There is something fun and wonderfully crazy going on at ATT Park these days.
Actually, I think the roots go back four years to the arrival of the Giants' great right-hander, Tim Lincecum, for once The Freak established himself, he drew a sell out crowd every time he pitched. And, with Timmy's success, the crowd became more and more enchanted to the tune that like real baseball fans, they would stand when their pitcher had two strikes on a hitter, and especially when there were two strikes and two outs.
Then, last year, the Giants came seemingly out of nowhere to make the playoffs, and then the Series, and then they actually won.
I worked the Giants' final home game last year, which also happened to be both the second game of the World Series and my 58th birthday. As I walked back to the subway and wended my way home, it was truly amazing, for all the streets around the ball yard had been roped off, and fans and hangers on were running back and forth across the road, hugging and slapping one another on the back and high fiving.
It was different. And, it kicked up the community spirit of the Bay Area in a way that has not happened since back in the 80's when the Niners were the toast of the town.
I have to say, though, that even though the Niners were indeed loved, the devotion they received was nothing like that which the Giants are currently the beneficiaries of.
It seemed to start again this year at spring training, for as I previously noted, I was at the first spring game in which closer Brian Wilson appeared, and all he had to do was walk across the field to the hill from right field, and he got a standing ovation.
So it continues, for the Giants have sold out every game this year, not to mention having 7,200 more season ticket holders than in 2010.
And, those fans are just crazy mad in love with their team in a way I have never seen in the Bay Area. Which is saying quite a lot considering the Athletics won three straight world titles in a row in the 70's, and appeared in the Series three more years in a row in the 80's, a record that should make the cross bay Giants blush in comparison.
But never have I seen the Oakland fans display 50% of the enthusiasm of the ATT loyals.
The fans arrive early, for just a year ago, I could get to the park an hour before first pitch and find street parking three or four blocks away from the yard. Or, if need be, I could park in a pay lot for $10. Well, now all the street parking is way gone an hour before game time, and now the parking lots cost $15 (such the cost of success).
Not to mention the fans stay for the entire game. Not to mention that seems to make the fans the tenth player.
Over the last two weeks, I have now worked five games for the Giants, all of which were packed to the rafters, with standing room in right field being jammed.
For all five games, the Giants trailed or were tied after the seventh inning, including the now infamous Buster Posey injury game when the San Franciscans scored four runs with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to tie and push the contest into extra frames.
Two other times the Giants came from behind to score and tie in the eighth, and both those games also went into extra innings, with San Francisco winning both.
The other two the Giants simply won in the bottom of the ninth, breaking a tie with a walkoff hit (last night it was Nate Schierholtz who did the deed).
And, each time, the crowd has gotten more vocal and enthusiastic, and each time the team has risen, it seems, more to the occasion.
Again, I have never before witnessed something like this at a sporting event, or even a musical concert, for usually those of us in northern California are cooler than to display wild craziness in support of the local nine.
Well, we were until now. And, now it is simply a blast to be at the yard, no matter what the outcome.