(NY Times) Behind the Beard Is a Quirky Closer Who Keeps Things Interesting

[Brian] Wilson has created some controversy with the cross-armed salute he offers up at the rear of the mound after every save. The gesture has been taken by some opposing players as a sign of disrespect, and Casey Blake of the Los Angeles Dodgers even went so far as to mimic it on the bench last year after hitting a home run off him.

Wilson said the gesture is a salute to his religious faith ”” he became a devout Christian four years ago ”” and to his father, Mike, who made his career in the Air Force and who died when Wilson was 17 and attending high school in Londonderry, N.H.

“He taught me that you don’t get anything for free,” Wilson said of his father. “You have to work for it. Nothing ever comes easy. That’s the way I’ve been, and that’s the way this team has been. We had to fly back to Philly” for the clinching game of the N.L.C.S. “We had to win in Atlanta in Game 4. It had to come down to the last day of the season. That’s our baseball team. That’s me.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture, Sports