It's the calm after the storm, the morning after the crazy party you never really wanted to see end.
The confetti's been swept up, the barricades have been taken down, the circus has left town.
Yet as I drove into San Francisco before dawn this morning, the orange lights still bathed numerous buildings and the neon sign blazed away on the brick building down by McCovey Cove: "AT&T Park, Home of the San Francisco Giants."
Look, pro sports franchises are big enterprises which employ a few millionaires so the rest of us can enjoy ourselves. It's often dangerous to go any deeper than that. But the Giants--from their 32 largely-local owners to their remarkably diverse roster--do seem to have an uncommon connection to their community.
The hyperkinetic Romo couldn't be confined to an automobile during the World Series parade. He hopped, skipped, and jogged his way down Market Street, providing as much joy as he seemed to be experiencing himself.
And when he got to the stage in front of City Hall, Romo followed the theme expressed by numerous teammates: "You fans helped us win this." But he went farther. This Mexican-American guy from the border town of Brawley stood there, sporting his "I Just Look Illegal" T-shirt.
It was a nakedly political moment in a town where left-of-center politics is as common as expensive coffee or high-priced parking tickets. When Romo talked about Giants fans, he didn't just say, "You're loud! You're the best!" No, he said, with apparent emotion, "Look at the diversity--the different faces from different places, the different strokes for different folks."
Romo's observation was a fastball down the middle, just like that final pitch of the World Series to Miguel Cabrera. He gets the essence of The City (and much of the Bay Area): a place where a whole bunch of people with a whole bunch of different stories generally manage to get along and sometimes thrive.
The Giants themselves are quite a patchwork quilt, from the stolid Buster Posey to the camo-capped Madison Bumgarner to the yoga-hip Barry Zito to those energetic Latinos Romo and Pablo Sandoval to....well, Brian Wilson. A face and a story for everyone.
It's one thing to root for the home team because they're from your town. It's bigger and better to feel some kind of cultural connection. And to know that the objects of your affection understand that? Priceless.