Playoff Giants-Dodgers restore ‘crazy’ atmosphere at Oracle Park


Oracle Park has had three sold-out sales during the regular season – September 4 and 5 against the Dodgers and October 2 against the Padres.

On Friday night, a crowd of 41,934 waving an orange towel filled the third and king’s stadium for Game 1 of the NLDS between the Giants and the Dodgers. And players on both sides have taken note.

Dodgers starter Walker Buehler said of the atmosphere in Game 1: “It was crazy here.” Kris Bryant called him “another level” from what the Giants have played before during the season.

“Yesterday, I mean the fans were going crazy,” said Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers on Saturday. “It’s definitely a real playoff game, you know what I mean? “

Saturday night’s Game 2 drew an even bigger turnout of 42,275, including, randomly, movie star Tom Cruise, who was shown on the video scoreboard in Round Four.

Giants reliever Tyler Rogers said ahead of the game that it was “difficult to stand still” in the reliever pen on Friday – and that the excitement over the longtime rivals’ postseason reunion did not fade away. not limited to the stadium.

“You try to stay in your own little cocoon or your own little world and stay in your daily routine and things, but you can definitely feel like a buzz around town,” Rogers said. “Everyone gets to the stadium early because I think we can’t just sit in our houses until the end of the afternoon to get here. We are ready to go into the field. I know I can’t stand still.

It was reminiscent of the Giants’ championship years of the past decade, when the park was regularly crowded. After four years without a playoff – and one with no fans in the seats – Friday returned a sense of spectacle. Steve Young and Jerry Rice led fans in a “Beat LA” chant before the first pitch. Barry Bonds and Chris Mullin sat side by side near the Giants dugout. Manager Gabe Kapler posted on his social media a photo of a pre-match handshake with Young near home plate.

“It was really cool for me to meet Steve Young and Jerry Rice before the game,” Kapler said. “Football and basketball from the mid-80s to the mid-90s is kind of my sweet spot growing up. And it was a bit of a surreal feeling to have to walk over there and shake their hands.

The Giants, who played the first game of this season with capacity restrictions at Oracle Park, placed 12th in the majors attending for the regular season. The Dodgers outscored the majors in attendance, averaging 34,625 per game, and shot 53,193 for the wildcard game on Wednesday – so they may be more used to the atmosphere that awaits when the NLDS moves to Los Angeles for Game 3 on Monday.

The Dodgers, last year’s World Series champions, were among the few teams to play in front of live crowds in 2020, doing so in the NLCS and World Series at Globe Life Field in Texas. Bellinger said he found “the feeling – like nervousness, anxiety – is the same” for the playoffs, even without a traditionally packed house. Bryant, who is no stranger to the big stages during his tenure with the Cubs, made a distinction about Friday’s crowd.

“I just think the fans weren’t really able to come to the pitch or to the stadium last year – I mean they were there in the playoffs but it wasn’t the same – I think they are ready to go, ”said Bryant. “So it was nice to see them there. We’re going to need them the rest of the way.

Matt Kawahara is a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @matthewkawahara

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