Third victory parade in 5 years charms Giants fans

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) The Giants celebrated a third World Series victory in five years with a ticker-tape parade, and it seemed everyone had a story about brought them to rainy downtown San Francisco.

Hundreds of thousands of people turned out to see the floats and players ride down Market Street on double-decker buses Friday. The city was awash in orange, black and white confetti as people packed the parade route and Civic Center Plaza to catch a glimpse of the players.

For two teen-age girls at the parade, getting there involved a little, let’s say, ”acting.” Emily Costello, 17, and Abbey Holbrook, 16, missed class at Carlmont High School in Belmont to celebrate the victory.

”I have a cold,” Costello said with an exaggerated cough.

”I have Giants fever,” Holbrook said as both teens giggled. The pair left their home with Holbrook’s mother in the darkness Friday to ensure a front-row position on the parade route.

”This is a once in a lifetime experience that has happened three times now,” Holbrook said about the Giants’ World Series success.

Greg Geiger, a 30-year-old attorney from San Francisco, came to the celebration in a one-piece giraffe costume in honor of first baseman Brandon Belt.

Belt got the nickname ”The Baby Giraffe” when a radio announcer said he looked like the animal when tracking down a fly all during a game against the Brewers.

The name stuck and soon there were baby giraffe hats rivaling the panda hats in the stands at home games.

”Even if it wasn’t Halloween, I would have still worn it,” said Geiger.

He purchased the costume a few years ago for an outdoor festival because someone told him the giraffe represents his ”spirit animal” – tall, relaxed and friendly.

”So when the Giants won, I took the opportunity to take it out of the closet and put it on,” he said.

One fan had a mission to accomplish before she returned home from Friday’s victory parade: Debbie Bolden, in her 60s, bought two pennants with the team’s orange and black logo, to place on the graves of her parents.

Although Bolden now lives 100 miles east of San Francisco, and got up before dawn to make it in time for Friday’s celebration, she was born in San Francisco. ”I’m a lifelong fan,” she said.

On Friday, just like she did for the Giants’ two previous championships, she took back two new pennants to place by her parents’ tombstones.

For Bolden, it was her way of saying thanks to her parents, for one thing in particular: ”They taught me how to be a Giants fan.”

It was a moment in baseball history the Gonzalez family will never forget.

Two-year-old Claudia Gonzalez was watching the game, eating a bag of Doritos, when Hunter Pence threw his body against the right field wall at San Francisco’s AT&T Park to rob Washington Nationals right-fielder Jayson Werth of a base hit in Game 4 of the National League Division Series.

Fans, including the Bay Area tot, were captured in a news photo as they watched in awe from behind a chain-link fence as Pence made the leaping grab.

On Friday, the rain and long day ahead kept the young Giants’ fan at home with a relative.

But her mother, father, brother and other relatives grabbed a prime spot on the parade route more than 5 hours before the motorcade started.

”I wanted them to experience this,” said the child’s mother, 38-year-old Claudia Gonzalez.

Martha Holder, 60, and her daughter Chelsea Spencer, 31, were holding a sign that said ”Gamerbabes from Fresno,” mimicking a saying of a Giants announcer.

Holder has been a lifelong Giants fan and has passed the passion on to her daughter. This is the third World Series celebration the two have celebrated together.

The pair arrived at their San Francisco hotel Thursday night and ran into Giants rookie Joe Panik.

”He was just the nicest boy,” Holder said.

”And cute, too,” added Spencer.