Orange-and-black fever swept Sonoma County on Tuesday as fans snapped up San Francisco Giants jerseys, hats and even doggie sweaters in anticipation of today's World Series opener.

Frenzied shoppers swarmed the men's clothing department at JC Penney in Coddingtown Mall in Santa Rosa when clerks unloaded boxes of newly minted National League championship T-shirts. Fans reached for them before they hit the shelves, waving them in the air and yelling out for different sizes.

The store sold 500 units within a few hours.

"People were grabbing the shirts off the cart as they were wheeling it out," said store manager Mike Gobble.

Many chalked up the exuberance to the thrill of having the Giants compete in the fall classic for the second time in three years. The Giants' popularity soared in 2010 when they won their first major league title since moving from New York in 1958.

"The first time will always be special," said David Edwards, a truck driver from Windsor who grew up in San Francisco and worshipped Hall-of-Famer Willie McCovey.

Others said there's more riding on this year's bid because the team has a chance to prove its past success wasn't a fluke. Come-from-behind playoff wins against both the Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals is an added thrill.

"Last year we were being called one-hit wonders," said Mark Kithcart, a software executive, also from Windsor. "We didn't make it to the postseason. What this proves is how good a manager Bruce Bochy is. It speaks to the fact that we are not one-hit wonders."

Jose Duran-Lopez of Santa Rosa, who was browsing Giants beanies at All American Sports Fan in Coddingtown, agreed the team has a shot at establishing itself among other sports dynasties.

He described the rain-soaked, final victory over the Cardinals -- a game he watched from home -- as high drama with "all the components of a movie."

"That's real baseball," said Duran-Lopez, a disabled Teamster. "They clowned the Cardinals. The feeling you get is awesome."

Some people felt it firsthand. Shirlee Stiles of Santa Rosa had a ground-level seat at Monday's game. She was nearly hoarse from screaming and chilled to the bone from drenching rain but happy to watch her team shut out St. Louis.

She especially relished seeing Giants' second baseman Marco Scutaro get the last out over the Cardinals' Matt Holliday, who slid into Scutaro in an earlier game.

"If that wasn't poetic justice, I don't know what was," said Stiles. "It was so electric, just to watch them do it at home."

As the Giants prepared to face the Detroit Tigers in Game 1, fans scoured the Internet for tickets starting at more than $500, stocked up on sports apparel and good-luck charms and planned World Series parties.

Joan Carlier-Woods of Santa Rosa wore her game outfit including an unwashed Giants T-shirt, orange diving watch and black-and-orange fingernail polish to JC Penney, where she and a friend loaded up on pennant T-shirts and Giants pillow pets.

Carlier-Woods was planning to watch the World Series on TV with her family, who she described a diehard Giants fans.

"I'll be drinking from the same wine glass with shamrocks on it that I used throughout the playoffs," she said, a bag of T-shirts in each hand. "I didn't wash it either."

A win would have special meaning for Robert Caamano of Rohnert Park, who recently proposed to his fianc?, fellow Giants fan Kalie Barrera.

Caamano promised to marry Barrera after the Giants won the 2010 World Series. He didn't because of financial reasons, but now the emergency medical technician is ready.

He got down on bended knee at the first game of the playoff series with the Cardinals. She said yes to an October 2013 wedding.

"I'm definitely going to wear some Giants cufflinks," Caamano said. "And it looks like we'll be getting season tickets down the road."

You can reach Staff Writer Paul Payne at 568-5312 or paul.payne@pressdemocrat.com