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Giant Expectations 

Hometown showdown between Felipe and Dusty

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WED-THURS 4/30-5/1

The San Francisco Giants, under new manager Felipe Alou, have done a lot this year to erase the disappointments of seasons past. (We won't even mention a certain Game 6.) The team sits on top of the National League West and is off to one of the hottest starts in history.

But die-hard fans who can't get used to the Giants' winning ways or who simply long for the storied era of, well, last year can revisit those times this week when former skipper Dusty Baker returns to Pac Bell Park for the first time since leaving the team.

Dusty and his new (and far less talented) team, the Chicago Cubs, are in S.F. to face Barry Bonds and the hometown heroes. The Cubs, also in front of their division, could make the series interesting. Fans wondering just how good Dusty's new players look should see some exciting baseball; those still pissed off about last year's World Series can boo all they want. Wednesday's game starts at 7:15 p.m. and Thursday's game starts at 12:35 p.m. at Pac Bell Park, 24 Willie Mays Plaza (Third & King streets), S.F. Tickets range from $10 for bleacher seats to $70 if you're one of the few dot-commers still making money; call 972-2000 or visit www.sfgiants.com. -- Jack Karp

Wrestlemania
Move over WWE, PWI is here

FRI 5/2

What sport combines the traditions of commedia dell'arte and kabuki with Antonin Artaud's "theatre of cruelty" and Bertolt Brecht's "epic theatre"? The folks at Pro Wrestling Iron believe their game fills the bill. The Hayward-based school teaches puroresu, a form of Japanese wrestling that emphasizes athleticism and skill over gimmicks and scantily clad women.That said, there'll be no shortage of action -- or full nelsons and pile drivers -- to keep fans on the edge of their seats. Witness tonight's Iron Fist Tour, in which a group of big, sweaty guys with names like Bison, Apollo, Boom Boom, and Hook battle it out in the ring, starting at 7 p.m. at Newark Pavilion, 6430 Thornton (at Cherry), Newark. Admission is $8-12; call (510) 670-0504 or visit www.prowrestlingiron.com. -- Lisa Hom

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