giants_db017.jpgThe San Francisco Giants worked hard on Tuesday to beat the Philadelphia Phillies in the latest game of the National League Championship Series, but the same could not be said of many of the team’s fans who attended the game or watched it from their offices.

The head of a Chicago-based consulting firm that studies the effects of sporting events like the NCAA college basketball tournament or the Super Bowl on workplace productivity said workers in San Francisco will likely accomplish less this week because of the series.

John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray and Christmas, said, however, that Giants games could be a net plus for Bay Area companies since the loss of productivity is offset by the sense of camaraderie that comes with rooting for the hometown team.

Challenger said productivity usually takes a dip during the baseball postseason in October, particularly during day games when most employees are at work – or are supposed to be.

“Whether it’s radios like in the old days, or streaming video feeds from their desktop, they follow the game, they talk about the game, and it’s not just your sports junkies that get involved when you get near the World Series,” Challenger said.

The Giants won Game 4 against the Phillies Wednesday to take a 3-1 series lead. The series continues with Game 5 in San Francisco today at 4:57 p.m.

“People come in to work late or not at all, or leave early, or take longer smoking breaks talking about the game,” Challenger said. “It creates a real productivity drain.

But he said the games do not necessarily hurt companies in the long term.

“It does bring people together, and you look for ways to do that in today’s business environment, where people are so much more isolated and short-tenured,” he said.

There has certainly been plenty of camaraderie at bars around the ballpark–some of the few businesses that see an uptick in production on game days.

Mary Connolly, a bartender at O’Neill’s Irish Pub, located near the corner of Third and King streets, said the bar “is always jam-packed during a game” but the crowds showed up hours earlier on Tuesday than during regular season games.

“People were a lot rowdier, trying to get pumped up for the game,” Connolly said. “They definitely came a lot earlier than they normally would, and stayed a lot later.”

She said there were already some Giants fans at the bar Wednesday morning. The big crowds hadn’t yet arrived but, she said, “They’ll come soon.”

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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