San Francisco euphoric over NL pennant
Fans celebrate at AT&T Park, in streets after Giants clinch
SAN FRANCISCO -- Car horns were honking. Friends were high-fiving friends, while strangers were hugging strangers.Because of technology, a few fans knew the outcome even before most people saw Ryan Howard watch Brian Wilson's strike three go by him. "Oh my God," said a fan standing outside Public House at AT&T Park. "We won! We won!" And then, hundreds of Giants fans within Public House saw it for themselves, as Wilson's slider snuck by Howard. In Philadelphia, the Giants had clinched the National League pennant, and more than 2,800 miles away in San Francisco, it was, excuse the misspelling, utter pandamonium.
"It's surreal. Insane," Ken Kazama said. "I can't even put it into words. We're going to the World Series. It's just unbelievable."While Buster Posey and Wilson were jumping into each other's arms and the Giants reserves jumped over the dugout railing and covered Citizens Bank Park in jubilation, San Francisco was, believe it or not, hosting an even bigger party along King Street. As Wilson strutted back out to the mound for the ninth inning, vendors were already setting up tables to sell Giants 2010 National League champions T-shirts and hats. By the time the final out was recorded, Giants fans were basking in the glory of their team. "There's no better feeling," Kazama said, as he took a break from running around the Willie Mays statue in front of AT&T Park. "Oh, man. I'm just speechless." Nearly 3,000 miles away, the feeling was mutual. "I'm just speechless. Really breathless," Giants general manager Brian Sabean told FOX following the game. "It's a great opportunity to see what we can do on a bigger stage." Despite the blowing rain and cool October wind swirling around AT&T Park, Giants fans couldn't have been happier, as they let loose the emotions they held in during the past few years. "It's fitting it's raining," James Blackford told a friend on the phone. "They couldn't have done it on a nice sunny day." Torture? Countless one-run ballgames that had fans on the edge of their seats? Waiting until the last possible regular-season game to even clinch a spot in the playoffs? On Saturday night, all of the angst was forgotten. "It's just exciting, the way they battled," Jose Campos said. "They came out and knocked them in the gut." Although the game was played in Philadelphia, fans still flocked to AT&T Park to watch. Although the game wasn't being played on the video board in center field like it was during San Francisco's clinching win over Atlanta, fans still wanted to be at the ballpark during the team's biggest win of the season. Kazama and Blackford both said they got to Public House at 3:30 p.m., more than an hour before first pitch. As late-arrivers came to the restaurant, they were turned away. "All day," a Public House doorman said. "It's been like this all day. We shouldn't even have that many people in there." Now, believe it or not, Giants fans, the party will continue. It's late October, and while you've spent the past few years watching the World Series on TV, it's time for San Francisco to host the biggest event on the baseball calendar. And while Giants fans are excited for what the next few weeks could potentially bring, they'll gladly put off that thought for a night that not even wind and rain could deteriorate. "It's a feeling of a lifetime," Kazama said. "Euphoria."
Cash Kruth is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.