Brace yourself: Brian Wilson, sans beard, is attempting a comeback ... as a knuckleballer(!)
It's probably been a while since you thought about Brian Wilson, West Coast relief pitcher whose beard was as big as his presence on the mound.
You remember the guy:
Or perhaps you remember this version:
His last pitch in the big leagues may have taken place three years ago with the Dodgers in 2014, but the 34-year-old is apparently attempting a comeback.
There's a twist, though. Two, in fact.
First, he's shaved his iconic facial hair "situation." Second, as Yahoo! Sports' Tim Brown revealed on Wednesday, the Pitcher Formerly Known As 'The Beard' is trying to be a knuckleball hurler this time around:
If your jaw is agape, you're not alone. This is quite a development.
Brown reported that Wilson threw a 30-pitch bullpen session at USC on Wednesday morning, and as this quote suggests, his trademark candor and confidence are still in full quantity:
"That right there," Wilson said while pulling off his muck-caked shoes, "was an MVP-Cy Young knuckleball. You can write that down, too. No joke."
There's definitely a market for those who can throw adequate knucklers in today's game, as
Wilson, who collected 172 saves and 407 strikeouts between 2006 and 2014, has already had a larger-than-life career. If anybody can do what he's trying to do right now, it's him -- bearded or not.
He's also dabbled with a knuckleball over the years, tossing one to an unsuspecting
Should Wilson's new career foray pan out, we do have to wonder what it'd mean for Wilson's status in Barry Zito's (made-up) band, though ...