Brian Wilson and Tim Flannery Visit the Outer Sunset
Editor’s Note: Forgive our temporary lack of objectivity in this story, but we’re all big Giants fans at the Bulletin and sometimes we just can’t conceal our enthusiasm.
It all started with a tweet from KNBR’s Brian Murphy, posted at around 4:30 on Sunday, June 5.
“Extra-happy @BrianWilson38 nailed it down. Have Q-and-A w him at Irish Cultural Center tonite. Blown save could have led to awkward pauses,” Murphy tweeted.
Wait a minute. Brian Wilson of the San Francisco Giants was coming to the Outer Sunset?
For the second time in three years, the United Irish Cultural Center hosted a fundraiser to benefit the Junior Giants Program, a free summer baseball program organized by the Giants Community Fund. The fundraiser featured Brian Wilson, the closing pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, along with Tim Flannery, the third base coach. Both members of the team have Irish roots.
The previous fundraiser was in 2009, and since then a lot has changed: The Giants have won the World Series, Giants fever has swept the city and Brian Wilson has grown a world-famous beard.
According to Kathleen McDonough, the chairman of the board of the Giants Community Fund, invitations to the fundraiser were sent to those who attended in 2009, and this year’s event sold out within a few minutes. Proceeds from the evnt will go toward the Junior Giants Program, which helped bring baseball to more than 17,000 kids throughout California, Oregon and Nevada last summer.
Starting at around 4:45 p.m., eager attendees began to line up outside the Irish Cultural Center, bringing with them jerseys, hats and baseballs for autographs. The event featured a meet-and-greet with Wilson and Flannery for the fans, as well as a Q&A conducted by KNBR broadcaster Murphy.
By 5:15, the fans had been ushered inside, and the street in front of the Irish Cultural Center returned to the regular quiet of a lazy Sunday afternoon. Outside the building, and without tickets, was almost the entire contributing team of the Ocean Beach Bulletin. I was the first to arrive with my wife, Giulia. She staked out the back entrance, while I waited out front. We were soon joined by Andy and Michelle Wernette, and their son Vegas, who also spread out around the perimeter. Quick on their heels were Kristine Mendoza and her boyfriend, Will Litton. It was almost like an impromptu staff meeting of the Bulletin.
But besides us, there were only a few other Giants fans who seemed to know what was going on. From the mellow mood and the small crowd, you wouldn’t have guessed that the guy who threw the last pitch of the 2010 World Series was on his way.
With the event such an instant sell-out, it was under-advertised in the neighborhood. None of us had heard about it until @KNBRMurph tweeted about it. Even the local police who were present had only recently learned about the fundraiser.
Wilson and Flannery arrived around 5:45, and parked behind the building. A camera crew from the Showtime cable television network was there, since Showtime is producing a show about the team. But before he was ushered into the event, Wilson ambled across the parking lot to shake the hands of the excited Bulletin contributors and to sign our Giants hats.
“Welcome to Ocean Beach!” Andy shouted out as Wilson walked over.
When I asked him what he likes about Ocean Beach, Wilson joked in his characteristic deadpan, “I can paddleboard.” He then signed my hat with his catchmark phrase: “Fear the beard.”
A lot of neighborhood Giants fans were made very happy by the understated visit, including contributors to the Bulletin.
And now that it’s been spotted in the neighborhood, we can confidently report that the beard is worth fearing.