Everyone loved the parade for the champion SF Giants
SAN FRANCISCO — Neither cold wind nor driving rain was going to stop the love fest between the 2014 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants and the million or so fans that lined Market Street last October 31 for the traditional victory parade.
The weather forecast called for 100 percent chance of rain, but fans showed up anyway, many with umbrellas and raincoats and other forms of water repelling materials, determined not to let a little rain stop them from cheering for and showing their love for their San Francisco Giants.
And still others just prepared to get drenched au naturel. No plastic raincoats. No umbrellas. No hats for these hardy souls. Some had come as early as 5:00 that morning to stake out a position at the front of the crowd that in some places went seven deep along the parade route.
Some Like Delette Jackson had come from as far away as Sacramento, leaving from there as early as 2:00 a.m. to be in the City by 5:00 a.m. so as to get the front-row position that she was occupying at 1:00 p.m. before the parade started.
The crowd was antsy with anticipation, and any vehicle that drove along any stretch of the cordoned-off parade route, even the small flatbed golf carts that ferried city’s maintenance crew, were applauded heartily.
The throng was ready to explode in cheers and applause at the first glimpse of any of their heroes—the 2014 San Francisco Giants, they of the three championships in the last five years. Even the UC Berkeley band, their parade gala uniforms visible through their plastic raincoats, got restless and staged an impromptu concert for the crowd at the corner of Steuart and Market Streets.
When the parade finally started, it was led by the San Francisco Police Department’s mounted patrol bearing the flags of the state, of the city and of the San Francisco Giants. A loud roar rose from the crowd when the mounted color guards started their march, signaling the start of the long awaited parade.
When the double-decker buses started coming, the pure glee on the faces of the fans that had been eagerly waiting to show their love for their SF Giants lit up the otherwise gray day. Each and every bus carrying a player or two and their families/close friends was heartily cheered.
Players were called out by name as if he were a next-door neighbor. Shouts of “You’re the best, Hunter!” to Hunter Pence, right fielder and inspirational leader of the team with his perennial wild-eyed look and unkempt curly, blond locks “We love you! Don’t leave!” to Pablo Sandoval aka Panda, a fan favorite, who is now a free agent.
Home Run King Barry Bonds was also in the parade in an open top sports car, and he, too, was lustily cheered with chants of “Barry! Barry! Barry!” Buster Posey All Star Catcher and The Face of the Franchise was greeted with a particularly loud cheer when his bus came into view.
Jeremy Affeldt , relief pitcher, when his bus stopped for maybe a minute or two, played catch from the second deck of his bus tossing a football back and forth with someone from the crowd, the game of catch ending when the fan failed to field the ball on the third toss from Affeldt.
But more than just a football was exchanged between players and fans. It was impossible to overlook the genuine love and adulation from the crowd and genuine appreciation from the players and their coaches and every member of the Giants organization. This team belonged to the Bay Area– to everyone who lived in a city or town along or near San Francisco Bay. Nothing like the joy of a championship to bring a region together.
On this day, for those few hours, there were no Republicans or Democrats, no blacks or whites, no rich or poor, no 1-percenter or 99-percenter, no hyphenated American, along that one-and-a-quarter mile stretch of Market Street. Even the most indifferent had to have felt the joy of those few hours.
It would be a good guess that no work was done that half day in any of the offices that had windows looking out to Market Street. And one can imagine that there were not just a few who called in sick for work that day in offices throughout the Bay Area. And school children who played hooky, with a nod and a wink from their parents.
The loudest cheers came when the bus carrying the team’s manager Bruce Bochy came around the corner carrying the World Series trophy. His bus was preceded by a pick-up truck that carried the two trophies from the two previous championship years, 2010 and 2012. Way to rub it in to the rest of the baseball world.
The tail end of the parade featured the 2014 World Series and national League Championship Series MVP, Pitcher Madison Bumgarner, hoisting up and showing off his two MVP trophies.
As had been the practice with the first two championship celebrations, the parade ended at the Civic Center Plaza, where the players were individually presented to the crowd that had filled the plaza.
So, on Halloween day, 2014, there were no ghosts or goblins or scary monsters on the streets of San Francisco. Only loveable Giants. On October 31, 2014, the happiest place on earth was not Disneyland. It was San Francisco.