What started as a celebration of the San Francisco Giants’ 4-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers Sunday night to win the World Series quickly turned into absolute mayhem in the Mission.
Shortly after Giants pitcher Sergio Romo threw a fastball past Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera to end the extra-innings game, Mission bars emptied out and fans went crazy. They wore mostly orange and black, and waved brooms to symbolize their team’s four-game sweep.
Screams floated from windows and sidewalks, fireworks and champagne shot through the sky and people danced on the roofs of cars and ran through the streets chanting, “Let’s go Giants.”
But the celebratory phrase soon changed to “Let’s burn fire.” More than six bonfires were started with trash, garbage cans, recycling bins, newspaper stands, couches and mattresses. Hundreds of people gathered around, jumping over and fueling the flames, which burned well past 1 a.m. on Monday.
“I haven’t seen this here,” said Adal Burman of the celebration and the fires that started around 9 p.m. “It just doesn’t seem to have much to do with baseball anymore.”
For some, the celebration was tame compared to 2010, when the Giants won the title for the first time since the team moved to San Francisco.
“This is crazy, but it doesn’t seem as crazy as the last World Series,” said a bystander who identified himself only as Rehan.
“This is not normal,” said another observer. “People in San Francisco are wild.”
Helicopters circled above as police in riot gear attempted to keep traffic flowing and prevent fans from entering streets where the fires were spreading. But according to police, the fire department planned to intercede only if the fires got too close to buildings.
An elderly disabled woman named Angel who was disturbed by the commotion took matters into her own hands. “Everybody respects me around here, so they usually listen to me,” she said. “I grabbed the only fire extinguisher I had.” She attempted to put the fire out until she was overwhelmed by an unruly crowd that continued to fuel it.
As Giants players sprayed each other with champagne in the Motor City, 10,000 fans celebrated in front of a Jumbotron screen in San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza under a full moon and glowing orange lights. It was a night to remember for the fans of a team that has won two World Series titles in three years.
“I held up this broom knowing that I might have been cursing and jinxing the team,” said Joe Kukura, who sported an orange and black bandanna on 16th Street after the game. “But you know what? The team was not cursed and jinxed. The team won! Giants! 2012! Giants!”