A Giant Celebration

KARL MONDON / CONTRA COSTA TIMES / MCT & DAN HONDA/CONTRA COSTA TIMES/MCT

Charlie Kenneweg

“Don’t Stop Believing.” That classic 80’s song by Journey became the anthem for San Francisco fans everywhere during the Giants’ improbable playoff run. As it turns out the city by the bay never stopped believing in their team, and today they celebrate the Giants’ first world championship since moving to San Francisco in 1958.

Wednesday, fans clad in orange and black line the parade route on Market Street in San Francisco, but it wasn’t an easy road to get here.

All the Giants had to do was beat out the San Diego Padres, who had spent nearly every day this season in first place, for the NL West title, beat legendary manager Bobby Cox’s Atlanta Braves in the NL Division Series, take on one of the best pitching staffs in baseball in Philadelphia (a team that had been to the World Series two years in a row), and topple a Texas Rangers team led by the American League batting champion and a pitcher who had never lost a game in his short, but impressive, playoff career.

The entire 2010 season for the Giants was about unlikely heroes. From the emergence of rookie sensations Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner, to the re-emergence of wily old veterans like Aubrey Huff, Pat Burrell, and Juan Uribe.

But today isn’t about the players. This parade is for the fans, and the fans showed up in a big way. Before Wednesdays parade organizer estimated a crowd of 1.5 million. That number may have been surpassed.

“This is incredible”, said David Cramer, a lifetime Giant’s fan. “Being so close in 2002 and not winning it all hurt a lot. This is what I’ve been waiting for. I still can’t believe we won. I don’t think it’s hit me yet”.

That is a sentiment felt by almost every Giants fan.

Early this season Giants play-by-play announcer Duane Kuiper came up with the perfect slogan for Giants baseball: “Torture.”

Kuiper came up with this term because of the close nature of almost every game the Giants played and the teams knack for late inning theatrics. But Wednesday, torture has never felt so good.

Urma Calabretta has been a Giants fan since 1958 when the team first moved to San Francisco, and she knows how important this team means to the city.

“This is just amazing, This is probably the most powerful thing that has happened to this city in a long time; since the earthquake,” she said with a smile.

This championship is long overdue in the bay area. Out of every team in the major league, the Giants’ organization has more Hall of Famers than anybody else. Yet the city of San Francisco had to wait 52 years to hoist a trophy.

Today the fans who wear orange and black are satisfied, but they all have their sights set on the future as well. With a young core of players, the San Francisco Giants could be poised for a great couple of years. These fans just hope they don’t have to wait another 50-plus years.