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The Giants are facing a Texas Rangers team that has rallied around hand signals.
The Giants bullpen and the frightening facial hair stylings waiting in relief have prompted a Bay Area-wide rally cry of ‘Fear the Beard.’
This was a late-season phenomenon and due to its simplicity and rhyming scheme has caught on like few catchphrases in San Francisco baseball history heretofore.
In the other dugout, the Rangers have a more cryptic mantra they’ve been working for the better part of the entire season.
‘Claw and Antlers’ is a code of sorts for celebrating gritty, heads up play and speed on the base paths. The claw is sort of a long distance high five and the antlers are about acknowledging a teammate’s fleet feet.
The claw is perhaps best described by Rangers outfielder David Murphy, “you signal towards the dugout and the dugout signals toward you after you do something successfully offensively,” he said.
As for the antlers, “you get an infield hit, or go first to third, or you steal a base or do something in that sense that’s when you do the same thing you do it to the dugout and the dugout gives it back to you and it’s a fun thing, part of our camaraderie and part of a symbol of how loose we play,” said Murphy.
“It’s given us something as a group to show our success to each other and to have fun and show our emotions,” said Kinsler.
It’s not at all as catchy as Fear the Beard, but it has delivered a unique impact to a team that was once a free-swinging bunch, whose only ‘small ball’ was being played off the tee on the back nine at the end of nearly a dozen consecutive seasons without any postseason appearances.
“You see our manager jumping around waving his arms and running in the dugout, we’re a team that likes to show emotion when we play,” said Kinsler, adding, “the fans have grabbed on to it, they love it and we love it.”
NBC Bay Area Sports Reporter Laurence Scott is in Texas with Sports Director Raj Mathai covering the Giants run for a World Series title.