Mil­lions flood streets for Cubs vic­tory pa­rade

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

The streets of Chicago were bathed in Cubs blue Fri­day as mil­lions of tear­ful, elated baseball fans cheered their World Se­ries-win­ning team-who brought the cham­pi­onship home for the first time in 108 years.

Parts of down­town Chicago, the third-largest US city, were shut down as an es­ti­mated five mil­lion peo­ple lined the miles-long pa­rade route from Wrigley Field to Grant Park, where the play­ers were hailed at a huge rally.

“We’ve all dreamed of this so many times over the years, and this has ex­ceeded our wildest dreams,” Theo Ep­stein, the team’s pres­i­dent of baseball op­er­a­tions, told fans.

“Let’s hope it’s not an­other 108 years,” added Cubs man­ager Joe Mad­don. The Cubs de­feated the Cleve­land In­di­ans in dra­matic style, com­ing back from a 3-1 deficit in the best-of-seven Se­ries to win four games to three, with a 8-7 vic­tory in ex­tra in­nings in Game Seven.

The last time the Cubs won the Se­ries, Amer­i­can women did not have the right to vote, and sliced bread had not been in­vented. World Wars I and II were still in the fu­ture.

“I’ve been wait­ing for this day my whole life... since I was four years old when my grand­fa­ther took me to my first game,” said Nis­hant Shah, 35, who came to the pa­rade with his wife and 17month-old daugh­ter.

Many Chicagoans have told sim­i­lar cross-gen­er­a­tional sto­ries of be­ing fans and decades of heart­break. The Windy City had been trans­fixed for months by the pos­si­bil­ity that the Cubs’ dry spell might end. Flags with the team’s logo and the blue “W” sig­nal­ing a win were ubiq­ui­tous.

The grav­ity of the his­toric mo­ment was not lost on the team, Ep­stein told the rally crowd. “Our play­ers felt it, felt how bad you guys wanted it. Driv­ing around town, see­ing the W flags,” he said. “And it was in­cred­i­bly emo­tional for every­body. And our play­ers re­ally felt it and dug deep for you.” Two of the team’s play­ers were in tears as they ad­dressed the rally.

First base­man An­thony Rizzo paid trib­ute to re­tir­ing catcher David Ross, a team men­tor who belted a home run in the fi­nal game of the Se­ries, his fi­nal game as a player.

“He taught my­self per­son­ally how to be­come a real win­ner,” Rizzo said of Ross, strug­gling to main­tain his com­po­sure. “He’s go­ing to go out a cham­pion for­ever.” Many fans were equally emo­tional. “It’s eu­pho­ria,” said Ja­son Klabacha, 38. “It’s a dream come true. It just puts you back to be­ing a kid again.” “It kind of chokes you up, hon­estly,” said Kat Ro­jina, 43, who, like many Chicagoans, had taken a day off from work.

“It’s an over­whelm­ing feel­ing of pride and ex­cite­ment.” The rally ended in fire­works and con­fetti, and a sing-along of the team’s theme song “Go Cubs Go,” led by coun­try singer Brett El­dredge. —AFP

CHICAGO: Jon Lester (L) and An­thony Rizzo of the Chicago Cubs pose with the World Se­ries tro­phy dur­ing the Chicago Cubs vic­tory cel­e­bra­tion in Grant Park on Fri­day in Chicago, Illi­nois. —AFP

LAS VE­GAS: Box­ers Manny Pac­quiao, Philip­pines, and Jessie Var­gas, USA, pose to­gether dur­ing their of­fi­cial weigh-in at the Wynn Las Ve­gas ho­tel in Las Ve­gas, Ne­vada on Fri­day. — AFP

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