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Work and WS? No problem
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World  Series
10/21/2002 01:06 am ET 
Work and WS? No problem
By Kent Schacht /

With a television over their shoulder, bellmen John Ryan and Maurice Legaspi steal a moment to keep an eye on the game. (Kent Schacht/
SAN FRANCISCO -- Quietly catching a few innings of a game while you should be working is as American as baseball itself. To that end, it's not surprising that the eyes and ears of people at work all over San Francisco during World Series Game 2 on Sunday were not always attentive to the assigned task at hand.

Although most offices and skyscrapers were dark, bars, restaurants, stores and hotels were hopping in one of America's most popular destinations.

At the world-famous Westin St. Francis Hotel on San Francisco's Union Square, as well-dressed visitors gathered in the lobby to get their evening's started, the bellman staff and doormen scurried around with their usual attentiveness. But with a closer look, they seemed to spend a lot of time helping and looking for customers near the one television in the area.

Back to "We've been keeping track of it any way we can," smiled bellman Maurice Legaspi as he kept one eye on the television far in the distance. "We're all big Giants fans and we try to help each other out passing along the score."

"It's a lot like a prison movie," added fellow bellman John Ryan with a laugh, who like Legaspi, is a Giants season ticketholder. "Guys will come up and whisper 'It's 7-5, pass it on.'

"But that's the nature of our work. During the playoffs, we'd do crazy things -- come in, work a few hours, go to the game, come back work some more."

The television Ryan and Legaspi were watching was a new addition at the lobby bar, just in time for the World Series, which has made following the action, despite its distance [at least 100 feet] from their station, much easier.

Earlier rounds of the playoffs required other means of following the action while at work. "We've got wireless phones, wireless Internet, the Web -- we're getting constant updates," said Ryan.

With the Giants and Angels slugging it out in a seesaw battle Sunday night, constant updates were necessary. With no access to the Web, the St. Francis bellmen said they also lean on concierge Glenn Guinto, who has access to the Internet, and with his desk just around the corner, is just a shout away.

Guinto, who said he wasn't supposed to use the Web for recreational surfing while at work, quickly agreed to the suggestion that it was vital for him to know the score at all times -- just in case a guest needed that information.

"Yeah," laughed Guinto. "I've got people coming by all the time asking about it. You're right, I need to know that. I've got to keep the guests updated."

Guinto, Ryan and Legaspi all agreed that being at work was the next, or maybe third ... or ... well, it wasn't that bad of a place to be during the game.

"It's fun," said Guinto. "We're like family here."

Not far from the crew at the St. Francis, Wolde Haile was holding down the fort solo in a cashier's booth built for four additional co-workers at the Union Square garage.

The feeling he was getting from those co-workers -- all of whom had skipped off to "lunch" just as the Giants were mounting a comeback -- was also familial, but more that of an abandoned child.

"I don't know where they went," he smiled. "They were listening to the radio in here, but now they're gone."

Haile, who is a recent arrival in the U.S. from his native Ethiopia, said he was excited about the Giants, even if he wasn't that familiar with what was going on in the games.

Haile's lack of knowledge for Sunday night's game seemed to be more the exception than the rule around San Francisco, where a baseball fan on the move could keep pretty much up to date thanks to the myriad of televisions in windows and fans and workers listening to the game.

Up the street from Union Square, "Mike" [name changed to protect the paranoid], who was parking cars for a popular restaurant, said he was having no problem keeping track of the game, but was fracturing a few of his bosses' rules in order to do so.

"We're not supposed to change the radio station in the cars we park," said Mike. "But I've been hopping from car-to-car, listening to the game, and we've been so busy I've hardly missed anything.

"It hasn't been so bad, almost as good as watching it on TV.

"Well, maybe not that good," he laughed.

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

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