10/05/2002 3:29 pm ET
SF Scene: Brick and bunting
Pacific Bell Park decked out in red, white and blue
By Chris Shuttlesworth / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants' colors may be orange and black, but Pacific Bell Park has a decidedly Atlanta color scheme to it for this weekend's Division Series games. The downtown ballpark is dressed up like never before thanks to 350 pieces of bunting decorating nearly every empty railing inside and out.
"We put out, I'd say, at least 50 percent more than for Opening Day," said Jorge Costa, the Giants' senior vice president of ballpark operations. "We've really focused on just more. ... The idea [is] to really put the best face on this ballpark, and nothing dresses it up like bunting."
Costa's crew has been cleaning every square inch of the park and various areas, including the dugouts, have received a new coat of paint. Even the bleachers have been touched up, with painting and some renumbering of faded seat locations. But for Costa, nothing says special like the red, white and blue cloth fans -- along with some plastic banners -- adorning the park.
"Frankly, the first time around for postseason [at Pacific Bell Park] in 2000, I just thought it was a little skimpy," said Costa. "What we're trying to do is let some of the natural features, like the brick, stand out. You don't want to cover the brick. But wherever we have the opportunity to stick a piece of red, white and blue, we're doing it.
"There's sort of been a bunting evolution. It's a traditional component of postseason and Opening Day, and we've really gotten to a point where every time we do it now, we literally sit down and say, 'OK, this is what we did last time. Where can we add more?'"
In particular, bunting now hangs from every entry gate, the Coca-Cola Fan Lot railing and the back railing of the Arcade section. The Giants even hung 20 pieces in a small parking lot near the Lefty O'Doul Gate, next to which a pack of autograph hounds congregated hours before first pitch to ambush arriving Atlanta players.
Most clubs rent their decorations, but when the Giants opened Pacific Bell Park in 2000, they took a "why rent when you can buy?" attitude.
"It's all ours," said Costa proudly. "We've consistently added to our bunting inventory as we've gone forward. ... We just thought it's better that it's yours. You put it up, you take it down, you launder it, you store it, and then you already have it."
The Giants' efforts to make postseason play at their ballpark special aren't going unnoticed either. A fan who identified herself only as "Katie K." of Milpitas, Calif., waited eagerly at the Field Club entrance, first in line nearly an hour before the gates were scheduled to open.
"It makes it look nice," said Katie, a season ticketholder who added she's always first in line to get into the park. She was obviously thrilled the Giants advanced to the postseason and will be playing at least two playoff games at Pacific Bell Park.
"I still have baseball. Otherwise I'd probably be cleaning house," she said with a grimace. "[I'm hoping for] a good game -- preferably a Giants win, but as long as it's a good game, that's the important thing."
Josh McDermott would probably disagree. Decked out in a Braves visor, Chipper Jones T-shirt and a foam tomahawk, he joined his father, Brian McDermott, and a friend, Donovan Puffer, in pressing up against the free viewing arches along the Portwalk to get an early glimpse of the park.
Said Puffer: "Some of us are Atlanta fans. Others of us are Giants fans."
"And some of us are Yankees fans," chimed in Brian McDermott.
The three fans, all rooting for different teams, came down from Oregon for Saturday's game. Josh McDermott said he became a Braves fan "through the power of cable," but oddly, only Giants fan Puffer had never been to Pacific Bell Park before.
"I'm impressed," he said. "It's awesome, truly awesome."
Chris Shuttlesworth is an editorial producer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.