Jackie Link's Blog

- A blog for no good reason

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

A million fans

O.K., I'm just a fair-weather fan, but I watched the playoffs and the Series and even rode my bike to the parade today - more on that later.  I have a bittersweet history with the Giants, going back the 52 years they've been in San Francisco.

In July 1958, I met my father at the then Southern Pacific Station for dinner, after which we drove to a parking spot on Potrero Hill, and walked over the highway on the pedestrian bridge to the old Seals Stadium for a Giants' ballgame.  It went 11 innings without a hit.  I don't remember now who won that game because my 15-year old brother was in a fatal auto accident that day and we didn't learn of it until we'd driven home late that night.

Some years later, after my father died, my mother moved into a condo in San Mateo, where the outfielder for the Giants, Jack Clark, was her neighbor.  I'm pretty sure she was already a fan before he moved in, but she'd giggle about knowing Jack all season, like icing on her cake.

I've kept her Giants' cap with its 1984 All-Star Game button on the side.  I got it out last week and set it in front of the TV, and she was very much with me, rooting for her team.

And with her in mind I decided to ride my bike to the parade.  Usually, parades in this town draw a decent crowd, but nothing I can't ride through.  Today was different. 

There were fans walking on 7th Street from as far away as Townsend.  By the time I got to Market it was clear that this was an unusual turnout.  I could see and hear the helicopters and knew it would be a long time before they got to us but I amused myself taking pictures of the crowd.  I kept moving toward Civic Center - and with my big bike it became more and more of a challenge.

Fans at Market & 7th Street at 11:15.
Fan on street light at Grove & Larkin

But one thing I saw in Civic Center that touched me, and that I did not photograph, was a family with a framed picture of a man and a shrine of Giants' memorabilia and flowers and a glass of what I guessed was his favorite beverage sitting on the pavement so he could join them for the fun this week. 

And then it got really crazy as I continued walking my bike west on Grove, hoping to get to the other side and continue on to school.  By Polk Street the crowd was gridlocked and I had to fight against claustrophobia, fear of stampede, but my bike and I finally popped out the other side and I pedaled away. 

It said in the paper there really were a million fans in that 1.5 mile stretch of Market Street.  A lot of them were still there when I rode back through Civic Center at 3:00.  Such a day. 

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