My night before the parade was sleepless. Like a child on Christmas Eve, I was tossing and turning all night in excitement for the next day’s parade. I woke up at 4:45 a.m. and was on the road by 5 a.m., heading toward San Francisco.
After I had found parking and eaten breakfast, I set out to find a spot on Market Street. As a light drizzle fell, I set up my chair outside Walgreens and waited. The darkness lifted as I sat, and so did the fog. The sprinkling rain left the streets shining as the light reflected off them.
Before traffic was closed off on Market, many cars drove by honking their horns as the crowd roared in excitement. Despite the fact the crowd was only one row deep at this time, it sounded just as loud as AT&T after a Giant’s homer, and I knew that the parade would be ruckus.
At 8 a.m., businesses started to roll up their shades as employees in their Giants garb typed away at their computers, looking up every other minute to take in their front row seats.
By 9 a.m., the crowd was five rows deep, and by 10, it was eight deep. The organ player from the ball park came by on his mobile organ and the whole crowd sang “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”
As 11 a.m. rolled up, the buses carrying all the members of the parade came through. Some honked, while others just ran through. Signs were passed out from the local radio stations with phrases like, “Yes We Cain,” “#MVPanda” and “Vogelstrong”.
The parade was led by none other than my favorite broadcasters: Dave Flemming, Jon Miller, Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper. As I waved at my idols, I knew the parade had kicked off and that a long party was to follow.
The voices of the Giants continued as Renel Brooks-Moon showed off her 2010 ring. As she went by she pointed at it proudly, mouthing, “That’s two!”
Amy Gutierrez was next, and I yelled, trying to get my crush’s attention. I’m sure we had a moment when our eyes met. The front office event staff followed. Fans yelled “Thank you”, praising those who keep the game day experiences magical. One employee came over and let us have a close up of his 2010 ring.
Mayor Ed Lee, Congresswoman Nacy Pelosi and Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom led the political caravan.
Gaylord Perry, one of the few MLBers I have an autograph from, rode by. Surprisingly, he didn’t recognize me. Willie Mays and Willie McCovey heard roaring ovations as the legends of New York and Candlestick waved to the adoring crowd.
Brian Sabean held two fingers to the sky to symbolize the Giants second championship in three years. The mastermind was followed by his scouting staff, which included Pat Burrell, who peeked out from the back of the cable car to chants of “Pat the Bat.”
The coaching staff followed close behind as Dave Righetti, Ron Wotus and Tim Flannery drove by. Flannery proudly displayed a sign he “borrowed” from a fan saying, “Giant Cockroaches never die.”
I asked/yelled to Mike Murphy (clubhouse manager) if I could be the bat boy next season. He seemed to give me a thumbs up, so I’m going to take that as a yes.
The man with the size 8 cap, Bruce Bochy, held the trophy high. His smile seemed to resonate pure joy and satisfaction as he received the praise he truly deserves for his genius.
The 25 (and then some) roster came through in almost alphabetical order. Each player rode in an open top car waving along with their significant others and children.
As Matt Cain drove by, I held my “Yes We Cain” poster high and he saw it. He smiled and gave me the thumbs up. It may seem trivial to you, but I still can’t believe that Matt Cain waved to me!
Brandon Crawford noticed me as I started a U-C-L-A chant with my parents. His wife, also a UCLA grad, noticed and pointed us out to Crawford.
Sergio Romo didn’t even take a car as he waved his rally towel, thoroughly enjoying every moment of the celebration.
The highlight of the whole parade came with the Panda, Pablo Sandoval. He was the last player in the parade and as he approached my section we started up a “Panda! Panda!” chant. Suddenly Sandoval’s car stopped. He hopped out, and everyone began to go crazy. He comes running up to my section to high five people. He starts heading at angle that would go past me and I extend as far as I could go and… I received a high five from the Pablo Sandoval. I stared in shock at my hand as if it hadn’t happened. I had been touched by greatness. I proclaimed to myself, “I am never washing this hand again!”
The 2012 parade was magical, more magical than that of 2010. Instead of using cable cars for the players, which didn’t allow a player to waive to both sides, players rode in open top cars instead which allowed them to access fans on both sides. It felt like the players interacted with every side, whereas in 2010, fans only saw about half of the team.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the parade. It’s something to experience and a once-in-a-lifetime moment. If the Giants win another World Series (I mean next year when they do), go to the parade. If you’re a fan, there is no better moment where fans’ love for their team combines with the team’s appreciation of its fans. It’s absolutely amazing.
Some tips for the parade next year:
1. Take a car early in the morning. In 2010, I went by Cal Train and arrived late due to hold-ups because so many people were using the train. This year, I got to the parade route at about 7 a.m. and got a prime spot.
2. Wear something that makes you stand out. Whatever orange piece of clothing you have that most people don’t have, wear it.
3. Pick your spot carefully. This year my spot was a prime location because the crowd dipped inward, away from the parade route. I stood right at the height of where it connected back to the curb. My location allowed players to focus on me because there was a gap.
4. If the player isn’t looking at you, cheer towards his wife. His wife will like the same stuff he does, so just cheer the way you would to that player. Matt Cain and Brandon Crawford’s wives pointed me out to their husbands.
5. Bring your yelling voice.