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Giants fans loving every minute of it
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League Championship Series
10/15/2002 01:41 am ET 
Giants fans loving every minute of it
By Chris Shuttlesworth /

Giants fans are hoping a victory in the NLCS is prelude to the the team's first World Series title since the franchise moved to San Francisco. (AP Photo)
SAN FRANCISCO -- It's been 13 years since San Francisco fans have had a World Series berth to celebrate, so forgive them if they're not quite sure how to do it.

Most often heard as cheering fans emptied Pacific Bell Park after the Giants' thrilling 2-1 ninth-inning victory over the Cardinals: "The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!"

In case you didn't know, that's an homage to Russ Hodges' classic call from 1951's "Shot Heard 'Round the World."

Nearly two hours after the game, an uninterrupted blast of honking horns sounded from along King Street outside the park as fans whooped and hollered. The siren normally sounded when the Lefty O'Doul Bridge is raised blared at least twice. But immediately after the game, the crowd wasn't nearly as boisterous, still somewhat in shock over their team's improbable victory.

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One fan walked out gazing goofily at his ticket stub, as if to remind himself that he was actually there. A throng pressed against two newspaper stands eagerly buying up souvenir special editions as one seller cried out not to worry, more copies were on the way.

A small band, playing banjos, guitars and fiddles performed at the corner of Second and King streets as people packed Muni train after train. A popular restaurant across the street from the ballpark welcomed a massive crowd, many clutching NL champions T-shirts.

It was fitting that those championship shirts are black, since the Giants asked fans to create a "blackout" for Monday's game, encouraging them to wear all black. Many took it a step further and embraced the Giants playing baseball this close to Halloween, painting their faces black or in a witch doctor style; one even wore a skeleton T-shirt to complete the look.

The effect of a mostly black-clad crowd contrasted strikingly with the white rally rags handed out at the gates. As the fans whipped them over their heads at every Giants rally, the air became thick with fuzz flying off the new pieces of cloth.

The crowd had been treated to the inspirational sight of Bobby Bonds throwing out the first pitch and 1987 NLCS MVP Jeffrey Leonard being introduced after the first inning. They ended the night with fireworks exploding over the park and their team bathing in champagne.

As the Giants mounted an eighth-inning comeback, the crowd reached a fever pitch topped only by the ninth-inning celebration. One fan raised a baby in the air after the Giants loaded the bases, as if to make sure the tyke would somehow absorb what was happening and recall it years from now.

One can only hope the infant can still hear after the deafening roar following San Francisco's victory.

Chris Shuttlesworth is an editorial producer for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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