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Team Spirits: Spooked Giants players check out of haunted hotel 

Wednesday, Jul 14 2010

Baseball players are a superstitious lot. They'll wear the same jockstrap for the duration of a hitting streak. Eat the same meal at the same time before every game. Wear their caps upside-down and backwards for good luck. Ritually adjust their batting gloves dozens of times a game. Check out of the team hotel due to fear of ghosts.

We are not making that last one up. San Francisco Giants spokeswoman Shana Daum confirmed to SF Weekly that shortstop Edgar Renteria and third baseman Pablo Sandoval last week decided Milwaukee's Pfister Hotel was not their kind of haunt, and moved to an establishment down the street. The reason they fled the team hotel: a ghost infestation.

Daum told us that Renteria and Sandoval "had some sort of experience" at the 117-year-old hotel last season, and took flight rather than stay there again. She had no idea what manner of experience it was, only that ghosts were somehow involved.

It turns out that paranormal encounters at the Pfister aren't something as uncommon as an unassisted triple play. In 2008, Minnesota's Carlos Gomez heard voices in his room, then watched his iPod subsequently go haywire. The incident spurred him to sprint into the main lobby — without stopping to put on his pants or shoes. When he returned to the hotel last year, he was toting a Bible. Other ballplayers have complained of doors and windows mysteriously opening, strange noises, and eerie lights. One spooked Los Angeles Dodger purportedly took his bat to bed.

You needn't be a ballplayer to find odd things at the Pfister, apparently. Multiple guests have spotted the spirit of founder Charles Pfister roaming the premises. Apparently the specter is in the hospitality business even from the great beyond, as guests report the ghost greeted them and inquired after their well-being. That's service to die for.

Hotel personnel, meanwhile, gave SF Weekly a deathly response when we called to inquire after the ghost. "To be honest, we are not allowed to disclose any information about our guests," one manager told us. Okay — what about ghosts? "Guests or ghosts," she replied.

In any event, supposed paranormal activities didn't hamper the Giants' play. The struggling team pulled off a four-game sweep in Milwaukee, outscoring the woeful Brewers 36-7. Perhaps San Francisco general manager Brian Sabean might want to look into signing the ghost of Charles Pfister for the rest of the year. It's the logical next step for a GM maligned for his propensity to ink over-the-hill ballplayers. Sign a dead one.


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