Market Street Parade Brings 1,000,000 to City

From torture to triumph, the Giants celebrate World Championship

It was a Giants lovefest in San Francisco Wednesday.

The San Francisco Giants said they estimate one million people came to the ticker tape parade down Market Street and the celebration outside City Hall.  Officials with the city said they didn't have a specific number when it came to the crowd size, but a spokesman for the mayor told AP they believed it was the largest parade and civic event turnout in city history.

The streets of the City were alive with orange and black as Giants fans from across the entire Bay Area flocked to the City's 49-square-miles to celebrate a group of misfits and castoffs who are now World Champions.

Some fans got there before dawn, initiating the rowdiness for the rest of us.

The 2010 World Series winners took the same route the 1958 New York Giants took when the franchise moved to the West Coast. That was a team which included Willie Mays. And to the thrill of the crowd on TV, on the streets and online Mays was one of the few who were able to make a second trek in person atop a classic convertible. 

The players were carried on the iconic-classic cable cars with their names on placards on top. Fans erupted in their wildest cheers, once the guys with the baseball gloves started making their way down Market Street. Closer Brian Wilson took to walking most of the route on foot. He abandoned his cable car in order to get up close and personal with the fans behind the barricades.

Many of the Giants held Bud Light cans toasting their victory with some suds.

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The parade began at 11 a.m. and beyond the people who watched it live were hundreds of thousands more who saw it on television, on Websites like this one -- or will watch it later on their Tivo or DVRs.

The parade ended with a City Hall presentation by the newly elected Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, along with about a dozen speeches by members of the team.  The Giants themselves kept it short and sweet.  Aubrey Huff will get the award for most memorable moment.  In a Zoolander type moment, Huff reached into the crotch of his jeans to pull out his beloved red rally thong.

There was one hiccup to the day. Once the parade portion ended, and the players and dignitaries had climbed onto the stage at City Hall Plaza, the crowd showed its exuberance, if not its impatience, by breaking down the barricades.

The start of the ceremony was delayed as police re-established the barriers. Meanwhile, Steve Perry and Journey were fired up over the speakers with "Don't Stop Believing" -- music soothing the savage championship crowd, as it were.

The ceremony was delayed for about 10 minutes.

The Giants organization showed it is a class act by saving the best seats in the house for its employees.  Whether they were members of the grounds crew or they sold popcorn, workers were given the choice seats outside City Hall for the official presentation.  And yes, they could bring their children.

There were several "only in San Francisco" moments during the day.  For example, the scent of marijuana was wafting through the air just one day after California voters rejected a ballot measure aimed at legalizing pot.  Closer Brian Wilson acknowledged the odor during his speech.  He said he felt like he was about having a heart attack. Adding, "I'm not sure where it's coming from, maybe from the electricity of the crowd or maybe from the smell of Prop. 19."

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Lori Preuitt is putting the final edits on this story at the very moment she would have been hearing the words "play ball" from Section 204 at Game 6 of the World Series.

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