Giants all smiles after NL All-Star victory
Wilson turns heads with perfect inning, orange shoes
ANAHEIM -- Winners laugh, it's often said. So it was a jovial Giants trio that reveled in the National League's 3-1 victory over the American League in Tuesday night's All-Star Game.
Switching from his customary closer's role, Brian Wilson contributed a perfect eighth inning. But he may have drawn more attention with his shoes, which bore bright orange stripes that probably were visible from Jupiter."I think the shoes were blinding the hitters," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who joined the NL's coaching staff. "They were magical," Wilson said with a straight face. Asked why he doesn't wear them during the regular season, Wilson replied, "I don't think they're MLB-approved." Someone suggested that the shoes' stripes resembled the color of orange sherbet. Wilson started to agree before concluding, "That's not macho enough, though." Even Wilson's 1-2-3 performance prompted gags. Bochy, who frequently watches Wilson pitch himself into and out of trouble, wanted to know how the right-hander sailed through Texas' Elvis Andrus, Chicago White Sox slugger Paul Konerko and Toronto's Jose Bautista while throwing only 10 pitches, including eight strikes. Wilson invited Bochy's feigned abuse by saying upon returning to the dugout, "One-two-three. What's up with that?" Responded Bochy, "Why can't I see that [in the regular season]?" Turning serious, Bochy said, "I was proud of him." Bochy also savored the NL's win, its first in All-Star competition since 1996. Referring to the AL's dominance, Bochy said, "It was getting old, believe me." Giants ace Tim Lincecum put the AL's streak in his own perspective. Referring to the year of the NL's previous victory, Lincecum said, "I was, what, 12?" Lincecum didn't overlook the oddity of Wilson, a Giant, setting up the save for Jonathan Broxton, closer for the rival Los Angeles Dodgers, who pitched the ninth. "I wonder how the fans were feeling about that," Lincecum said. But switching roles for a Dodger's benefit didn't bother Wilson, who called his second All-Star appearance "an honor." Added Wilson, "I was glad to grab the ball in the eighth and do what I could for the National League. Home-field advantage [in the World Series] is the key." Lincecum wasn't slated to work unless the game lasted into extra innings. As the NL concluded batting practice, the league's reigning two-time Cy Young Award winner sounded mildly disappointed as he discussed the likelihood that he wouldn't pitch. "I don't know. I don't understand it," said Lincecum, the NL leader in strikeouts who has appeared only once while being chosen for three consecutive All-Star squads. "But when you have arms like we do here, and a lot of guys doing great -- I don't really care. I want to win and I want to be a part of it, but if that's not going to be the case, so be it." Any bitterness Lincecum might have felt quickly dissolved.
"It is what it is. If I got in, that's great," he said calmly after the game.Indeed, Lincecum happily exchanged high-fives with the other pitchers in the NL bullpen immediately after the final out.
"It's been a long time coming," he said of the victory.
Wilson revealed that Lincecum spent part of the game providing comic relief in the bullpen by tying his long mane into a ponytail with a hair tie."He kept the mood light," Wilson said. "He did his Steven Seagal impersonation. It was delicious." Lincecum's idle evening meant that he'll start Thursday night's series opener against the New York Mets at AT&T Park. Had Lincecum relieved against the AL, he would have started Saturday while Matt Cain moved to Thursday. Starting on Thursday also will enable Lincecum to oppose the Dodgers in Los Angeles the following week. His next turn would have occurred after that series had he opened his second half Saturday.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.