By Matt Nauman
SAN FRANCISCO – For more than 1 million fans, it was a day to celebrate the Giants victory in the 2012 World Series with a festive parade and ceremony.
And Chris Piacentini, a PG&E fleet manager, had one of the prime viewing spots.
“Absolutely! I have one of the best seats in the house,” said Piacentini, who was one of four drivers of PG&E vehicles that pulled parade floats down Market Street. From his vantage point, he saw cheering fans almost everywhere – on the side of the street, in windows in office buildings and even on the roofs of some buildings.
Two PG&E bucket trucks and two full-size pickups – all hybrid vehicles – were used in the parade.
This wasn’t the first time that Jim Powell, a manager in PG&E’s transportation services department, had driven in a parade.
Well, he said, those were small community events. “Not in front of a million people.”
A two-mile party
Billed as the Giants Champions Parade, the event started shortly after 11 a.m. at the foot of the Ferry Building and moved down Market Street before turning toward City Hall. The two-mile party ended at Civic Center Plaza where all of the Giants players and coaches, including Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey, Matt Cain and Sergio Romo, were feted by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and other dignitaries.
Huge crowds lined both sides of Market Street. They cheered as floats and marching bands passed by, and they roared their approval as Giants players past and present waved from the back seats of convertibles.
Giants greats, including Will Clark, Willie McCovey, Orlando Cepeda, Juan Marichal, Gaylord Perry and Willie Mays took part in the event.
But the crowds were hungry to see the stars who had just swept the Detroit Tigers in the World Series. Cannons fired confetti from building tops and from street level. The players waved and took cell-phone photos and even conducted rolling interviews with TV reporters. Many had spouses, children or other family members with them to share the moment.
Catcher Buster Posey, a potential National League MVP, and third-baseman Pablo Sandoval, the MVP of the World Series, were the last players in line and got the most love from their fans.
PG&E crews erect balloon arches
Overnight, the city’s financial district had been transformed. Tall arches of orange and black balloons crossed Market Street, courtesy of PG&E crews who strung them using bucket trucks.
PG&E is a long-time partner of the Giants, helping the ball club and AT&T Park become the greenest in the Major Leagues.
Several community partners who work with PG&E got to ride along with PG&E crews. They included Harold Brooks, CEO of the Bay Area Chapter of the American Red Cross, Phil Kilbridge, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Greater Bay Area, and Anne Wilson, CEO of the United Way of the Bay Area.
San Francisco dignitaries, including previous mayors such as Willie Brown, were driven in classic cars like a Chevy Bel Air, a Studebaker Commander and a Buick Super Eight. Motorized cable cars used to carry large groups were festooned with balloons and signs.
People walked besides floats handing out goodies – from bags of chips and pieces of candy (appropriate since today is Halloween) to T-shirts and foam baseballs. Vendors were selling Giants pennants, T-shirts and ball caps, and seemed to be doing a brisk business.
Email Matt Nauman at email@example.com.