For the second time in three years, the San Francisco Giants are champions of Major League Baseball following an amazing roller-coaster ride through the baseball playoffs.
The Game 4 victory that sealed the sweep of the Detroit Tigers on Sunday night sets up what is likely to be the mother of all Halloween parties in the City by the Bay on Wednesday.
A parade is scheduled during the day to celebrate the Giants' championship and, of course, Halloween night in San Francisco is always, well, you know ... extreme. For a team whose fan base already treats Giants home games as if it is Halloween, we can only imagine what the convergence of these two events might bring.
The last time the Giants had one of these parades through San Francisco, it drew more than 1 million people into the streets. There is no reason to expect that this parade will be any less attended.
We hope that the parade and the rest of the evening is merely celebratory and does not turn violent and destructive. Any such behavior would be an insult to what the 2012 Giants have accomplished.
The team's play gave context to the Tony Bennett signature song, "I Left my Heart in San Francisco." The team adopted the tune many years ago, but it may apply best to this group of players because this team was all about heart.
It began the season with some sour notes when eccentric closer Brian Wilson, a critical part of the team, went down for the year with injury. Then the team was swept in three games in its opening series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Star third baseman Pablo Sandoval went down with injuries twice, and newly acquired outfielder Melky Cabrera was suspended in August for using performance-enhancing drugs. Cabrera was leading the league in hitting at the time.
But the club just seemed to absorb blow after blow.
Then came the playoffs. Down two games to none in a best-of-five series, the Giants went to Cincinnati and won three, beating a team that had not lost three straight games at home all year.
Down three games to one in a best-of-seven series against St. Louis, the Giants again won three straight games to punch their ticket to the World Series.
Their reward? Facing the best pitcher in baseball in the opening game. They promptly dispatched Detroit's Justin Verlander and never looked back.
But the transitory nature of Major League Baseball -- and professional sports in general -- was apparent Sunday when one considers only three of the nine Giants on the field for the final out were even part of the Giants' celebration just two years ago, and only one of them played a significant role in the 2010 series.
That means we should live in the moment and enjoy these guys while we've got them. But they should know that, even if they leave us, their hearts will remain. They will never forget what they accomplished. Neither will we.