SAN FRANCISCO – After Madison Bumgarner completed his dominant complete game shutout to win Game Five of the World Series and send the Giants back to Kansas City just a game away from their third championship in six years, AT&T Park screamed in unison for him to make one last wave from the dugout, a collective thank-you from a single, joyous mind. It was similar to the scene four days earlier, when Royals fans—a cheerful mob that makes a shockingly loud noise rarely heard in the world of baseball—roared for second baseman Omar Infante after he hit a two-run home run off an unnecessarily angry Hunter Strickland to secure the team’s first win in a World Series game in 29 years. The communal adoration and mania of a World Series crowd is infectious, and it is infectious everywhere.
But while that amazing sound is essentially the same in every ballpark, it’s one of the few things—along with the game itself—that’s the same from park to park. I’ve attended every World Series Game this year, and for all the similarity of noise, Northern California and Western Missouri are as far apart in baseball terms as they are politically.