SAN FRANCISCO Tortured by their team's roller-coaster ride this season and hungry for a first Fall Classic crown since 1954, San Francisco Giants fans have embraced the World Series in a quirky, fun-loving way.
The first two games in the best-of-seven contest have been highlighted by the Mardi Gras atmosphere at San Francisco's waterfront stadium where Giants supporters, celebrating in a sea of orange and black, have enjoyed their own costume party.
Some have sported bushy black beards to mimic relievers Brian Wilson and Sergio Romo, some have donned wigs to salute long-haired pitcher Tim Lincecum and others have worn Panda hats to honor third baseman Pablo "Kung Fu Panda" Sandoval.
Assorted banners, bearing witty and occasionally blunt legends, have been waved to underline San Francisco's dominance over the visiting Texas Rangers in the first two games but the element of fun has not been forgotten.
"Things may be bigger in Texas but we are Giants," read one placard. "A streetcar named De-Giants," read another. One was much more to the point: "We'll mess with Texas."
So far, the National League champion Giants have lived up to their fans' wishes by taking a commanding 2-0 lead over the Rangers with the series now shifting to Texas.
What should happen next, though, sparked conflicting thoughts among ardent Giants supporters as they cheered, chanted and danced their way through Thursday's Game Two.
"No, no, no, I don't want the series to come back to San Francisco!" physiotherapist Cindy Walton told Reuters after the Giants had crushed the Rangers 9-0. "A real fan wants it done as soon as possible.
GETTING IT DONE
"Just get it done. I don't need to be here for it. As long as it's finished, it's finished."
San Francisco-based glazing contractor Adam Gonzalez, a Giants fan for 25 years, disagreed.
"I want the series to come back here because you never know when it's going to be happening again," Gonzalez said with a gleaming smile.
"Let's suck it all in, let's go seven games but win it. Let's roll right into Christmas and Thanksgiving with a big World Series win."
Gonzalez and Walton were in full agreement, however, about the pain and anguish that is worn almost like a badge of honor by long-suffering San Francisco supporters.
The Giants have not won the World Series since leaving New York for California in 1958 and this season's pitching-rich lineup has teased and tortured the fans with a series of nail-biting wins.
"The fan torture is so real, you can feel it," Walton said. "When we're trying to overcome San Diego and we were down by like six, seven or eight games, it seemed unreal.
"We had all these close games and then we would come back and we would pull it out of nowhere. It's like you want to pull your hair out sometimes."
For Gonzalez, Giants torture is all about the slender margin of victory after sudden and unexpected shifts in momentum.
"We're back a run, or two runs, and all of a sudden we're ahead one run and then suddenly we let them back in. Like last night, it was torture," he added, referring to San Francisco's 11-7 win in Game One.
"We're ahead and we think it's a comfortable inning and all of a sudden they come back. But that makes it exciting. I'd rather have that than a blow-out series. It just brings a little bit more to the whole stage of winning it all."
Whether or not the 2010 World Series returns to San Francisco, the city renowned for its music, 1967's Summer of Love and its liberal politics has already made the most of its Fall Classic experience in thoroughly entertaining fashion.
(Editing by Patrick Johnston)