Giant turnout for World Series victory parade in San Francisco
Published: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 11:10 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 1:44 p.m.
SAN FRANCISCO — Hundreds of thousands of Giants fans flooded downtown San Francisco on Wednesday, turning the streets into an jubilant sea of orange and black as the Bay Area united to celebrate the team's World Series victory.
A forecast of rain didn't dampen the mood as crowds standing more than 20 people deep along the Market Street parade route chanted, “Let's go Giants,” and waved brooms in the air to celebrate the four-game sweep over the Detroit Tigers.
“It's awesome ... the energy is crazy,” said Mary Houghton, 24, a graduate of Montgomery High School who now lives in San Francisco and watched the parade from Market and Sansome. “Just watching everyone come together, and just be so ecstatic for the same thing. It's just fun when things like this unite communities.”
Organizers expected 1 million revelers to attend. Numerous commuter trains were delayed as fans crammed onboard, and some travelers were turned away from ferries departing Marin County.
In the financial district, fans on top of office buildings shot waves of black and orange confetti from air guns and plastic garbage cans onto the euphoric crowd below.
Four Petaluma natives who grew up watching Giants games together met up on Market Street after making early morning treks from Cotati and the East Bay.
“Today is awesome. Well worth the trouble,” said Justin Norman, 30, a salesman who left Cotati at 6:30 a.m. and made it to the city in two hours. “I worked a 14-hour day yesterday just to be here.”
Derek Wilkins, 30, of Petaluma, was excited to be at the celebration, after living in Boston for several years and missing the 2010 parade because of a midterm.
“Everyone was always talking about how the East Coast fans have all the passion,” Wilkins said. “So this was good West Coast validation.”
Indeed, passion was on display as fans began to catch glimpses of the players riding by on the route. In Panda hats and Giants jerseys, perched on tree branches and climbing on top of bus shelters, fans cheered and waved brooms and flags in the air as the players rode by.
The ticker-tape parade began at the foot of Market Street near San Francisco Bay and traveled about 1 1/2 miles to City Hall, where the team addressed the crowd. Players rode in open-top vehicles, but only the first row or two of fans on the sidewalks — and a few lucky kids perched on their parents' shoulders — had a clear view over the throngs.
Ronin Osmond, 3, was one of them. His favorite player? “Buster.” And his favorite part of the series? “When Buster hit it.” Ronin's parents, Nate and Monica Osmond of Martinez, decked out in Giants gear, had painted their faces as skulls inspired by Dia De Los Muertos.
To catch an image of the passing players, Jordan Canseco, 17, of Patterson, balanced precariously atop a parking meter. As he shot photos, other fans passed their phones to have him capture an image.
“I should start charging for this,” he said.
For the most part, the scene around the parade was one of camaraderie, as the team attracted throngs of fans from all walks of life.
Near the parade route, Dwayne Robinson, 52, Brien Chatman, 31, and Blaine Wilson, 46, all of San Francisco, posed for photos with their friend's Harley Davidson that had been emblazoned with black and orange designs and World Series insignias.
“I feel good for the city, because the Giants came a long way, and they deserved to win,” Wilson said. “I liked their demeanor, how they respected the other members of the team, their composure, humanity. Humility is a big thing for me.”
“We want to raise our hand to the heart of the city,” Chatman said.
At City Hall, teenagers clamored on top of a Budget Rental Truck to take in the scene, yelling “Sweep! Sweep!” over the crowd. Throngs of revelers packed the lawn, anxiously waiting for the players to arrive.
“I'm pretty stoked that I get to be here,” said Jake Montero, 21, a student at San Francisco State who grew up in Petaluma.
“As far as the players go, coming back for both the division series and the playoffs was pretty incredible,” Montero added. “In the World Series, they just dominated. ... It's a great group of guys, a lot of good personalities.”
Fans went wild as pitcher Sergio Romo, clad in a T-shirt that read “I just look illegal,” and other players took the stage.
“We are a great example of this city,” Romo said. “Each one of my teammates, we have a different story. But we all have one goal in mind ... to win this championship as a group.
“We couldn't have done this without San Francisco,” Romo said.
Mayor Ed Lee presented the team with a key to the city and a broom, to signify the sweep.
“What makes this team so special really was their unselfish blood,” said Giants Manager Bruce Bochy. “They showed you there's really no heights you can't rise to.”
At the end of the celebration, fans were treated to a performance by Tony Bennett, who sang “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” even as a fight broke out between two young women to the left of the stage. Nonetheless, the festivities, mostly peaceful, carried on.
Getting to and from the parade proved to be a challenge for many. Riders were squeezed in tight on Bay Area Rapid Transit trains into the city from the East Bay, said Kayla Tobin, 24, of Fairfield.
“Literally the BART train was sweating,” Tobin said. “It was super, super packed.”
Two Rohnert Park residents, Gerald Jones and Margarita Gonzalez-Jordan, thought they might beat the rush when they arranged to board a 6:35 a.m. ferry from Larkspur to San Francisco.
But apparently lots of others had the same idea — including what seemed to be large groups of high school kids — and the ferry terminal “was a mess,” Jones said.
But the effort was worth it, he said.
“The energy is incredible. It's absolutely incredible,” Jones said. “We have a common goal. It's beautiful. I'm glad I came.”
Staff Writer Mary Callahan contributed to this story.
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