Any mass gathering like the Giants parade on Wednesday is all about size and color, to use John Stewart’s benchmarks.
Color? Orange and black, baby. But really, it was all colors. Is there a more diverse fan base in the universe. I saw blacks,Latinos, Asians, Filipinos, young, old, straight, gay, disabled. (A Filipino woman in a wheelchair asked me to take a picture of the empty chair Tim Lincecum sat in).
It wasn’t an all-white or all male crowd. It was a living mirror of the Bay Area.
When it comes to size, the parade was Woodstockian. Half-a million strong? It moved and snaked, then settled at the Civic Center where to me it felt like the the Obama Inaugural–but about 60 degrees warmer.
The warmth, the love, the smiles. It was perfect for Giants fans. It was even good if you weren’t a Giants fan. People were just happy. Work was stopped. Teachers played hooky. Muni was free
But the bottom line, after all these years, there was real joy in Mudville.
That wasn’t the general feeling of the day after a dismal mid-term election when the mandate of 2008 got neutered and the country was sent into a two-year phase of gridlock.
So I was looking forward to the spectacle as anti-dote. Sure enough, Gavin Newsom, who had real reason to celebrate the day after winning the Lt. Gov’s race, had the sense not to gloat and to recognize it was time for the politicians “to step out of the way to restore a sense of pride and joy to the city.”
So why was Gov.Arnold Schwarzenegger there? He was treated like a Dodger, naturally.And a politician. New governor, Jerry Brown, native son, and another victor from the night before, should have been there.
Then on came the Giants. They just had to walk on and stay awhile to bask in the crowd’s admiration.
Speeches? That’s the politicians’ downfall. Baseball players are not as articulate in front of the mike as you’d hope. They perform at genius level on the field. Far from great wits or raconteurs, they can lead a cheer,however. On this day gargantuan cheers were all that was necessary.
One by one the mike exposed the ordinariness of our champions. So it was great that the speaking was kept short. Only Brian Wilson and his beard shtick sustained some interest. Buster Posey was also thoughtful. He wanted to win it all again.
But Aubrey Huff knew what to say and do. He revealed his heralded rally thong.
I have issues about lucky underwear having had a few pair. I did wash mine during the World Series to the chagrin of superstitious friends . I told them it’s lucky underwear. Not lucky dirt.
I was not close enough to check Huff’s hygiene. But he did produce the thong for all to see, our championship amulet.
When “I left my heart in San Francisco” played, it was all over, just like it is after a game at the stadium.
People stayed on wanting more. These are tough times,after all. True joy is in short supply.
But the Giants had left the stage and now it was time for the memories to take over.