Cheer the beard: Giants win first S.F. World Series

Looking up at the bar’s television and surrounded by strangers Monday night, Marie Bolten was wiping away tears moments after the San Francisco Giants won the first World Series title in the city’s history.

“Oh my god, I’m so excited,” said Bolten, 35, at Barclay’s Restaurant and Pub in Rockridge. “I’ve been a Giants fan for 15 years. Baseball is such a beautiful game, and the Giants have played amazing ball. Seeing them win is like giving birth for me.”

Given little chance by baseball analysts to win major league baseball’s championship, the Giants won the best-of-seven series against the Texas Rangers in five games, taking the final game on the road in Arlington, Texas.

At Barclay’s, the crowd’s screams reached a fever pitch in the bottom of the 9th inning, when Giants pitcher Brian Wilson was on the mound to try to record the game’s final three outs. The slightly subterranean bar was packed wall-to-wall with fans who held up digital cameras to the television, thumped on the tables, and upset amber-colored pints of beer in anticipation of the moment many of them had been waiting for most of their lives.

“I don’t know anyone here, but they’re all my best friends,” Bolten said. “I was at a bar earlier where everyone was on their laptops, and it was just wrong. This is the way to watch baseball. It’s amazing what a ball club can do for a group of people.”

The Giants franchise won five World Series championships when it resided in New York—the last title coming in 1954. But this is the team’s first championship since moving to San Francisco in 1958. It is the first title won by a Bay Area baseball team since the Oakland Athletics defeated the Giants in the earthquake-interrupted 1989 World Series, and it is the first Bay Area championship in any major professional sport since the San Francisco 49ers won the Super Bowl following the 1994 season.

“I’m an A’s fan, but today I’m just a baseball fan,” Patrick Oliver said at Barclay’s. “You got to get excited about great baseball. This Giants team epitomizes classic baseball.”

Wilson, one of the top relief pitchers in baseball, pitched a scoreless ninth inning to close out the decisive game. Wilson’s thick, black-dyed beard became iconic late in the season, as Giants fans began showing up to games wearing fake beards and carrying signs that read, “fear the beard.” Fans also wore wigs to imitate the shoulder-length, boyish hair of Tim Lincecum, who was the winning pitcher in both games he pitched in the series, including Monday’s game. Both times he defeated vaunted Texas pitcher Cliff Lee, who was predicted—but failed—to shut down the Giants offense.

While San Francisco’s pitching is largely credited for carrying the Giants into the playoffs and to the World Series, it was a position player, shortstop Edgar Renteria, who was selected as the series most valuable player. Renteria drove in all three runs in the final game for the Giants on a home run in the seventh inning. For the series, Renteria batted .412 with two home runs and six runs batted in.

“This season, we scratched and crawled our way up,” Bolten said. “Nobody thought we would ever get there, but there’s just something about this team. They deserved this.”

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