The kitchen staff of Juanito's Burritos, a Haight Street enterprise that serves broccoli burritos and sharps its profits with the Transcendental Meditation foundation, keeps a radio and television going simultaneously during Giant games this year.
Sutter's Mill, the Nothing Special and another gay bar (whose name would probably not bear printing in a family newspaper) are sending fans to the games in car pools. Bars for persons of ungay persuasion are sending by the busful. The Giant boosters, those die-hard optimists who cheered into a half-empty stadium, are going to games this year by the planeful, all the way to that hostile land down South where the Dodgers live, armed only with flags and Joe Corrieri's unkelele and heady presence of a real pennant contender from a suddenly baseball-madtown.
All summer long, in a wild series of hair-raising, extra-inning, one-run victories, the Giants have hovered at the top of the National League West. They pulled into first place on May 12 and got this blase (about baseball, anyway) city so excited that shopkeepers next door to the downtown Giant office have complained that their doorways are blocked by the ticket lines.
The ballpark organist has been chastised for driving the fans into a frenzy by playing the "Charge" during the opposing pitchers' windups. The newspapers are falling over themselves with superlatives: wondrous Giants, incredible Giants, simply-don't know-how-to-quit Giant. Vida Blue runs onto the field during games and leads cheers, dances little jigs, breaks up laughing: the fans yell back one long, thunderous bellow, of "Bluuuue!"
They carry on in Japanese. They carry on in Russian, and Italian, and Tagalog Dr. Lawrence Au, pastor of the First Chinese Southern Baptist Church, caught Saturday's victory over the Expos while cruising along in a parishioner's Volkswagen. Giant fans call the Danish newspaper and talk about the wonder of it all - "Hvad med de Giganter!" How about those Giants!
Nobody has seen a baseball season like this in San Francisco since 1962, when the Giants confronted the Dodgers in a tumultous three-games playoff for the pennant that drove the whole city so crazy with suspense that there was general pandemonium in the streets when the Giants finally won. Then they lost the World Series to the Yankees. It was all downhill from there. One division title, in 1971. Lots of second place. As allan Murray, the intrepid chief booster, solemnly remembers it, "Years of suffering."
Now, this year - this year Murray's mother, not generally prone to do such things, is following the Giants. Murray's lawyer is following the Giants. MUrray gets calls from total strangers who say, "Hey, remember what lerrific pals we were back at the University of Oregon in 1958? And do you happen to have any extra tickets to the game?"
"My phone never stops ringing," Murray gloats. "You go into the steam room at the club and that's all you hear." (Giant talk, not ringing phones.) "It's never happened before, simply because the Giants have never been winning."
Attendance at Candlestick Park, San Francisco's bayside Siberia (the cold breezes off the water have inspired columnist Herb Caen to refer to it as Windlestick) is up 138 percent from last year for Giant's home games - 1,334,860 spectators, as of Aug. 25.
They hoot and whistle and give four-minute standing ovations to Blue and Willie McCovey, who carries the memory of 1962 with him and grows closer to local sainthood every time he steps out on the field. Mike Ivey, the born-again Georgian who hits for the Lord and does it very well (.307 batting average) gets a chant from the stands with a nice rhythm to it: "I-VEY, I-VEY!"
One female fan, apparently overcome by enthusiasm, had to be escorted out of the park during a Dodger game in the seventh inning after she kept lifting her sweater to display herself to the stadium.
"There really is Giant fever," owner Bob Lurie said cheerfully the other day, looking down at the field from his box at Candlestick. "People are starting to walk down the street with radios, listening to the game." Banks have put up Giants' displays inside, he said, as do department stores. Somebody from the Mitchell Brothers' pornographic movie house promised to run a Giant flag off the roof, Lurie said.
"We've just got 25 guys that want to win," he said."You used to talk about it in bars and people would shrug it off with a laugh," said the general manger's assistant, Stoney Feeney. "Now they're talking about it seriously, and say they're contenders."
Even in Montreal they are rooting for the Giants. Not against the Expos, of course. But the rest of the time, said Rodger Brulotte, Expo traveling secretary. "People are always happy to see the underdog win.Every city we go to, the question is, how are the Giants doing?"
And a souvenir salesman, tall and thin and missing most of his teeth, said his business was up and it was all very simple to understand. "Most people are losers, so they don't want to associate with losers," he said. "They want to associate with winners. It's as simple as that."