SAN FRANCISCO — A homecoming for the San Francisco Giants players and some of their most stalwart fans Monday briefly brought Pacific Bell Park to life one last time this season.
Fans filled the lower deck of the ballpark from dugout to dugout and cheered for several minutes as Giants players stood in street clothes near the pitcher's mound.
Jon Miller, the play-by-play announcer for the Giants' television broadcasts, worked the crowd and introduced the World Series losers, saying, “They need some love.”
The appreciative fans who made it to the ballpark Monday wanted to savor a few more minutes of a season that surpassed the expectations of most.
Susan Lallo, who lives in Campbell, drove through the night to make it to Monday's rally after spending Saturday and Sunday in Anaheim for games six and seven of the series,
“In one way I'm happy, but I'm also sad because it's all over,” she said.
Lallo attended all three World Series games in San Francisco and was dressed in an orange Giants jersey and ball cap this afternoon.
Like any true fan, she dismissed the Anaheim Angel's supporters and scoffed at their knowledge of the game.
“They're just bandwagon people,” she said.
On the field, Miller introduced Kirk Rueter, Kenny Lofton and Rich Aurlia, who stepped to the microphone and in turn told the faithful that they'll get 'em next year.
“This is the most fun I've had in a long time,” Rueter said. “I know we came up one game short, but were going to try to get that game next year.”
There was neither sight nor mention of Barry Bonds, the team's star who led the league in hitting this season.
Second baseman Jeff Kent was also absent, as were several other players who Giants' officials said did not fly back to San Francisco on the team plane and did not make it to the hastily-planned consolation gathering.
In a mark of the event's lack of polish, the difference between the winners and losers of the World Series, the marching band and color guard from Fairfield High School in Solano County were assembled on the baseball diamond, the first line of the color guard holding aloft large sparkling letters that spelled the word “Fairfield.”
But the fans didn't seem to notice. They were there to continue to stand behind their team.
Dana Coffin, a San Bruno man, said he was not disappointed that the Giants did not win the series.
“This whole month has been like a Mister Toad's Wild Ride at Disneyland,” he said.
Miller, at the microphone, turned to the ancients to try to bring the Giants' run to the World Series into perspective.
“As the philosopher said, 'Gaze upon it, remember it, for you may not see its like again.”
After the 20-minute ceremony ended and the cluster of players filed onto waiting buses, many fans remained in the stands with nothing to see but the grounds crew tarping over the pitcher's mound and home plate.
Some milled around the home dugout hoping to catch a last glimpse of a Giants player, some sat in the sunshine warming the seats on the third base line.
The season was over in defeat, but the fans did not want to quit the park.