While divided by basketball loyalties, fans of the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors shared a moment of exultation Wednesday night at Sleep Train Arena as baseball’s San Francisco Giants gutted out a 3-2 victory in Game 7 of the World Series.
Given the renewed excitement surrounding the Kings, you might have expected Sacramento’s season opener to be the sporting event of the week, but with the Giants playing in a winner-take-all game of the World Series, many fans were torn.
“It’s ripping out my heart. I can’t decide which one to watch,” said Camille Runnels, of Sacramento at the arena’s crowded fourth-floor bar. She sported her favorite Giants jersey rather than wearing Kings colors.
“I wore my Kings gear in my heart,” she said before Sacramento fell 95-77 to the Warriors.
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It was an unusual place to watch a baseball game, but as the Giants edged closer to clinching the decisive game, throngs of people kept redefining “standing room only” within the bar, where chants of “Let’s go, Giants” rang out.
Dave Ellison of Roseville hoisted his son in his arms to give him a view of one of the three televisions showing the baseball game. Both wore Giants caps.
“It’s hard to watch Game 1 of the basketball season when the last game of the baseball season is on,” Ellison said.
Vacaville resident Guillermo Fonseca was decked out in blue Warriors gear, but appreciated the shared Giants love.
“Sac and S.F. came together to back the Giants,” Fonseca said.
The Kings also tried to accommodate fans with split loyalties by televising the baseball game on screens outside the arena.
Shiva Chatkara, of Lincoln, couldn’t pull himself away as the basketball game tipped off.
“I have to support both teams, but I have to go with (the) one that is more important,” Chatkara said.
As Game 6 of the World Series played out Tuesday and it became apparent a seventh game would be played, Kings season ticket holder William Hodges decided he didn’t have much of a choice.
“I sold my tickets,” said Hodges, who works as a communications professional.
He said he was excited about seeing the Kings open the season, but as a lifelong Giants fan he couldn’t miss Game 7 of the World Series.
“I couldn’t be sitting at the Kings game trying to follow the (Giants) game on my smartphone,” Hodges said. “I love the Kings, but there will be 40 other home games to go to. I feel like I can miss one.”
But while many people enjoy the camaraderie of fellow fans, Hodges preferred to don his lucky hat and watch the game at home.
Anthony Wright, who heads a statewide heath care advocacy group, said before the games that he planned to monitor the end of the Giants contest.
“I have the MLB (phone) app and an ear bud, so I might multitask,” Wright said.
He said he might have had a more difficult time pulling himself away from the baseball game if the Yankees or the A’s were playing.
After all the coverage of the Kings business affairs, it was good to actually see the NBA game, Wright said before tipoff.
“Opening day everybody is undefeated and you have a full supply of hope,” he said.
Before Wednesday’s big games, proprietors of area bars said basketball would have to wait.
“We’re big Giants fans here,” said Geoff Chargin, of the east Sacramento pub Chargin’s Bar & Grill. “The Kings will be up there, but the Giants will take precedence.”
He said the entire playoff series has been good for business, though he added that there was a slight drop-off during the World Series as nervous fans sought the comfort of their lucky armchairs.
“We’re looking forward to it,” Chargin said. “Go Kings, Go Giants.”
Since most sports bars have multiple televisions, one solution was to show the Giants game with the Kings playing on at least one of the screens. That was the solution at Cheaters Sport Bar on Folsom Boulevard in Sacramento.
There was no double feature at Hook & Ladder Manufacturing Co.
The upscale restaurant on S Street in midtown has a “very specific ambiance,” said spokeswoman Emily Griggs. Large wood panels conceal the pair of flat screen TVs behind the bar most evenings.
“We show playoffs games exclusively, so we’ll be showing the Giants game and not the Kings game,” Griggs said.
Call The Bee’s Ed Fletcher, (916) 321-1269. Follow him on Twitter @NewsFletch.