By Mitch Chortkoff
You see Brian Wilson with his beard and mohawk and you might get the impression he’s a goofball.
What major league pitcher looks so outrageous, so different from all the others?
But the Dodgers knew better.
Wilson proved himself by helping the Giants win the 2010 World Series even though he had undergone Tommy John surgery for an elbow injury while at Louisiana State University.. And after he underwent Tommy John surgery for a second time in 2011 and lost his closer’s job in San Francisco he battled back.
You see, Wilson has tremendous determination. He’s an extremely hard worker.. Give up? Not him.
He was a free agent this season. The Dodgers’ new ownership was on a spending spree and had a championship contender. Another owner, like previous Dodger boss Frank McCourt, most likely would have reasoned they’d spent enough. But the new guys, headed by Mark Walter, place winning above anything else.
Wilson would be signed and sent to the minor leagues, perhaps with an eye to next season.
However, his hard work resulted in a recovery so strong that the Dodgers called him up.
No, Wilson wasn’t given the closer’s role. But he did earn the right to replace Ronny Belasario as the eighth inning guy, setting the stage for closer Kenley Janssen.
That’s quite a tribute to Wilson’s tenacity.
It’s also a tribute to the Dodgers’ talent evaluaters. They weren’t afraid of making what could be considered a drastic decision
I’m writing this column on Wednesday, right after Wilson has helped the Dodgers win Game Five of their series against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Whether or not the Dodgers reach the World Series now, the 31-year-old Wilson figures to be prominent again next season.
What a coup. Not only are the Giants without him, the rival Dodgers have him.
The Dodgers dug themselves a deep hole by falling behind in the series, three games to one. A deep hole but not an impossible deficit. The last two times a Cardinal team had a 3-1 lead they lost the series.
The Dodgers are now very serious about consistently competing for championships.
One example is that Magic Johnson, a basketball legend, has resigned from being an analyst on ESPN’s NBA coverage. He cited how his other duties will prevent him from devoting necessary time to the basketball scene.
Johnson is one of the new Dodger owners and not merely a figurehead. I’ve never known him to merely lend his name to a project without knowing what’s going on.