Mil­lions cel­e­brate at Cubs pa­rade

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Carla K. John­son and Caryn Rousseau

CHICAGO >> November blazed like daz­zling spring­time in Chicago dur­ing a mas­sive pa­rade and rally Fri­day to honor the Cubs’ first World Se­ries ti­tle in 108 years and ful­fill more than a cen­tury of pent-up dreams.

A new gen­er­a­tion of Cubs fans — riding in strollers or on their par­ents’ shoul­ders — joined their el­ders to cheer the base­ball cham­pi­ons. For the youngest, the day would be their first bright mem­ory of fol­low­ing a club once known as “lov­able losers.”

Their par­ents mar­veled at how their chil­dren will know the con­fi­dent, young team as win­ners.

“It’s a whole new Cubs world,” said Dean An­der­son, 51, of Chicago, who brought his 10-yearold son, Chase, to see the play­ers’ mo­tor­cade as it rolled out from Wrigley Field at the start of the pa­rade route. The “lov­able loser thing” — and all the ac­com­pa­ny­ing lore em­broi­dered by long-suf­fer­ing fan loy­alty — may be lost to the new­est fans, An­der­son said, but “we’ve had enough of that.”

A crowd, es­ti­mated by city of­fi­cials at 5 mil­lion, lined Michi­gan Av­enue and Lake Shore Drive to cheer the mo­tor­cade of open-roofed buses car­ry­ing the play­ers along a 7-mile pa­rade route from the north side ball­park to sprawl­ing Grant Park. The city’s tally in­cluded ev­ery­one who lined the route and the rally throngs. Fri­day was al­ready a sched­uled day off for Chicago Pub­lic Schools.

Rev­el­ers crawled up trees and street­light poles to get a bet­ter view along the route. Oth­ers sat atop shoul­ders to watch the team buses shim­mer­ing un­der a spray of red and blue con­fetti.

Steve An­gelo of Chicago car­ried his 4-year-old son, Ni­cholas, who held a “World Champs” sign.

“For him, the more and more they win now, at his ear­lier age, the more and more ex­cite­ment there is,” An­gelo said. “There’s pa­rades, and peo­ple talk about it more on the ra­dio and TV. It’s go­ing to be a lot more ex­cit­ing now.”

Dur­ing the ju­bi­lant fes­tiv­i­ties at the park, 39-year-old re­tir­ing Cubs catcher David Ross posed for a selfie in front of a mul­ti­tude of roar­ing fans.

Ross and the other play­ers put their arms around each other and sang “Go Cubs Go” from the stage along with the blissed-out crowd.

“It hap­pened, baby. It hap­pened!” pro­claimed 27-year-old first base­man An­thony Rizzo to ador­ing cheers.

Team man­ager Joe Mad­don — wear­ing a stock­ing cap, sun­glasses and a jersey over a “We did not suck” T-shirt — looked out over a sea of blue.

“Wel­come to Cub­stock 2016!” Mad­don said. “This is an in­cred­i­ble mo­ment for all of us. Never have I ex­pe­ri­enced any­thing like Wrigley Field on a nightly ba­sis. ... I want to con­grat­u­late you fans also. Thank you for be­ing so pa­tient.”

A vic­tory party is new territory for sto­ical fans of the Cubs, whose last World Se­ries ti­tle — be­fore their Game 7, ex­tra-in­ning thriller Wed­nes­day night in Cleveland — came in 1908. The last time the Cubs even reached the Fall Clas­sic was in 1945.

Su­per­sti­tions die hard. Miriam San­ti­ago, 51, said she car­ried holy wa­ter, her rosary and a bright green lucky base­ball with her dur­ing the play­offs. On Fri­day, the Chicago woman brought a goat mask with dy­na­mite in its mouth and let other fans pose for pho­tos wear­ing it out­side the ball­park. Her lucky charms helped re­verse the Curse of the Billy Goat, she said, re­fer­ring to the story of a Chicago tav­ern owner who sup­pos­edly put a hex on the team af­ter his pet goat was turned away from Wrigley dur­ing the 1945 World Se­ries.

For days, Cubs ma­nia has spread through­out the city and state. The cast of the Chicago pro­duc­tion of “Hamil­ton” led a sold-out au­di­ence in singing “Go Cubs Go” dur­ing the Thurs­day night cur­tain call. Illi­nois Gov. Bruce Rauner de­clared Fri­day as “World Cham­pion Chicago Cubs Day” statewide. The city dyed the Chicago River a bright shade of blue to match the Cubs’ col­ors, re­pur­pos­ing a decades-long tra­di­tion of dye­ing the river green on St. Pa­trick’s Day.

NAM Y. HUH — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Fans cel­e­brate be­fore a rally in Grant Park hon­or­ing the World Se­ries cham­pi­ons in Chicago on Fri­day.

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