Iconic SF, Kansas City baseball bars create ‘virtual window’ into World Series games 

click to enlarge Lefty O’Doul’s will have a webcam during the World Series that will be shown at Walsh’s Corner Cocktails in Kansas City. - MIKE KOOZMIN/THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Mike Koozmin/The S.f. Examiner
  • Lefty O’Doul’s will have a webcam during the World Series that will be shown at Walsh’s Corner Cocktails in Kansas City.

San Francisco and Kansas City, Mo., are separated by 1,500 miles, but fans in both cities can enjoy the World Series games together.

Lefty O'Doul's, the second-oldest baseball bar in The City, has set up a Web camera with Walsh's Corner Cocktails, a baseball bar in Kansas City, for fans to watch the games together -- and even heckle one another.

Lefty O'Doul's opened in 1958, the same year the Giants came to San Francisco, while the 36-year-old Walsh's is known for its annual celebration and fundraiser on Babe Ruth's birthday, Feb. 6. The first game begins at 5:07 p.m. today in Kansas City, and fans are encouraged to visit either bar to enjoy the game from both sides of the field.

"We can look into their window, and they can look into ours, so all the fans over there can badger us over here and we can badger them back," Nick Bovis, owner of Lefty O'Doul's, said of the Web setup.

Tom O'Doul, a second cousin of legendary San Francisco baseball player and coach Lefty O'Doul, waved to Walsh's Corner Cocktails owner Pat Walsh on the screen as the video streaming was set up Monday.

"We're having a little precipitation in San Francisco today, but we'll survive it. It'll stop by Friday," O'Doul assured Walsh, referring to when the Giants will play their first home game in the World Series.

O'Doul and Walsh agreed the matchup will be a good one -- despite San Francisco winning the championship twice in the past five years, both teams know what it's like to be the underdog. The 2010 World Series marked the first time the Giants won since moving to San Francisco, and the Royals haven't taken a championship since 1985.

"It's amazing, two wild-card teams making it," O'Doul said. "[Kansas City] plays the game the way it's supposed to be played. It's going to be a really good Series."

Walsh expects the crowd at his bar will be just as excited as when the Royals last played in the World Series 29 years ago.

"Everybody was just going wild," said Walsh, who was working at his bar on Oct. 27, 1985. "The game was over a little after 10 [p.m.]. For the next two hours [until the bar closed], everybody was just hootin' and hollerin' and slapping each other, high-fiving, kissing and hugging, jumping up and down, going outside and yelling."

San Francisco is preparing for similar enthusiasm.

"I think the energy's electric, but it's not high voltage -- not yet," O'Doul said. "I think once they start playing here, once Friday rolls around, it's going to get really high voltage."

Both bars also intend to serve as safe havens for Giants fans in Kansas City and Royals fans in San Francisco. Each bar hung a poster with the other establishment's name to help visitors feel at home -- and to converse with their fellow fans 1,500 miles away.

"We just have three rules," Bovis said of the video feed. "Don't talk after four beers, talk intelligently [and] use facts. Everything else goes."

About The Author

Laura Dudnick

Bio:
Laura Dudnick, a Bay Area native, covers education and planning for The San Francisco Examiner. She previously worked as a senior local editor for Patch.com, and as the San Mateo County bureau reporter and weekend editor for Bay City News Service.
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