Giants fans giving playoff pride a new look

Beth Laberge/Special to the S.F. ExaminerFurry fanatic: Dominic Carini

Beth Laberge/Special to the S.F. ExaminerFurry fanatic: Dominic Carini

When the Giants reached the postseason two years ago, there was not a seat in AT&T Park that wasn’t occupied by a long beard, a mohawk or even a panda as fans cheered on their favorite team of misfits.

In this postseason, the stands have been more toned-down, but some fan favorites could still be spotted.

For instance, San Francisco resident Henry Sohn, 44, wore a panda hat as an ode to third baseman Pablo Sandoval. He called the hat “vintage” and said though 2010 was fun, baseball changes, and that’s not a bad thing.

“You don’t expect to have the same team in baseball,” Sohn said. “Sometimes you don’t know who you have on the team until halfway through the season. [Sandoval] is still one of my favorites.”

In the 2010 postseason, the panda hat, a beard or a mohawk for Brian Wilson, and even marijuana leaves on T-shirts saying “let Timmy smoke” — to spark Tim Lincecum — were seen around the ballpark. Two years later, the novelty has worn off slightly.

Giants fans haven’t abandoned their team — they’ve just left behind the gimmicks.

On Sunday, a sea of orange and black in a 41,000-strong crowd showed up to AT&T Park to welcome the Giants home for their National League Championship Series opener against the St. Louis Cardinals. The energy was unmistakably present, even if the costumes weren’t.

The fans cheered on their favorites, including catcher Buster Posey, who received the loudest welcome in his first at-bat of the night. Posey hit a grand slam last week in Cincinnati to clinch that series.

Many fans wore 2010 World Series championship T-shirts and player jerseys Sunday. Regardless of what people wore, many fans were just happy they could be there to watch the Giants in the postseason.

“I love my team,” longtime fan Buffy Cereske said. “Dressing up is part of the fun.”

Cereske, 57, wore black-and-orange argyle pants, black-and orange-earrings, an orange hat with Giants pins attached and orange Converse sneakers. Cereske also had a 2002 NLCS shirt from when the Giants took on the Cardinals and won en route to the World Series. She keeps it for luck.

Neil Nelson was trying to create luck of his own. The 43-year-old nurse at Stanford said he only became a Giants fan this year; in order to prove his newfound support, he went all out on his outfit.

Sporting a bright-orange wig, orange sunglasses, an orange-and-black beaded necklace and black-and-orange socks, Nelson said he has bought tickets off websites such as StubHub even when nobody he knew was planning to go.

“You have to do it,” said Nelson, who’s only been in the Bay Area for a few years. “I’ve always wanted to become a Giants fan, and this is the year to do it.”</p>

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

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