This wasn’t your typical laid-back spring training season atmosphere.
Saturday’s game at Scottsdale Stadium marked the first time fans of the San Francisco Giants and Anaheim Angels packed a ballpark since the teams battled in a roller-coaster seven-game World Series last fall.
The Angels captured their first championship in the franchise’s 41-year history. The Giants won the Saturday preseason game 6-4, but Angels fans didn’t let the Giants faithful forget who claimed the Series.
"He’s been talking it up for months,’’ said Scottsdale resident and Giants follower Stew Jetson, referring to his friend and Angels fan Phil Bard of Paradise Valley.
The two 16-year-olds, classmates at Brophy College Preparatory high school in Phoenix, sat in the left-field bleachers. Jetson wore a Giants cap, Bard an Angels cap.
Their fan rivalry is steadfast but friendly, they said, though Bard raised the possibility of "things getting out of control in the later innings’’ if it turned into a close game.
Only bragging rights would be lost, Jetson said, because they were "too broke’’ to wager money.
It wasn’t difficult to find Angels fans who were inspired by their team’s championship to drive across the desert from California to Arizona to catch games this weekend.
Among them were Lisa Renzo, Amy Ingraham and Kim Para, teachers at an elementary school close to Edison International Field, the Angels home stadium.
The thrill of victory hasn’t worn off since last fall, they said.
"We’re still playing ‘We are the Champions,’ that Queen record,’’ Renzo said.
Para said they especially wanted to attend Saturday’s game so they could boo the Giants.
Ten-year-old Nick Mercer, who came for the weekend from Southern California with parents Linda and Brian Mercer, predicted that Anaheim would repeat as World Series victors.
His mother admitted the World Series win "was kind of a shock’’ for Angels fans, who were unaccustomed to seeing the home team still standing at season’s end.
Steve Hare said he hoped the Angels would do well again — so the Giants could get a shot at a rematch and revenge.
Hare became a San Francisco Giants fan while growing up in Scottsdale and attending games of the franchise’s since-departed Phoenix Giants minor league team.
He and wife Kate Hare later lived for several years in the San Francisco area before returning to Scottsdale.
Although his hometown roots for the Arizona Diamondbacks, winners of the 2001 World Series, Steve Hare remains loyal to the Giants.
"He goes to Diamondbacks games in his Giants hat and gets booed, but he won’t take it off,’’ said his wife.