San Francisco Giants pitcher Sergio Romo looks up as confetti falls during… (Marcio Jose Sanchez, Associated…)
SAN FRANCISCO —Hundreds of thousands of happy baseball fans jammed downtown San Francisco on Wednesday to celebrate the Giants' second World Series championship in the last three years — a vibrant street party sprinkled with Halloween-garbed revelers.
Die-hards showed up before the sun, cadging spots along Market Street not long after work crews had finished festooning the parade route with black, orange and white balloons. A grim reaper with a pumpkin head, sporting the team's trademark colors, got in line for an early morning hot dog.
Legions of fans looked more or less like pandas, a homage to third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who hit three home runs in Game One against the dazed Detroit Tigers. And the voluptuous young woman in red sequined hot pants and a sheer black blouse? Anyone's guess.
Luis Lopez of South San Francisco was no mystery at all. The San Francisco International Airport worker was decked out as a rabbit in a Giants jersey.
"The Easter Bunny should have the right to celebrate the World Series win too," he insisted after removing his furry white head so he could be understood. "I've been a fan since '89. Remember the Battle of the Bay? I want to bring back my childhood memories!"
Huh. That would be the year that the Oakland Athletics swept the Giants in four games — punctuated by the Loma Prieta earthquake, which killed 63, buckled the Bay Bridge and left thousands homeless.
This year was a sweep too, although a far less dramatic one. San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee commemorated the 2012 victory by presenting the team with a key to the city, along with what he described as "the first ever …broom to the city."
"We have celebrated," he shouted. "We have screamed. We have shouted all year long. And once again, the Giants have captured our imagination and our hearts."
The day was not entirely lighthearted.
Closer Sergio Romo eschewed the Giants' championship attire in favor of a navy blue T-shirt that read: "I JUST LOOK ILLEGAL." Romo, who threw the pitch that ended the series, was raised in Brawley, not far from the Mexican border.
Romo is of Mexican descent and he didn't mention his sartorial statement during a brief speech on the steps of City Hall. Then again, he didn't have to. Tito Fuentes, a former Giants second baseman and current Spanish language broadcaster, beat him to it.
"I told Sergio, that T-shirt, I really love it. And I came prepared. I might look illegal, but I got my card," the Cuban-born Fuentes told the crowd as he waved what appeared to be his green card. "I'm not gonna make that mistake. I know I'm gonna be stopped today."
Not far from the festivities, in the hulking Hall of Justice, seven people allegedly involved in post-win vandalism Sunday night were arraigned.
None of that fazed Janet Clark, who drove in from Paradise, Calif., at noon on Tuesday and found her spot on the Civic Center plaza at 5 a.m. Clark has been a fan for 50 years, and she would not have missed this moment for the world.
"I'm here to celebrate the World Series and feel the excitement," the retired caregiver said. "You live with this team the whole year. It's like a marriage. You support them, and then you feel the thrill of their success."