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San Francisco goes orange, black for Giants parade

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San Francisco goes orange, black for Giants parade

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) A Halloween treat came hours early for San Francisco Giants baseball fans who turned out by the thousand - many climbing trees and rooftops - to cheer on the World Series champions during a confetti-drenched parade through the heart of town.

Fans in the team's holiday-appropriate orange and black stood 30 deep Wednesday for a chance to see their favorite players wave from convertibles and get serenaded by Tony Bennett singing ``I Left My Heart in San Francisco.''

Series MVP Pablo Sandoval, who swatted three home runs in his first three at bats in Game 1, and second baseman Marco Scutaro, who batted in the winning run of the game that clinched the title, addressed the throngs at the rally in Spanish.

``This is the second, but there are going to be a lot more,'' Sandoval said, expressing special thanks to the Bay Area's Latino community. ``You should enjoy this and feel this in your hearts.''

Clouds of black, orange and white confetti were shot from cannons positioned on roofs and along the canyon-like, skyscraper-lined street. Spectators and parade participants, who included legendary Giants alumni Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and Juan Marichal and politicians such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, reveled in the showers.

The unifying energy of the Giants' latest victory was evident as San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith drove the car carrying Giants pitcher Matt Cain and his family, while 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh did the honors for first baseman Brandon Belt.

The convertibles gave fans clean views along the parade route that began at the foot of Market Street near San Francisco Bay and ended on the steps of City Hall, across from the overflowing plaza.

``Since I was a kid, I wanted to play on the Giants and win a World Series. So it's fun to be here,'' said shortstop Brandon Crawford, who grew up in the Bay Area.

Giants Manager Bruce Bochy, who hoisted the World Series trophy from the back of a gold Rolls Royce during most of the 1 1/2-mile procession, credited fans and his players' ``unselfish play'' for helping to lift San Francisco to its second World Series victory in three years, an improbable double play for a franchise that had not won the title since 1954.

``In 2010, we characterized the club as misfits that came together and got it done,'' Bochy told the roaring hordes gathered for the rally in Civic Center Plaza. He said the tagline of the 2012 Giants was ``never say die,'' a reference to the team's come-from-behind, post-season dominance.

``I thank you for always being there, for never giving up,'' he said. ``Thank you for showing up wherever we've been and making this one of the greatest moments of my life.''

As with the 2010 parade, this year's two-hour edition drew a cross-section of the region's diversity. Children who were allowed to skip school squeezed cap-to-glove alongside older couples who had been Giants fans since the team arrived in San Francisco from New York in 1958.

With the victory parade coinciding with Halloween, costumed masses brought an even more festive feel to what city officials hoped would be a family friendly, alcohol-free event.

Philip and Alyssa Lozano got up in Sacramento at 3:30 so they and their son could catch a ferry in time to witness the whole spectacle. Nine-year-old Christian Lozano was dressed up for Halloween as, what else, a panda, in tribute to Sandoval, whose nickname is the ``Panda.''

``We've been representing the Giants for a while and couldn't make it to the parade in 2010,'' Philip Lozano said.

Casandra Buenrostro, 25, who arrived at the plaza at 5 a.m. so she could get pictures of Sandoval, did.

``He made me cry,'' Buenrostro said. ``He's an inspiration.''

Star reliever Sergio Romo, wearing a T-shirt that read, ``I just look illegal,'' whipped the roaring crowd into a frenzy when he got out of his convertible and mingled.

``It's unbelievable! Unbelievable! Just great!'' said fired-up right fielder Hunter Pence, who was acquired in a midseason deal and led pregame pep talks. At the rally, Pence persuaded his teammates to jump around the stage to demonstrate the ritual he called the ``slow-clap.''

``I loved it when they started acting goofy,'' said Janet Clark, 55. ``That's exactly who the Giants are.''

San Francisco police spokesman Michael Andraychak said 22 arrests were made, including 13 for public intoxication, but said the crowds generally were cooperative.

Some fans carried brooms as a reminder of the Giants' four-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers. Later, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee handed Giants President Larry Baer a ceremonial metal ``broom to the city'' along with the customary key.

Alex Warlen and Kelly Simms, both 17, were among the hundreds of people who camped out overnight in the plaza to ensure they had prime viewing spots. Warlen is a pitcher and Simms a catcher for the softball team at San Francisco's Mercy High School. The team is co-champion of its division.

``Buster is the reason I'm a catcher,'' read a sign Simms carried, referring to the Giants' Buster Posey. The high school seniors said Mercy administrators gave students the day off, so they weren't cutting school.

``We would have skipped anyway,'' Simms said.

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Associated Press writers Garance Burke and Terry Collins contributed to this report.

