Mahal. It was 2,000 pieces. Wilson probably wasn’t trying to be funny when he described tinkering with the puzzle. But he sounded amusing anyway.

“That was a long one, because the sky was all blue and you couldn’t tell where the pieces went,” said Wilson, who’s recovering from Tommy John elbow surgery. “It was trial and error. That took a good day and a half to do the sky. The actual Taj Mahal took probably a week.”

Wilson also has become a part-time carpenter in his effort to “find some hobbies” due to having “a lot of time on my hands.” Specifically, he laid down some carpet. But didn’t that bother his arm?

“Not when you do it left-handed,” Wilson said. “It’s a very slow process, but we’re talking about a room that’s 8-by-8 [feet]. All I did was cut it and put it in the room. Sounds a little cooler than what I just told you.”

Asked if he ever ventures outdoors for a change of pace, Wilson said, “Yeah, I’ve taken a few walks here and there, but the weather’s kind of got a little bit colder. I did go to Muir Woods. Saw the trees.

“I was asked if I was John Muir. Twice. But that’s about as outdoorsy as I’ve been.”

In baseball matters, Wilson praised Santiago Casilla, his replacement as San Francisco’s closer, who has eight saves in nine opportunities.

“Incredible,” Wilson said. “Like I always say, every guy in the bullpen’s capable of doing it. We all have this work ethic about us. That’s the great thing about this bullpen, is we feed off each other’s strengths. There’s camaraderie. We try to pick each other up. I think he’s done a phenomenal job, just like he has since we’ve acquired him. He doesn’t complain, he works hard, and he’s able to forget the negative things and be able to move on to the next hitter, move on to the next day, and remembering what he did in the past and how he can better himself. He’s a great dude.”

Wilson said that he hasn’t needed to counsel Casilla much, “because he’s already a great pitcher.” But, Wilson added, “There’s certain times where you have to try to give a little bit of advice, when pressure situations come, like certain pitches you might want to stay away from late in the games. What I’ve had success throwing certain hitters. And when there’s a guy on second, less than one out, what is your plan? What are you gonna do when the ball’s hit to you? Just simple things. And I like to tell him he’s awesome. I like to tell him every time he does well. ‘You’re doing an amazing job, keep it up. The team needs you; the city needs you.’ He’s doing a phenomenal job, so I just like to tell him that all the time.”

If you want to hear more from Wilson, catch Sunday’s Giants-A’s telecast. He’s supposed to be a guest commentator with Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow.

Chris Haft

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