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Millions celebrate winning Chicago Cubs with parade, rally

CHICAGO (AP) — 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-year-old 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.”

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