Millions flood streets for Cubs victory parade
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