SAN FRANCISCO Thousands of fans resplendent in orange and black choked downtown San Francisco's largest thoroughfare on Wednesday, noisily celebrating the Giants' second World Series baseball title in three years.
Giants faithful journeyed from all over the Bay Area from dawn to stake out a clear view of a celebratory parade that kicked off with a military band and featured floats, cheerleaders, double-decker buses and replicas of the city's iconic cable cars along a three-mile route from the eastern ferry terminus to the Civic Center in the heart of downtown.
Giants club members and players including Series Most Valuable Player Pablo "Panda" Sandoval and National League Championship MVP Marco Scutaro, city dignitaries like Mayor Ed Lee, and baseball Hall of Famers like Willie Mays perched atop open-top convertibles and waved to the crowds.
Estafania Acosta had hustled all the way from Colma, about 10 miles south of San Francisco, with her nine-month old son Salvador strapped snugly to her front.
"He's a Giants fan too and we wouldn't have missed it!" said the proud mother, who made sure both were appropriately attired in the Giants colors of orange, white and black.
The San Francisco Giants, a team boasting a large roster of homegrown talent, overcame several post-season close calls, mid-season injuries and talent losses to eventually sweep the Detroit Tigers in four games last week, enroute to their second title since 2010.
Exuberant fans -- some already clutching beer cans in the wee hours -- mugged for television cameras or just capered to popular tunes like South Korean star PSY's viral hit "Gangnam Style". Children that had cut classes on a school day were sprinkled liberally throughout the crowd.
Many came with recollections of the victory parade of 2010, an epic street party they hoped to reprise in 2012.
Work slowed to a crawl as office workers packed the windows of the glass-and-steel towers of the financial district, enjoying a ringside view of the city's biggest ticker-tape procession in years.
Hundreds of thousands of fans were expected to show up for a victory parade that this year coincides with Halloween, a happenstance that ensured many in the crowd thronging Market Street turned up as witches or assorted ghouls.
PG&E employee Sophia Rin, 33, missed the festivities two years ago but isn't letting this one slip away. She took the day off to come all the way from Stockton with her face painted like one of the undead.
"Today is a celebration of Halloween and dia de los muertos(day of the dead), but it's dia de los Giantes (day of the Giants)!" she exclaimed. "I wouldn't ever miss this."
Pitcher Ryan Vogelsong, interviewed by local station KRON before the procession began, was only beginning the grasp the significance of the event.
"It hadn't sunk in until this morning, and now I'm seeing all these people and realizing what're doing here," Vogelsong told local TV channel KRON.
"This whole thing is special."
(Reporting By Edwin Chan; Editing by David Gregorio)