SAN FRANCISCO -- For more than two hours on Monday afternoon, several hundred Giants fans waited patiently on both sides of the AT&T Park driveway, cheering at any passing charter bus in hopes that it would hold their beloved 2012 World Series champions.
And at around 4:40 p.m. PT, a police-escorted caravan of charter buses pulled into the driveway at 2nd and King to draw raucous cheers from the crowd. The scene erupted when Pablo Sandoval emerged from behind one of the buses after they parked with the World Series Commissioner's Trophy in hand, skipping along the droves of screaming fans behind temporary fences who serenaded him with chants of "MVP."
The cheers grew louder when a beaming Sergio Romo, who was recording the entire moment on his iPhone, took the trophy from Sandoval and hoisted it above his head to declare that the World Series trophy had once again returned to San Francisco.
The scene was just as energetic -- albeit more controlled -- as the one that took place on that very same block just the night before, when thousands of fans gathered outside AT&T Park to raucously celebrate throughout the night the team's second World Series championship in the last three years following Sunday's 4-3 win against the Tigers in Game 4.
Fans began showing up at the ballpark on Monday well in advance of the team's expected arrival, with team officials saying before that the Giants would be there shortly after they landed at San Francisco International Airport at 3 p.m. The fans came as they did for all the sold-out home games this season, decked out in orange and black, with scattered panda costumes and homemade signs. The cheering continued as the players collected their luggage and took pictures with their families in front of the World Series trophy before waving to fans as they drove out in a single file line out of the parking lot.
"Two years ago, it really was a miracle after we went through a season of torture, while this team has gone through a magical run," fan Deb Sheppard said as she awaited the Giants' arrival. "This is a team that doesn't have just one star who stands out, but it's a true team, and that's what San Francisco is all about. I love that I get to celebrate that."
Jay Lee is an associate reporter for MLB.com.