San Francisco goes orange and black for Giants

October 31, 2012 10:45:29 PM PDT
San Francisco Giants fans lined Market Street and packed Civic Center Plaza Wednesday to celebrate the team's World Series win. City dignitaries, Giants legends and current team members boarded floats and vintage cars and even hit the pavement for the parade that took them to a ceremony featuring Tony Bennett and a city honor created especially for the team.

An estimated 1 million Giants fans attended the festivities and that meant long lines for public transit. BART saw 553,016 exits, breaking its one-day ridership record of 522,198, set in 2010 on the day of the last Giants World Series victory parade. Muni also saw a significant increase in ridership; by their estimates, more than 250,000 people used the Muni underground Metro system, a 50 percent increase from a typical day.

Fans wanting to be front and center for the parade began lining up when it was still dark and braved a little early morning rain. But the weather cleared before mid-morning and held for the duration of the celebration.

Today's World Series heroes were joined by the Giants legends of years gone by. Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda and Willie McCovey all rode along the parade route.

Players rode in convertibles along the parade route, but for some, simply waving to fans was not enough. Closer Sergio Romo hopped out of his car to run along Market, dancing and dispensing high-fives. Romo also garnered attention for his provocative attire -- a t-shirt saying "I just look illegal."

The Giants were not the only professional Bay Area sports team participating in the parade. 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and quarterback Alex Smith got in on the fun by volunteering as drivers for Brandon Belt and Matt Cain.

If it looked like it was raining confetti out on Market Street Wednesday, it was because the city used 24 cannons to shoot 1.5 tons of biodegradable, non-toxic orange and black confetti, 10 times more than was used two years ago.

Once the team made it to Civic Center, Mayor Ed Lee presented the key to the city, San Francisco's highest honor. Additionally, in a nod to the Giants' sweep of Detroit, Lee also presented the first-of-its-kind "broom to the city."

The plaza was packed long before the parade even started. Tens of thousands of people stretched from City Hall all the way back to United Nations Plaza.

Many of the Giants fans arrived early. Some at dawn, but many others arrived at 1 and 2 a.m. and in some cases, started camping out as early as 10 p.m. Tuesday night.

After speeches from the players, including Hunter Pence leading the team in one last "Slow Clap" cheer complete with sunflower seed shower, Tony Bennett closed the ceremony by performing his love letter to the city "I Left My heart in San Francisco."

Once the speeches and songs were over, and the player and fans headed home, what was left was the cleanup. The city deployed 12 sweeper and steamer trucks and more than 50 people walked the route with brooms and blowers.

They expect to pick up well over 15 tons of garbage.


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