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Parade gives Giants fans a special Halloween treat

SAN FRANCISCO -- Orange and black scream Halloween every year, but this was different. On Wednesday, orange and black was all over town, sure enough, but the colors were screaming about the Giants as they took to the streets for a parade celebrating their 2012 World Series title.

Orange and black meant going door to door down city streets for hours and spreading joy like candy to hundreds of thousands of party-goers, all of them wearing the same costume.

Naturally, everybody showed up as a Giants fan at this Halloween party, the team's ecstatic and full-throated supporters still soaking in every sight, sound and emotion in the wake of the Giants' second World Series title in three years.

An estimated 1 million fans lined Market Street for the Giants' World Series parade, and with 1 1/2 tons of orange confetti raining all around as the Giants motored slowly toward City Hall, the City by the Bay was turned into a colorful celebration of baseball and civic pride.

Wearing a bright orange blazer, Mayor Ed Lee declared the colors to be San Francisco's own as the World Series champs made their way through his city's streets.

"I think orange and black are the colors of the week," Lee said.

Upon the parade's arrival at City Hall, Lee presented the Giants -- as a team, making a point of that distinction -- with a key to the city, a traditional honor for people who do something spectacular. But he took it a step further, also presenting the team with the "broom to the city," symbolic of the Giants' sweep of the Tigers in four games, completing the deed Sunday night with a 4-3 victory in Detroit.

Clearly, the team that banded together to overcome six elimination games to beat first the Reds in the Division Series and then the Cardinals in the National League Championship Series became an inspiration to the city it calls home.

Said Lee: "Congratulations to the team that does not know how to quit, never gives up and defied the odds at every opportunity. Here's to showing the world what it means to play for each other."

To closer Sergio Romo, this was a team that represented its city well, not only by succeeding on the field but by coming together from many different directions to create something special.

"We are a great example of this city," Romo told the audience gathered at Civic Center Plaza. "You look at the diversity of personalities, where we all come from, the different faces from different places, the different folks with different strokes.

"You look at all my teammates, and we have a different story. But we all had one goal in mind, we all had job in mind, we all had one dream in mind, and that was to become World Series champions as a group."

This was a day to celebrate that accomplishment, and how the Giants went about it. And so it was that the orange and black flowed through the city and up the steps of City Hall well into the afternoon.

The stars of that World Series victory were there, front and center -- Buster Posey, greeted with "MVP" chants, Pablo Sandoval and Marco Scutaro addressing the crowd in Spanish, and Romo, who recorded that final out in Detroit, among those being cheered wildly when introduced on the steps of City Hall to address the throngs of people who had waited hours at Civic Center Plaza for the champions' arrival.

From a performance of "Gangnam Style" and the dance that goes with it to a live rendition of "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" by Tony Bennett, the Giants' celebration covered a lot of ground.

The parade included front-office employees, ushers, security guards and city dignitaries proudly taking photos of each other. It included five Hall of Famers: Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Orlando Cepeda, Juan Marichal and Gaylord Perry, all former Giants and part of the celebration as well.

The parade also included more of the mutual love that has blossomed between the Giants and the 49ers of the National Football League, with quarterback Alex Smith driving the convertible for Giants ace Matt Cain and head coach Jim Harbaugh doing the same for Brandon Belt.

People with wild balloon animals on their back followed some of the bigger cars in the parade, including manager Bruce Bochy in a Rolls-Royce, carrying the 2012 trophy along for the ride. Eventually, the Rolls conked out and needed a push, but all the important cargo arrived safely.

"Today is Groundhog Day," said Giants GM Brian Sabean. "We have the right to claim baseball heaven. This is the mecca of baseball -- San Francisco, California.

"People forgot that this team won 94 games during the regular season in a division that's probably as underrated as any division in sports, beat two excellent teams to win the National League and then go on to Detroit. Unfortunately for Detroit, with all due respect, they didn't know what they were in for."

The GM then turned over the dais to a manager Sabean says now has Hall of Fame status: Bochy, who praised the team concept that got the Giants through tough times in October.

"They did whatever they could to help the team win, and that's the only way this got done, so I thank all of them [for] buying into what we were trying to do, and that's win this World Series," Bochy said.

When it came time for the players to address the crowd, it was evident they were in awe of the support.

Said Posey: "Just looking around and seeing the excitement and happiness on everybody's face, you realize that an accomplishment like this means more than just winning a game. This is about making memories with friends and family that will last a lifetime."

Indeed, the occasion did wind up being an opportunity to honor the fans as much as the players or the organization as a whole.

On this Halloween, orange and black meant one city, one region, all together on the same page, enjoying the success and joy a World Series brings.

"To you, our fans, our familiar voices and faces, you've become our heroes as well," Giants president and CEO Larry Baer said. "No team wins a World Series without a little magic, and our magic is you, our fans. Baseball is continuous. Every team, every generation writes its own chapter. How incredible is this? Right now, right here, our second world championship in three years.

"This is our chapter."

San Francisco Giants