Turn Friday into a slam dunk
Thursday, April 7
SAN FRANCISCO — When I contemplate how Friday’s pregame festivities at AT&T Park might unfold, I think about the Warriors — the 1974-75 NBA champion Warriors, of course.
Forget the flag-raising. Sorry, but the World Series banner isn’t that big a deal. What interests me is the hair-raising. I want to hear Giants fans cheer like they never have before for a team that they’ve never had before. Remember, people — this is your first and only World Series-winning team. If the crowd delivers lukewarm ovations that fail to make one’s hair stand on end mingled with the goosebumps, it’ll be a wasted celebration.
I wasn’t around for any of the lovefests following the 49ers’ Super Bowl victories. But I did attend the Warriors’ home opener that followed their championship season, and my eardrums remain frayed from that experience.
Those Warriors resembled these Giants. They combined character (personified mainly in Al Attles), charisma (virtually every Warrior was worth emulating in some way, if you played hoops) and a total team concept (10 men averaged at least 11 minutes per game, which was unheard of then). Each guy had a significant fan following. So when the Warriors took the court to face the Washington Bullets, whom they defeated a little less than six months earlier in the Finals, the audience that stuffed the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Arena had a lot to give.
As I recall, forward Dwight Davis led off the pregame introductions. He didn’t even play for the title-winning Warriors. But he received a thunderous ovation anyway. Fans continued standing, cheering, applauding and bellowing nonstop for each player. It was almost impossible to hear the public-address announcer, so people reacted by increasing the volume of their roars as each player ran onto the floor.
When Rick Barry was introduced, the din could be heard at the Bay Bridge toll plaza.
This is your chance, Giants fans. Split each other’s ears. Transform Friday’s pregame ceremony into a microcosm of last November’s parade, as some players suggested. Make Miguel Tejada or Brandon Belt your Dwight Davis. Drive yourselves hoarse by the time Dan Runzler is introduced.
This is one of the final opportunities to hail the old year. Turn it into a memory worth savoring.
– Chris Haft