09/30/2003 3:44 PM ET
It's 'Orange October' at Pac Bell
Promotion turns the park into a 'pumpkin patch'
SAN FRANCISCO -- Halloween is a month away, but you wouldn't know it if you were milling around with the crowd inside and outside Pacific Bell Park before Tuesday's Game 1 of the National League Division Series between the Giants and Marlins.
Thanks to the "Orange October" campaign launched a few weeks ago by the Giants, fans are getting into the idea of wearing one of the least-fashionable colors on the planet -- but don't tell that to the orange-clad faithful.
"I like it. We look good in orange," said Joan Jordan of Novato, attending the game with her sister, Janet Grison of San Francisco. The season ticketholders both wore fashionable orange shirts, Grison's a Ralph Lauren dress shirt and Jordan's a polo. Grison, who said she's always worn orange and black for the Giants, also sported an orange scarf in her hair and bright-orange Puma shoes that appeared to be designed for rock-climbing.
Even an hour before the game, the stands were already showing enough orange that Pacific Bell Park may very well be renamed Pumpkin Patch Park by the time the Giants' playoff run ends, and that's exactly what the Giants were hoping for.
"We're trying to get a sense of unity amongst our fans," said Bryan Srabian, the team's manager of game entertainment. "We tried the 'blackout,' getting fans to wear black [last year], but we noticed that it's not as much of a statement. We all felt orange is not a traditional color that people have in their closets -- of course, Giants fans have some sense of orange, but with what we were looking for, the full spectrum [across the stands], we needed to do a whole campaign."
Srabian and the club's video crew created a short film to start subtly telling fans in September to "Wear the Orange." In the last weeks of the season, they began showing another pair of films featuring San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown that suggested the entire city would be turning orange, from the buildings to the mayor's wingtips. One spot, filmed in Brown's office, even featured Brown's 2-year-old daughter, Sydney, in an orange Giants cheerleader outfit.
The trend is catching on, said Srabian.
"I'm seeing people say, 'Oh, where'd you get those orange shoes?' 'Oh, I got them at Nordstrom, I got this from Macy's,'" he said. "Even my own wife went and bought an orange corduroy jacket that she might not normally have purchased, but it's in vogue, it's in style right now at Pac Bell Park."
Street banners and posters featuring the "Orange October" slogan and orange-tinted images of players are going up all over the city, and the fan giveaways at each game will be orange. Tuesday's giveaway was orange rally rags, Wednesday will feature orange foam noodles and if Sunday's Game 5 proves necessary, orange pom-poms will be handed out.
"The message is that there's kind of a mystical power behind the orange, and it's something the Giants are very proud of," said Srabian. "It gives you a sense of power -- that's kind of the basis behind it.
"We're hoping ... that all of October is filled with orange, and the fans have responded really nicely to that [movie] in the stadium."
"All they said was to wear orange," said charter seatholder Ellene Gaultney of Petaluma, who came to the game wearing a new "I See Orange People" shirt. Husband Steve wore a more salmon-colored shirt from a few years ago.
"I'm really not an orange person," said the rosy-complexioned Steve. "I'll sacrifice and do my part. ... I think it's a great idea. It shows up better in the stands. Black is a much easier color to sell, because it goes with everything yearlong. Orange doesn't go with a lot of stuff, but it definitely shows up."
Said the orange-loving Grison: "I think it's fabulous, you know, like they do in St. Louis and Philly with the red. You gotta do it. As the season's gone on, I've noticed more orange, and I think it's terrific."
Chris Shuttlesworth is an editorial producer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
By Chris Shuttlesworth / MLB.com