Giants Fans Pack City for World Series Parade

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Giants Fans Pack City for World Series Parade

Nov. 3, 2010GIANTS PAGE GIANTS VIDEOWORLD SERIES PAGE

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Tens of thousands of baseball fans flocked to downtown Wednesday to toast the San Francisco Giants' World Series championship and see their hometown heroes take a victory lap in a ticker-tape parade reminiscent of the one held when the team moved west from New York 52 years ago.

"This is Christmas, New Year's and your first-born all rolled into one," said Steve Williams, 51, an usher at AT&T Park as he gathered with Giants employees at the start of the parade in the financial district. "I'm on cloud nine."

Fans crowded the sidewalks and flooded Civic Center to salute a team of self-described misfits and castoffs. The die-hards showed up before dawn to stake out spots ahead of the festivity. Many skipped work and pulled their children out of school so they could catch what they said was a once-in-a-lifetime celebration.

"I want to see all the hometown heroes and share the smiles of all the fans who've been waiting their entire lives for this," said Teddy Hutcherson, 31.

Under a sunny sky, confetti rained on team members and civic dignitaries as they rode down the parade route in convertibles and cable cars on wheels. Street lamps were festooned with orange and black the team's colors. Large banners proclaimed the Giants as this year's World Series champions, as if the crowd needed to be reminded the team had won baseball's highest honor.

Marching bands, floats and costumed mascots added to the street party.

"I've never seen anything like this is my life," center-fielder Andres Torres said as he greeted fans behind a barricade. "The parade has been amazing."

Fans of Brian Wilson, the quirky reliever whose facial hair has become a local obsession, paid tribute to him by painting beards on their faces and wearing T-shirts that read, "Fear the Beard." He stoked the crowd by jumping up and down and giving people high-fives.

Slugger Aubrey Huff, who threatened to unveil his lucky red thong at the parade, made good on his words by waving it at fans. They roared with deafening approval.

At the Civic Center, fans climbed into trees and streetlights to get a better view, the police unable to reach most of them over the crush of bodies. The scent of marijuana wafted in the air even though a ballot measure aimed at legalizing pot was defeated on Election Day.

Mayor Gavin Newsom was giddy as he described growing up a "fanatical Giants fan" and dreaming about playing for the team one day.

"I thought I'd see (a World Series championship) in my lifetime, but never thought I'd see it as mayor," Newsom said. "It's incomprehensible that this happened."

He even swept aside talk of politics when asked about his victory in the state's lieutenant governor's race on Tuesday.

"Nobody here cares about that, this puts it all in perspective," he said.

The parade moved from the financial district, then down Market Street to the Civic Center where Newsom presented the team a key to the city.

Thousands of raucous fans had gathered at the same spot beneath City Hall's orange-lit dome on Monday night to watch an outdoor big screen television that captured the team's Game 5 win over the Texas Rangers. The Giants finally achieved World Series domination that eluded the team in 1962, 1989 and 2002.

Clippers have more to prove in first clash of 2016-17 with Warriors

Clippers have more to prove in first clash of 2016-17 with Warriors

LOS ANGELES – On the scale of NBA regular-season epic, Warriors-Clippers on Wednesday night rates a solid 8 for the Warriors. It’s circled on the desk calendars in pencil, a game they want for development and vanity.

For the Clippers, though, it’s a 9.5. Might be a 10. It’s stamped on the calendars embedded in their minds.

They need this game, psychologically, to prove they can stand up to the team that has spent the past two seasons winning a championship and setting a record for regular-season wins, simultaneously suppressing the notion of the Clippers being legitimately elite.

Los Angeles also needs to win the clash at Staples Center if these Western Conference titans are to reignite what once was the hottest rivalry in the NBA.

“We get to see what they do; they get to see what we do,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr says.

“It’s a new four-game journey against this team,” guard Stephen Curry says. “We have history that, when you play in the division, year after year, we’re fighting for the same goal of not only winning the division but playoff seeding and coming out of the west. It’s been a nice little back and forth.”

