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Wilson returns to throw 1st pitch at SF opener

Former Giants closer the surprise conclusion to festivities at AT&T Park
MLB.com @sfgiantsbeat

SAN FRANCISCO -- Whispers of a surprise to conclude the Giants' pregame commemoration of the team's 60th year in San Francisco were heard Tuesday throughout AT&T Park.

But not until the first few notes of "Jump Around" by House of Pain blared through the public-address system did anybody know that the Giants' special guest would be Brian Wilson, the bearded closer who in many ways embodied the free spirit and high performance of the 2010 Giants ballclub that captured the franchise's first San Francisco-era World Series title.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Whispers of a surprise to conclude the Giants' pregame commemoration of the team's 60th year in San Francisco were heard Tuesday throughout AT&T Park.

But not until the first few notes of "Jump Around" by House of Pain blared through the public-address system did anybody know that the Giants' special guest would be Brian Wilson, the bearded closer who in many ways embodied the free spirit and high performance of the 2010 Giants ballclub that captured the franchise's first San Francisco-era World Series title.

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Wilson, 36, threw a ceremonial first pitch to Giants catcher Buster Posey, who of course gave his former batterymate a "Buster Hug."

Of course, Wilson made a grand entrance.

Rarely, if ever, are Giants legends Willie Mays and Willie McCovey upstaged, particularly when the Giants are handling the ceremony. But after the pair of Hall of Famers accepted their plaudits from the crowd, the Giants had one more memorable figure to introduce.

Video: SEA@SF: HOFers McCovey, Mays announced at home opener

Wilson approached the mound not from the dugout or bullpen, but through the center-field gate. He was dressed for the occasion, wearing a full Giants uniform -- including the orange cleats that prompted MLB to fine him $1,000 for violating color regulations.

"You're allowed to do whatever you want," Wilson said later. "Just be loud about it."

The crowd seemed slow to start cheering for Wilson, perhaps because a lot of people didn't recognize the now clean-shaven right-hander. That was fitting, in a way. Wilson, who said he now lives near Los Angeles in Brentwood, claimed the Giants gave him two days' notice, making him nervous about his mound appearance.

"I didn't get any sleep," Wilson said.

Video: SEA@SF: Wilson talks about his surprise first pitch

Wilson, whose Major League career ended with the Dodgers in 2014, indicated he doesn't miss baseball terribly.

"I don't think I was meant to play for 20 years," said Wilson, a three-time All-Star with the Giants. "I think I was meant to play for a couple years and enjoy the rest of my life."

But Wilson jokingly -- or maybe not-so-jokingly -- didn't rule out pitching again.

Asked about rumors of his experimenting with a knuckleball, Wilson said, "The knuckleball is in the back pocket, kid. And I haven't retired for a reason."

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

San Francisco Giants