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Looking back at when Giants nearly moved to St. Petersburg

SAN FRANCISCO — The streets of San Francisco were buzzing and blazing orange and black Wednesday with the World Series in town for the second time in nine years.

But it would have been a silent night at AT&T Park had an early 1990s deal engineered by Vince Naimoli to buy and move the team to St. Petersburg gone through.

"If you would have taken National League Major League Baseball out of northern California, I think it would have been awful," said Mike Krukow, a former Giants pitcher and longtime broadcaster.

"This fan base knows baseball and they're a great crowd to play in front of. As we've seen, once you got them a great ballpark they've supported this club in numbers. I just think it would have been a real crime had this city lost the Giants, and the Giants lose San Francisco. It all worked out for the good."

It certainly looked that way Wednesday, given what was essentially a daylong celebration.

"Our lives would be so different," team president Larry Baer said. "Hundreds of thousands, millions maybe, of people in our community have been enriched. All the people who've said they love walking down the street in Giants garb this week with the pride of being a San Francisco Giants fan, we would have lost that."

The Giants drew more than 3 million fans again this season and have averaged 2.9 million for the 11 seasons since the picturesque waterfront stadium — built as part of the effort to keep the team from moving — opened, ranking behind only the Yankees, Dodgers and Cardinals over that time in cumulative attendance.

"It just shows that things can turn, when there is passion and belief and strength of conviction, a fan base and everything else," Baer said.

ROSTERIZATION: In an effort to get things right in their bullpen against the Giants, the Rangers dropped lefty Clay Rapada and added righty Mark Lowe, figuring the hard thrower could get a strikeout or ground ball when needed.

Lowe was acquired from the Mariners as part of the Cliff Lee deal on July 9 but was on the disabled list following June back surgery and didn't return to active duty until the final week of the season. He'd been working out at their Arizona spring complex during the first two rounds of the playoffs. He got to work immediately, starting the eighth and allowing three runs in two-thirds of an inning.

The Giants didn't make any changes, which meant that LHP Barry Zito, and his $18.5 million salary, and Hillsborough High product RHP Chris Ray remained idled for the third straight series.

MISCELLANY: OF Nelson Cruz and SS Elvis Andrus have hits in all 12 of the Rangers' postseason games. … Giants 2B Freddy Sanchez became the 10th player to have three doubles in a Series game. … Lee is the first pitcher to hit a double in a Series game since Cleveland's Chad Ogea in 1997. … Rangers C Bengie Molina, a Giant for 3½ seasons until the July 1 trade, got a huge ovation from the AT&T Park crowd when introduced, and a hand from several former teammates. … Burrell got a good-luck call from Rays batting coach Derek Shelton. … Renteria became the 34th player to appear in the Series with at least three different teams. … Former Giants star Barry Bonds attended the game and said he'd like to return as a hitting coach.

Looking back at when Giants nearly moved to St. Petersburg 10/27/10 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 12:45am]
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