My previous experience at the 2010 Giants World Series Championship Parade was incredible and unforgettable. Sadly, my 2012 Giants World Series Championship Parade experience was terrible and entirely forgettable.
I hopped on the baby bullet Caltrain knowing full well it would be packed for the parade, but I naively thought that it wouldn’t be so bad since it only makes four stops. Continually getting stuck behind non-baby bullet trains caused a 45 minute ride to swell into an 80 minute ride, and standing crammed in a sauna of a train car with barely enough room to turn around was utterly miserable.
We finally pulled into the station and I walked a few blocks to the parade route where thousands of people packed the sidewalks and drivers who missed the memo about the parade hopelessly tried to make U-turns through herds of people as cops blew their whistles trying to keep some semblance of order.
The crowds were already 5-6 people deep when I arrived and I walked up and down Market Street hoping they would thin out somewhere and I’d have a good view for some photos and perhaps some video with my GoPro. After half an hour of walking past vendor after vendor selling the same unlicensed World Series paraphernalia and bumping my way through throngs of people that continually poured in from side streets, I settled for a spot on a curb that seemed promising.
Thankfully, I remembered to bring my handy tripod chair as I waited two hours for the parade to begin, enjoying Halloween costumes
the creativity and daring of people to find a good spot to watch
and how quickly the cops would yell at them to get down.
All the while, people continued to pour in, filling any and all available space until the street disappeared behind the sea of onlookers. I knew this was not going to be a good time.
Before the parade, charter buses drove by honking and people got riled up thinking the parade was starting, only to find that they were only doing some drive-by advertising.
When the parade finally did start, I got to hear a few bands go by, and what I gleaned to be Kruk and Kuip and other announcers, then the front office staff and their families, followed by some local dignitaries, some San Jose Giants, some former players, the grounds crew, the medical and training staff, some more bands, a float with an ad for Kettle Chips, the NBC Bay Area news team float, something with some Chinese dragons, and basically anything they could throw in that wasn’t the players. This went on for 80 minutes, I know because I kept looking at my phone wondering, along with many vocal people around me, when the heck the players were coming. As people would get frustrated with being crammed in, the crappy view, and the long wait for what we came to see, they would leave, and more people would cram in and fill the void.
Then, the roar of the crowd signaled the arrival of the players at long last, and everyone raised their camera phones hoping to get a shot of someone important, leaving me with no chance of getting any shots.
Here’s Pablo (maybe)
Oh, and there goes Timmy (sure why not)
A guy that had climbed up a light post began announcing the players as they’d come by. For some reason, the parade organizers decided to have the players drive by sitting in cars, rather than the trolleys they used in the 2010 parade that raised them up to a height where they were viewable. Perhaps due to lack of being able to see, the players seemed to fly by pretty quick, and the player portion of the parade was only 25 minutes.
Completely soured by the experience, I decided to skip the ceremony in Civic Center Plaza and just head back and get on the next train outta there. As was just my luck, everyone else did the same and the ride home was just as crammed and miserable as the ride up, only this train made all 17 stops.
Lesson learned, get there at least four hours early or don’t bother going.
See more of my photos from the event here.