A massive throng of Giants fans converged on Market Street and the Civic Center on yesterday in a powerful statement of Bay Area unity and togetherness. The crowds were much deeper than in 2010, yet the parade worked better because players got their own cars instead of sharing cable cars. From my vantage point Bruce Bochy, Sergio Romo and Tim Lincecum got the largest parade ovations, with Bochy later giving a powerful speech attributing the Giants success to “service trumping self-interest.” He also profoundly noted that the Giants “were drinking water from a well dug by others.” Sergio Romo electrified the crowd with his “I Just Look Illegal” t-shirt, using the mass event to highlight the dehumanizing language involved in racial profiling. It was San Francisco living up to its reputation as the City That Knows How.

October 31, 2012 was a wonderful day in San Francisco and for all Bay Area residents who are Giants fans. Fans in Giants garb began arriving on the parade route via jammed BART trains before 8am, and Market Street was fuller than in 2010 at least an hour before the parade began.

It appears those who missed out in 2010 made sure not to repeat their mistake this year.

The crowds were in great spirit. The only complaints I heard concerned the lack of toilets, which were in mass in Civic Center Plaza but not anywhere near the parade route along Market. Businesses posted signs saying “No public restrooms” to prevent being overrun by fans desperate for toilet facilities.

Market Street At Its Best

The parade showed Market Street at its best, and it was a great move changing the route away from Montgomery Street in favor of a straight shot down Market. The parade had only a few of the long gaps between vehicles that plagued the 2010 event, and was as paced as well as any parade of that length can be.

I heard Sergio Romo getting tremendous cheering as he left his car and walked down the street, and noticed he was consciously modeling his shirt to the crowd. It was not until later that I learned that Romo’s shirt attacked the anti-Latino racism underlying the attack on undocumented immigrants. Immigrant rights activists cheered Romo’s action. Monica Novoa, who leads the Drop the I-Word campaign, noted “Romo used his platform to show how ridiculous the notion is for anyone to be considered ‘illegal,’ He also is pointing to how this dehumanizing, inaccurate language goes hand in hand with racial profiling.”

The Giants Spanish-speaking broadcast team was given ample time at the rally, and Marco Scutaro and Pablo Sandoval were both given a chance to speak Spanish to their fans. These are the actions of a franchise that really understands the feelings of its fan base, and it had to mean a lot both to the players and their fans that they were given this opportunity.

When you think that Giants manager Alvin Dark prevented Latino players like Juan Marichal and Orlando Cepeda from speaking Spanish in the clubhouse in 1962, it's clear how far both baseball and the country has come.

I think we all saw in the brief comments of Hunter Pence why he was such a powerful speaker. Quite creative of him to gather his teammates and replay the Giants' escalating clapping that inspired the team during the playoffs.

A City That Knows How

The great longtime columnist Herb Caen used to describe San Francisco as “the city that knows how.” He acknowledged that the city did not always meet this standard, but felt that in the big picture it was accurate.

I wish we had Caen today to paint the picture of the 2012 parade and rally, as he would have gotten it exactly right. Others will try their best. I think San Francisco again vindicated Caen’s faith in its ability to do the big things right, and thanks to all of the city employees who made the day special for everyone.