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Auburn area savors Giants' World Series title quest

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Giants fever is sweeping Auburn as a San Francisco baseball team embraced by Northern California as its own this October makes a surprising World Series run. And Giants fans looking for a microcosm of the AT&T Park experience – and maybe a microbrew to quaff as they cheer on pitching ace Tim Lincecum, black-bearded reliever Brian Wilson or rookie wunderkind Buster Posey – are finding the confines of several local bars a friendly alternative to $7,000 tickets. At Pistol Pete’s Brew & Cue, eight TV screens await and most were tuned to local station Fox40 for telecasts during the first two games to the World Series pitting the underdog, over-achieving Giants against the Texas Rangers. Pete Aroz of Pistol Pete’s said many of the Giant fans started arriving at his Downtown Auburn bar shortly after 5 p.m. Wednesday. It was obvious they had been listening to the first few minutes of the games on the radio as they drove there and then quickly hurried to a seat to watch the game on TV, he said. “It’s a fun atmosphere and we have room for more,” Aroz said, reflecting on Wednesday’s turnout of about 50 World Series watchers. “Normally, we have some banter going on but when you have all those people watching the same thing and paying attention to every pitch, it’s different.” Auburn resident Tom Garcia, a longtime Giants fan going back to the days of McCovey, Mays and pitcher Jack Sanford, said the first Giants-Ranger game drew sports fans to Pistol Pete’s he had never there seen before. “If filled the place up pretty much,” he said. “And it’s nerve-wracking to watch – it’s torture baseball.” During the game, Pistol Pete’s bartenders were announcing “on-the-fly” drink specials when something special happened on the screen. And plans are to offer a special “Fear the Beard” drink in honor of the Giants black-bearded closer Brian Wilson. It features 94-proof Kraken rum – the number just a tad below the speeds of the stopper’s blazing fastball. At Sierra Grill Smokehouse on Highway 49 in North Auburn, you won’t find any of Texas favorite Lone Star Beer on tap but Nader Haddad and staff have come up with a tequila, orange juice and secret ingredient concoction they call the Lincecum Changeup in honor of the Giants top pitcher and winner of World Series Game One. Sierra Grill Smokehouse added a projector for the TV telecast to provide more screens for viewers – most of them sit-down diners enjoying a meal as well as a beverage during the dinnertime game. “It was a good crowd and a lot of Giants fans,” Haddad said. “It was a good game and they all left happy.” And while barbecue is a Texas specialty, Haddad said there is plenty more to choose from on the menu – including the California favorite, tri-tip. Constable Jack’s in Newcastle has San Francisco’s Anchor Steam Beer on tap and sourdough bread for its sandwiches. Owner Tim Looper said he’s also planning to put chilidogs on Saturday’s menu at a bar that’s known for its food as well as its music. Looper said patrons have been paying attention to the team throughout the season. Last Saturday, with the Giants battling the Philadelphia Phillies, members of the Danny Castro Band from San Francisco were so distracted by the game that they delayed setting up until victory was assured, Looper said. On Saturday, Constable Jack’s will be having its Halloween costume party but Looper said he expects Giant fans to share their own excitement while watching Game 3 on TV. “The excitement has been contagious,” Looper said.