Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Ticker tape

Today the Giants brought it home with a parade through SF.  Now, this city is well used to parades - Chinese New Year, St. Patrick's, Japantown, Bay-to-Breakers, etc. - but nothing like this.  An estimated 1.5 million people were expected, and it seemed that most were coming by BART.  The queue for tickets in Walnut Creek stretched out both sides of the station and, trying not to look too smug as a regular user of public transport and season pass holder, I sauntered on past.

On the platform it wasn't much better, but as we all squished onto the SFO train it became clear that WC was the last station where people were actually going to manage to get on.  Amongst pained cries of "I have to get to the airport!" whenever the doors opened at other stations, I was again thankful for being tall enough not to have to travel with my face in someone's armpit.

I squeezed out at Embarcadero and into unseasonal gorgeous hot sunshine.  Turns out that even the fickle SF weather has a sense of occasion.  The human tide surging down Market was going in the opposite direction from me as I fought through to the Ferry Building and some Blue Bottle coffee.  Suitably stimulated I flowed with the crowd and found a comfortable spot in the financial district, nicely sheltered by a big marble pillar, at the back of the ten-deep crowd.  It was still an hour until the parade but white, black, and orange streamers were already filling the air and every motorcycle cop who drove up or down the road was roundly applauded.

Then it all began.  First came the politicians, old and new, including Arnie and our new Governor elect (as of yesterday) Jerry Brown.  The latter got a much bigger cheer than the former.  After them all the Giants staff - cleaners, ushers, ticketing staff - everyone who was on the payroll got to drive down the corridor of screaming fans, as did many of the greats of previous eras (none of whom I recognised, but the lady next to me screamed "Willie Mays!" and "Barry Bonds!" at different points).

Finally it was the team's turn.  Two to a trolley car, they waved, threw out t-shirts, video-taped the whole thing, obviously as overcome as everyone else.  It was really quite sweet.  Tim Linecum, the star pitcher, and Brian "The Beard" Wilson got the biggest applause, with Edgar Renteria greeted by chants of "MVP! MVP!" (most valuable player).

Ticker tape parades are things you only read about growing up in England, like unicorns and hot summers.  Actually seeing one is pretty incredible.  So many people and so much noise!  And a generous smattering of vuvuzelas too.  The BART ride home was still standing room only but a little less crowded, and if the Giants win again soon I can't believe things will be half as crazy.  After all, people have had 50+ years to save up their waste paper for this one.

The line to get out of the Creek...

...and to get here.  Just a few people at Montgomery and Sutter.

This is why!

Perhaps they were at another famous ticker tape parade.

A good day to work in the city.

It's the Cal Berkeley marching band!  Woo, Go Bears!!

Someone taking the opportunity to shred and dispose of incriminating company documents.

The first buses with the Giants' support staff.

What's this?  I believe it's one of the team sponsors, but is that a pistachio claiming to be a king?  As we all know, there's only one member of nut royalty in the Bay Area. 

The tape keeps fluttering down.

And forms a nice carpet.  The team hasn't even arrived yet!

Here they are!  It's our boy Madison Bumgarner, whose first game for the Giants we saw.

Freddie Sanchez is excited to be featured on my blog.

Vantage point #1.

Vantage point #2.

Fear the beard!  My camera feared it so much that it failed to get an in-focus picture of the man himself.

Tim Linecum, one of the biggest and best Giants.  And he's only 26!  I've wasted my life.

The fog in the city today is orange.

Where ticker tape goes to die.

More great (professional) photos here.

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