Orange-and-black clad hordes flooded the streets of San Francisco on Wednesday for a ticker-tape parade celebrating the World Series champion Giants — a Halloween treat made even sweeter as a repeat performance from 2010.
Tens of thousands of people decked out in the team’s holiday-appropriate colours stood 30 deep behind barriers, climbed trees and mounted rooftops along the city’s main commercial street to watch their favourite players wave from individual convertibles.
Standing next to a gold Rolls Royce that served as his ride, Giants manager Bruce Bochy credited the fans with helping lift San Francisco to its second World Series victory in three years, an improbable double play for a team that had not won a World Series title since 1954.
“The support they gave us was unwavering,” said Bochy, who hoisted the World Series trophy during the procession but had to walk the last few blocks when the Rolls broke down.
“Even when we were six to seven games back, they kept filling the park,” he said. “They never gave up on us. They are like part of the club.”
As with the 2010 parade, this year’s edition drew a cross-section of the region’s diversity, from children who were allowed to skip school to older couples who had been Giants fans since the team arrived in San Francisco from New York in 1958.
Clouds of black, orange and white confetti were shot from cannons positioned on roofs along the canyon-like, skyscraper-lined street. It showered spectators and parade participants, who included legendary Giants alumni Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and Juan Marichal and politicians such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
The unifying energy of the Giants’ latest victory was evident as San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith drove the car carrying Giants pitcher Matt Cain and his family, while 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh did the honours for Giant Brandon Belt.
The convertibles gave fans good views along the parade route that began at the foot of Market Street near San Francisco Bay and covered about 2.4 kilometres to Civic Center Plaza, the scene of a rally.
Star reliever Sergio Romo, wearing a T-shirt that read, “I just look illegal,” whipped the roaring crowd into a frenzy when he got out of his convertible and mingled.
“It’s unbelievable! Unbelievable! Just great!” said fired-up right fielder Hunter Pence, who was acquired in a midseason deal and led pregame pep talks.
With the victory parade coinciding with Halloween, costumed masses brought an even more festive feel to what city officials hoped would be a family friendly, alcohol-free event.
Many fans carried brooms as a reminder of the Giants’ four-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers. Others crowded cap-to-glove on the sidewalks strained to catch handfuls of candy thrown from parade floats.
Richmond resident Kevin Yarbrough wore a giant white panda costume in tribute to Giants slugger Pablo Sandoval, whose nickname is the “Panda.”
Yarbough got up early and put in time at work before reaching the parade route around 7:30 a.m.
“You’ve got to come out and celebrate like this. You meet a whole new family, make new friends, and it really lets the community celebrate in a positive way,” he said.
Many people camped overnight at Civic Center Plaza to ensure a good vantage point for the rally. They erected tents and crawled into sleeping bags for a few hours of uncomfortable sleep amid the chill and drizzle of the foggy night.
Bottles of whiskey and wine were passed around in the morning, and the pungent scent of marijuana floated through the air.
James Darden, 42, dubbed the tent city “Occupy San Francisco Giants” and said the wait was worth it.
“I’m front and centre,” the Yountville resident said. “There’s no other place I’d rather be right now.”
Alex Warlen and Kelly Simms, both 17, also spent the night in the park. Warlen is a pitcher and Simms a catcher for San Francisco’s Mercy High School’s softball team, the co-champions of its division.
“Buster is the reason I’m a catcher,” read a sign Simms carried that referred to the Giants’ Buster Posey. The high school seniors said Mercy administrators gave students the day off, so they weren’t cutting school.
“We would have skipped anyway,” Simms said.