It has been mostly forward for the Warriors, generally backward for the Clippers.

A rivalry is defined somewhat by geography but mostly by hostilities over both the regular season and the postseason. In the very best rivalries, the teams are hunting the same bounty and end up exchanging feelings of ecstasy and heartbreak.

That has been missing the past two seasons, with the Warriors winning seven of the eight games and the last six in a row. It has been Curry over Chris Paul, Draymond Green over Blake Griffin, Klay Thompson over J.J. Redick and Kerr over Clippers coach Doc Rivers.

The contempt that began percolating back in 2012, reaching its apex in 2014 during a spellbinding seven-game playoff series won by LA, has been submerged by this wave of Warriors success.

The “rivalry” has declined considerably, leaving nothing but memories of the days when the teams were striving to reach the same level.

“We were a team trying to break through and make the playoffs,” Klay Thompson says. “They were trying to do the same thing, as far as trying to make noise in the playoffs. We both had an edge to ourselves and we haven’t lost it. They’re still hungry to get to that championship level. You can see that. And so are we.”

Curry traces the origin of the rivalry to Paul’s arrival in December 2011. The decorated point guard brought instant credibility to a franchise that had been every bit as much of a laughingstock as had the Warriors.

“When CP got there and the organization took a different turn, for the better obviously,” Curry recalls. “It was probably that first year we both made the playoffs (2012-13) because the records were a lot better than they usually were and there was a little more excitement around the new and up-and-coming teams.”

Games have featured ejections, multiple technical fouls – once in a preseason game – with an overdose of grabbing and posturing. One beef went postgame, nearly becoming physical in a hallway near the locker rooms.

There has been verbal warfare, sarcasm and slights and insults, though most of it lately has come from LA.

With the Warriors at 18-3 and the Clippers at 16-6, this may be the last season to reignite the conflict, and the first of four meetings will provide a sense of placement. The Warriors are 18-3, having won 14 of their last 15. The Clippers are 16-6, having lost four of their last six.

“It’ll be fun to see how it plays out,” Kerr says.

The Clippers, however, showed up for this season with a sense of urgency. Paul and Griffin both have opt-out clauses and will be free agents in July. The perennial All-Stars have been teammates for five-plus seasons, but this may be the last.

“Their continuity is really key; it’s one of the things that has helped us the last couple years,” Kerr says. “When you have basically the same team for a while, and you’re already a good team, you tend to get better. You tend to grow more and more comfortable with what you’re already doing and then, maybe even have the ability to add on some things.”

So maybe it’ll be different this season. Maybe we’ll have actual back-and-forth.

“They could be a team down the road that we need to get through to get where we want to go, and they probably see us the same way,” Curry says.

Oh, there is no doubt about that, certainly not among the Clippers.

A's reeling after death of minor league video coordinator Mark Smith

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ATHLETICS/TWITTER

A's reeling after death of minor league video coordinator Mark Smith

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — A’s officials at the winter meetings carried heavy hearts Tuesday following the death of minor league video coordinator Mark Smith.

Smith died unexpectedly Monday in Arizona at the age of 41. No cause of death was known, a team spokesperson said, and the A’s traveling contingent at the meetings were still processing the news Tuesday night.

“We’re still sort of absorbing this whole thing. As you can imagine this came as a shock to everybody,” said Billy Beane, the A’s executive vice president of baseball operations. “He had such a commitment to the organization and was such a diligent worker. He’s a tremendous loss. Everybody thought the world of him as an employee, a person. It’s shocking.”

Smith worked for the A’s for eight years and was instrumental in creating the team’s minor league video department in 2009. Manager Bob Melvin, who crossed paths with Smith every spring at the team’s minor league training complex, said Smith went above and beyond the expectations of his job to help everyone in the organization.

“He was the first guy you saw,” Melvin said. “Just a great guy that everybody felt close to. He couldn’t do enough to help wherever he could. … He’d send me video during the year of guys he thought I might see at some point, and I never even asked for them. Just a hard-working guy who was very aware of what each guy he was working with was looking for and needed.”

Funeral services are pending.