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Auburn shares in SF Giants World Series excitement

Detroit Tigers fans few and far between
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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AUBURN CA - San Francisco Giants-sized excitement over the team’s World Series chances is alive and well in Auburn. Fifty years ago, Auburn’s Gus Pearson was playing the mighty Wurlitzer organ at Candlestick Park when the Giants of McCovey, Mays and Marichal lost to the New York Yankees. Pearson was celebrating two years ago when a new cast of colorful characters made up the Giants roster and took “torture” to new heights for fans in winning close ballgames and being crowned the best in baseball. This year, Pearson is still whirling off baseball’s favorite organ hits for Sacramento River Cats and Stockton Ports games. It’s a long way from the windy Candlestick Park days, where a younger Pearson would bring a set of gloves to wear when he played. But the flame hasn’t died for a long-time Giants fan and it was only reinforced when Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval – known to the true believers as “The Panda” – played games in Stockton during a rehab stint after an injury and Pearson was on the keyboards. “It was amazing to see the power and hard to believe anyone could be that strong, that big and yet so fast,” Pearson said. Pearson has no doubts about the 2012 version of the Giants. “They’ll win it again,” Pearson said. Auburn’s Pete Dufour, information officer with Sierra Nevada Conservancy, said he’s displaying his orange Giants towel but refraining from waving it during his workday. “I’m feeling pretty good about things,” Dufour said. Dufour and his family moved as a child from New York at about the same time as the Giants made their move from the Big Apple in 1957. “I’ve been a fan since I was a little kid,” Dufour said. “I can remember going to Candlestick Park as a little kid and seeing Willie Mays play.” This year, it seems that on any given day, something remarkable is happening to the Giants, he said. “Let’s just say that it looks like things are lining up for the Giants but they still have to get four wins,” Dufour said. Dufour said the support in Auburn for the Giants really hit home during Game 7 of the National League playoff series. Dufour was stopped at a red light as he was driving home to catch the start of the game, when he was struck from behind by another motorist. Dufour was waiting for the California Highway Patrol when an Auburn Fire truck rolled up and one of the firefighters came over. Dufour said he knew the firefighter and also knew he was a Giants fan. “He knew how to take my mind off the situation at hand,” Dufour said. “The first thing he said was ‘The Giants are up 1-0.’” Placer High School history teacher Greg Robinson said he supposes that he could roll a lesson or two into his teaching plan to talk about baseball during the Great Depression, make a point about the economics of baseball or the rise of spectator sports in the 1920s. But Robinson said he prefers to stick to the lesson play and just share his enthusiasm for the Giants with a young, student fan base. “They’re jazzed,” Robinson said. “At least half of the students in my classes are following the World Series and a handful have been to the games. We definitely have a lot of fans here, whether it’s teachers or students.” As for Tigers supporters, it draws a blank with Robinson. “I have honestly not met one on campus,” Robinson said. “It’s kind of a rarity. I guess it would have to be a kid from Michigan.” Kahl Muscott, Auburn Recreation District administrator, is one of those rare Tiger fans. Up until this year, Muscott – a transplanted Michigan resident – has never had to contend with a Giants-Tigers conflict. The two teams had never met before in a World Series. This past Tuesday, Muscott wore his Detroit Tigers jacket to a Rotary Club meeting and ended up being singled out by the organization’s president for what was considered inappropriate attire. “I’ve said from the start that I didn’t want the Giants to play the Tigers because the Tigers don’t do well against left-handed pitchers,” he said. Muscott said he too has not been aware of Tigers fans in Auburn, although he has met a few in Folsom where he lives. Tom Garcia’s Giants fanaticism also stretches back to the early 1960s. “When the Giants won the pennant, I can remember us kids celebrating by riding our bikes and screaming up and down the street in Mountain View,” Garcia said. Garcia said that he’s watching this year’s World Series and wishing no ill will against the Tigers. “They’re a good team and they beat the Yankees, so they have everyone liking them for that,” Garcia said. “But it’s not about beating the Tigers. I just want San Francisco to win.” .