For the first time since moving to California from New York City in 1958, the San Francisco Giants are the World Series champions of Major League Baseball.
After trouncing the Texas Rangers in 5 games, the team returned to the City by the Bay on Wednesday, November 3, 2010, for a tickertape parade up Market street and a ceremony on the steps of City Hall where they were handed the key to the city.
Welcome to San Francisco.
Would you like a World Series championship?
Although I’m a die-hard New York Mets fan, I made peace with the decision thanks to the fact that the Giants don’t really compete with the Mets. That, and the fact that the Giants were originally from New York and the orange in my Mets hat comes from their team colors.
With that out of the way…
From Opening Day through the summer-swoon and the ensuing fall frenzy, I trekked out to AT&T Park more than a dozen times, always screaming my head off for the team and making my presence known. Except, of course, when my Mets came into town and I had to cheer even harder for the visiting team.
I attended NLCS Games 3 and 4 at AT&T Park, both wins, and looked forward to completely losing my voice at the World Series…or at least watching it at a sports bar with fellow San Francisco Giants fans. However, as luck would have it, I had planned a week-long trip home to New York months earlier and was flying out the night of the first World Series game.
I Had to Hope the Giants Lost a Few Games
No problem, I thought. As long as the Rangers win at least two games, the series will be back in San Francisco and I can watch the G-men win it all on their home turf. Cliff Lee is good for at least two wins on his own.
Well, as history tells, the Texas Rangers managed one measly victory and the San Francisco Giants won the World Series at Arlington Stadium while I watched from a friend’s apartment in NYC, completely bummed that I was not at the Civic Center with all of my friends, painting the town orange and black in the aftermath.
I also was completely bummed that it looked like I would be missing the tickertape parade, as it started at 11:00 am on the day I flew back and I didn’t land until 11:30.
“Even if I just see them cleaning up, I still have to make it,” I thought as I grabbed my two huge and heavy bags from the luggage carosel and booked it onto BART (public transportation).
From the Airport to the Parade in One Hour
I made it to Dickerman Prints Photo Lab, where I work, at 12:30, said a quick “hello, I’m not here, goodbye,” grabbed my camera and ran back out the door to head to the Civic Center where the parade was concluding.
Getting out of the train station at Civic Center was a madhouse, with thousands of people trying to use one of the dozen or so turnstiles. When I finally got above ground, I was treated to a celebration that I had not even imagined possible.
All of Market Street (the main thoroughfare of San Francisco) was packed with wall-to-wall people cheering, yelling, dancing, hugging, drinking booze, smoking pot and wearing every type of San Francisco Giants paraphernalia in existence.
The streets were lined with vendors selling tee-shirts, pennants, newspapers, beads, hats, silly string, balloons, posters and more.
Celebrating Victory at the Civic Center
The madness had fully engulfed me by the time I made it to the Civic Center plaza, where fans had found perches atop every climbable structure, tower or tree.
The wall of people facing City Hall was at least 20,000 deep and densely packed to the point where I dared not try to squeeze in lest I never get out. Even my spot way in the back was still full of motion, people and excitement.
Flags were waved, air horns and Vuvuzelas tried in vain to drown out the sound of cheering and players were introduced to a whirlwind of spinning orange towels in the hands of fans. Unsanctioned local bands brought the pandemonium up yet another notch, with dance circles parting the sea of Giants paraphernalia.
Everyone Was Happy!
In addition to the standard Giants shirts, hats and jerseys, people were decked out in masks, Mardi Gras costumes, bright orange hair and face paint. I saw crazy hats of all shapes and colors, black and orange leggings, Giants shoes, dark black Brian Wilson beards (fear the beard!) and long-haired Tim Lincecum wigs. It’s like San Francisco had two Halloweens in the course of 4 days.
Some say that it’s silly for people to get so excited over a sporting event. I couldn’t agree LESS.
Why would you not want an entire city to be happy, smiling and in an extended good mood? I’ve seen strangers hi-fiving on the street, cars honking their horns as they drive by, random “woooo’s” breaking out left and right and an explosion of Giants clothing on ever single person that goes out in public.
Heck, even me, the biggest Mets fan I know, has broken out a bright orange hat with the letters SF emblazoned on front. And that, my friends, is a World Series miracle.
What About the Parade?
Although I wasn’t able to make it to the parade, my wife, Carrie, was in the heart of it all. From her office window on the 11th floor above the parade route, she shot this incredible video of the tickertape falling and players passing by.
There was another huge celebration during the first game of the next season.