SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Thousands of orange and black-clad Giants fans hugged and high-fived one other Monday night as the club clinched its first World Series title since moving west more than a half century ago.
As the final out of the 3-1 win was recorded, the thousands watching on a big-screen TV at San Francisco’s Civic Center plaza leapt for joy as City Hall glowed bright orange in the background.
“I have a permanent smile on my face,” said Valerie Nicklas of Berkeley, who celebrated at another large street gathering near the Giants’ AT&T Park. “This makes all the years of suffering worth it.”
Fans waving Giants flags and rally towels danced in the downtown streets near the Civic Center as car horns blared. A lone accordion player played a tune as fans swirled around him. Others surrounded a drum corps as it pounded out a rhythm.
Amy Anderson Giugliano shot a bottle of champagne into the air, dousing those nearby.
“I never thought this would happen!” the 42-year-old from San Carlos said. “I’m going to celebrate all night!”
The club last won the Series in 1954 when they were the New York Giants. They moved west four years later, but suffered World Series losses in 1962, 1989 and 2002.
That last defeat to the Los Angeles Angels has been fresh in Jun Lee’s mind, but he still chose to drive in from Benicia with his wife so that their 16-month-old son could witness the celebration from his stroller.
“We came out here in 2002 for the same thing, and with six outs left they blew it,” he said. “This is unreal.”
Almost an hour after the win, fans were jumping up and down in unison and screaming “ooooh-REE-BAY” — a popular chant at games to honor third baseman Juan Uribe.
Traffic was slowed in the city’s Castro district as people flooded out of bars, restaurants and homes. The neighboring Mission district was also jammed.
Fans also blocked traffic near the Giants’ ballpark as they made their way toward Willie Mays Plaza, where a statue of the legendary outfielder stands prominently outside the stadium’s gates.
“This is a long time coming,” said Jason Scully of San Francisco. “They’re a great team — all the castoffs and misfits truly represent this city.”
Mayor Gavin Newsom announced the public viewing at the Civic Center after the Giants’ 4-0 shutout victory over the Texas Rangers Sunday put them on the verge of clinching the championship.
With an autumn sun beaming, hundreds of fans laid out blankets and folding chairs on the lawn a full two hours before Monday’s first pitch. Fans roared as the screen showed black-suited, bow-tied starting pitcher Tim Lincecum entering the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas.
Officials quickly scheduled a ticker-tape parade for Wednesday at 11 a.m. through the city’s financial district. In a statement, Newsom congratulated the club and thanked them for bringing the city together.
“San Francisco eagerly awaits your return,” he said.
Associated Press writer Terry Collins contributed to this report.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.