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Alex Ovechkin, Carey Price put on a show with superstar showdown in Montreal

Alex Ovechkin, Carey Price put on a show with superstar showdown in Montreal

The best of the NHL was on display Monday in Montreal where the Capitals edged the Canadians 5-4 in overtime. Within the game, a superstar matchup emerged as the top goal scorer of his generation locked horns with arguably the best goalie in the world in an incredible bout that lived up to all the hype that surrounded the game.

”It’s great for the fans, great for everything,” Brett Connolly said. “It’s good to see two really good players go at it like that.”

Throughout his career, Alex Ovechkin has tormented Montreal goalie Carey Price. In 24 regular season games, he has scored on Price 18 times. On Monday, Ovechkin added two more goals to that total.

In the first period, Tom Wilson delivered a blistering pass through traffic right to the tape of Ovechkin who tipped it in past a helpless Price who had been waiting for the shot. He would add a second goal in the third period from the office with the Caps on a two-man advantage.

At that point, a hat trick seemed like a foregone conclusion, but that’s when Price began to battle back.

Price robbed Ovechkin of goal No. 3 with not one, but two brilliant saves in the third period to help force overtime.

With the puck on the left wall, Ovechkin charged the net from the right midway into the third period. Connolly managed to find him with the pass and Ovechkin delivered a one-touch shot that Price snared out of the air Statue-of-Liberty style. Somehow Price managed to get over from post to post to snag the puck with the glove and he made sure to put some extra flair on the save.

With the score still tied at four, Ovechkin made one final push to win the game in regulation.

This time it was Wilson on the right with Ovechkin setting up for the one-timer on the left. Wilson delivered the pass and Ovechkin fired what would have been a buzzer-beater goal with just two seconds left in regulation. Price slid to cover the cross-ice shot, but could not get completely over in time to block the shot. He lifted his blocker up in desperation and just managed to catch the puck and send it out of play.

“Obviously Alex made a great shot, hit the knob of his stick,” Braden Holtby said. “It’s one of those unlucky things. It just happens.”

It was a spectacular save the brought that Montreal faithful to their feet and even drew recognition from Ovechkin himself.

Ovechkin’s initial reaction was one of disbelief, but he soon began applauding along with the crowd and skated over to give the netminder his due.

“It was a pretty cool moment, pretty beautiful save and the fans was cheering for him,” Ovechkin said. “I was kind of same.”

The Caps would get the last laugh with the overtime winner, but this was a rare occasion in which the result of the game as largely overshadowed by the drama that unfolded between two players.

Ovechkin finished the game with two goals against Price, while Price finished with 29 saves including two third period beauties to deny Ovechkin his hat trick.

Capitals head coach Todd Reirden was effusive of his praise of both players after the game.

“It’s stars like that that put on performances like they both did tonight that just make it worth every dime that it costs to come to the game and worth the price of admission tonight for certain with those two."

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Joe Flacco's status remains uncertain as Ravens head into Week 12

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Joe Flacco's status remains uncertain as Ravens head into Week 12

Lamar Jackson's first NFL start has taken over the headlines and airwaves since his historic performance Sunday for the Baltimore Ravens. But what about that guy Joe Flacco?

Sunday marked the first time Flacco wasn't the team's starting quarterback in 41 games as he nursed a hip injury sustained in their Week 9 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Ravens were hush all week on Flacco's status against the Cincinnati Bengals, but head coach John Harbaugh told reporters post-victory they knew the Super Bowl XLVII MVP would be unable to start. 

"Finally, it was when he had a doctor’s appointment earlier in the week in New York," Harbaugh said. "One of the final … We had an indication of it the week before – it was going to be tough. But the final word … I can’t remember what day it was. It was Monday or Tuesday.” 

In his 11 years with the Ravens, the only extended time Flacco has missed was six games back in 2015 after tearing his ACL. Prior to Week 11, Flacco was on the injury report only eight times and had missed only three practices during the regular season. 

Flacco sustained the injury on the team's opening drive against the Steelers three weeks ago, but played the full 60 minutes completing 23 of 37 passes for 206 yards. What we've learned about the injury over the last week and a half is that it doesn't appear the quarterback will need surgery, but beyond that, there is little information on a return date. 

"Yes, it will be tough for him this week coming up,” Harbaugh added postgame. 

The timing of this injury is obviously not ideal given that Flacco is playing on the last year of his contract and the quarterback they drafted to replace him had about as good of a start as you can draw up.

"I'm not getting into any of that, Harbaugh said Monday on if Flacco would would have a chance to reclaim his job.

With six games to play and currently in a five-way tie for the last AFC wild card spot, a lot, and we mean a lot, can happen.

And just 24 hours after saying it would be tough for Flacco to play this upcoming week, Harbaugh upgraded Flacco's status.

“He has a chance. It’s just a matter of how fast the healing takes place in there," Harbaugh said during his Monday press conference. "It’s not a surgical thing; it’s just a calming-down type of a thing with the hip, and I’m not a doctor. They have that commercial with the TV doctors. I’m not even a TV doctor, so we’ll see.”

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