Oddball closer loses it in dugout tantrum

San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson blows a save, then blows his top.

Brian Wilson is famous for his beard, his World Series-clinching pitch, his major league-best 72 saves since the start of last year and his all-around zaniness – in no particular order.

On Friday, he entertained us in a slightly different way: He offered the most sensational reaction to a blown save this year.

After exiting during the ninth inning of the Giants’ eventual 4-3 victory over the Tigers, Wilson (in his words) gave himself “30 seconds to absolutely lose it.” And he didn’t disappoint.

Wilson flung a Gatorade cooler in the Giants’ dugout, which would have been a sufficient display for most mortals. Not Wilson. He procured a bat, gave himself a running start, and tomahawked the cooler as it sat on the ground. Then he smacked the wall with the bat for good measure.

He tossed the bat aside, stomped around for a few more moments, picked up the bat again, thought better of it, and dropped it with disdain.

Then came the most potentially perilous moment of the tantrum: He punched another object – apparently a tray of bubble gum or sunflower seeds – with his prized (right) pitching hand.

Asked afterward about his hand, Wilson replied, “My hand’s fine. Ask the wall.”

All things considered, the display made Carlos Zambrano look like an amateur.

Wilson was asked if it will be difficult to see replays on SportsCenter.

“I don’t watch SportsCenter, so it’s not going to be too difficult,” he replied. “I mean, why would that be difficult? I squared it up.”

Wilson is normally dominant and reliable, but this was his second blown save in as many days. (He also gave up a one-run lead in Thursday’s loss to the Cubs.) On Friday, at least, his slip-up didn’t cost the Giants. Wilson entered in the eighth inning and surrendered an inherited run before loading the bases in the ninth. Jeremy Affeldt rescued him by recording the final outs on a line-drive-turned-double-play.

“In the end, Giants win,” Wilson said. “Give yourself a minute, 30 seconds, to get pissed or whatever. Then come back to reality and root on the guy that’s gone in to save your (butt), which he did a marvelous job.”

Giants manager Bruce Bochy wasn’t bothered by Wilson’s antics. He smiled when the subject was broached after the game. Bochy wondered if Wilson was actually upset with him, because of the decision to remove him in the middle of the inning.

And in the end, guess who ended up as the winning pitcher?

Brian Wilson.

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