Chicago Cubs honored by millions at World Series celebration

Chicago Cubs fans celebrate before a rally in Grant Park honoring the World Series baseball champions Friday, Nov. 4, 2016, in Chicago. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

The Cubs are finally World Series champions and the city celebrated their victory with a North Side parade and rally in Grant Park.

Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon carried the World Series championship trophy onto the stage at a rally honoring the team in Grant Park.
PHOTOS: Cubs World Series parade rally

Maddon started by talking to the fans, saying "You guys are the best. Congratulations!"

Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein also spoke, telling fans that they "are really what carried our guys through October." He said the players "felt how badly" the Chicago Cubs fans wanted a World Series win.

Cubs owner Tom Ricketts told the crowd that the players on the World Series team are "going to be Chicago baseball legends."

Ricketts said he was used to fans coming up to him, asking when the Cubs were going to win a World Series. He said, "For the thousands of people who have said that to me, 'There you go.'"

The Latest on Chicago's parade and rally honoring the Chicago Cubs' first World Series championship in 108 years (all times local):

12:40 p.m.

The Chicago Cubs are being welcomed by thousands of fans and red and blue confetti at Grant Park for the team's World Series championship rally.

Players, coaches, their families and team executives arrived in a motorcade of open-roof buses just after noon on Friday, following a parade from Wrigley Field through city streets packed with cheering fans.

While they waited to take the stage for a victory rally, Cubs manager Joe Maddon talked with former Cubs player and Baseball Hall of Famer Billy Williams.

During the parade, third baseman Kris Bryant wore a wrestling-style championship belt with a Cubs logo.

Tens of thousands of fans waited at Grant Park for the rally. Many waved white and blue "W'' for win Cubs flags and held signs saying "World Champs."

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11:55 a.m.

Chicago Cubs players are waving at fans and shooting them victory gestures as their open-roof buses move down Chicago's famed Michigan Avenue, which was shut down for the team's World Series championship parade.

Tens of thousands of fans lined city streets Friday, waving Cubs "W'' victory flags and shouting, "Let's go Cubs," as the buses went past.

Players hoisted the Commissioner's Trophy as a large replica of the trophy went past on the back of a pickup truck. And as Cubs President Theo Epstein's bus drove by, fans yelled "Theo, Theo, Theo."

Nearby, construction workers watched the parade and cheered from the top of a crane.

The parade will end a few miles south at Grant Park along Lake Michigan, where thousands more fans are waiting for a championship rally.

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10:50 a.m.

The Chicago Cubs championship parade is underway.

Players boarded open-roof buses outside Wrigley Field and began moving just before 11 a.m. with a police escort. Players, each wearing their Cubs jerseys, waved at fans from atop the buses

The motorcade will drive down the city's famed Michigan Avenue before making its way to a rally scheduled at noon in Grant Park. The sprawling park is already packed with tens of thousands of fans standing shoulder-to-shoulder.

Some players posed for photos together before the buses departed. Others held their infant children and sat with their families.

The Cubs mascot, "Clark," cheered at the beginning of the parade from the back of a pickup truck. Center fielder Dexter Fowler had a cigar.

The Cubs haven't won a championship since 1908, and some were calling Friday's rally and parade the "celebration of a century."

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10:10 a.m.

They're not old enough to appreciate decades of disappointment, but lots of children and teenagers are among the Cubs fans gathering in Chicago for the team's first World Series celebration since 1908.

Nine-year-old Juliza Hernandez of Chicago was wearing a Cubs jersey outside Wrigley Field on Friday morning. She made a sign with her father and 6-year-old sister Emily that said, "Winners" and "Go Cubs Go!"

Ten-year-old Chase Anderson of Chicago was also outside the ballpark. He says his favorite Cub is pitcher Jake Arrietta. His dad, 51-year-old private equity investor Dean Anderson, says the new generation of Cubs fans will be expecting more Cubs championships.

Steve Angelo of Chicago was carrying his 4-year-old son Nicholas on his shoulders. The pair wore matching jerseys for first baseman Anthony Rizzo.

Friday was already a scheduled day off for Chicago Public Schools.

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9:55 a.m.

Before the hours-long parade even steps off, tens of thousands of people are making their way into the site of the celebration-capping rally to honor the World Series champion Chicago Cubs.

Aerial video from Chicago television stations shows large crowds of people waiting to get into Grant Park along Lake Michigan and inside barricades set up for the noon Friday rally. Other fans lined the parade route, in places many people deep.

The city has set up security screenings at two entrances to the park and is restricting beverages to closed water bottles, saying alcohol won't be tolerated.

The parade scheduled to start at about 10 a.m. at Wrigley Field will make its way downtown before ending up in Grant Park.

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9:10 a.m.

Chicago Cubs fans have packed the streets outside Wrigley Field hours before the start of the parade to honor the World Series champions.

Laurie Winter, of South Elgin, woke up at 4 a.m. Friday to bring her 2-year-old son Cooper to the stadium to see the players. The 34-year-old says she spotted a man carrying a sign that said "Tickets wanted for World Series 2017" and that everyone is excited about the team's future.

The parade is scheduled to start at about 10 a.m. from Wrigley Field, where it will head a few blocks east toward Lake Michigan and then south toward downtown for a rally at Grant Park.

Earlier Friday, motor boats moved up and down the Chicago River, dying it a shade of bright blue to match the team's color.

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8 a.m.

Cubs fans are packing downtown Chicago to celebrate the team's first World Series title in 108 years, but one infamous fan won't be among them.

Steve Bartman has confirmed through a spokesman that he won't be at the victory parade or rally.

Frank Murtha tells USA Today (http://usat.ly/2f8eNW9 ) that Bartman "was overjoyed that the Cubs won" on Wednesday night to clinch the Series, but that he doesn't "want to be a distraction" to the team's accomplishments.

Bartman vanished from public view after interfering with a foul ball during the National League Championship Series in 2003.

The Cubs were five outs away from reaching the World Series at the time. Bartman became a pariah in Chicago after the Cubs went on to lose the game and the series to the Marlins.

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8:30 a.m.

Commuter trains running into downtown Chicago are already packed, hours ahead of the victory parade for the World Series champion Chicago Cubs.

The Chicago Transit Authority had announced Thursday it was adding extra service and capacity to accommodate people attending a noon rally in the city.

But trains were already skipping stops Thursday morning because they were packed with fans, some draped with the team's blue and white "W'' flags before 7 a.m.

Metra trains, which travel farther to the suburbs, was sending out alerts just after 6 a.m. Friday saying some of its trains also were running express because of passenger capacity.

Metra spokesman Michael Gillis said the rail line is "using every piece of equipment" available to accommodate the "huge demand."

The Cubs parade is scheduled to start about 10 a.m. at Wrigley Field before winding south into downtown along the famed Michigan Avenue to Grant Park for a rally.

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6:40 a.m.

The celebration hasn't stopped in Chicago, where throngs of Chicago Cubs fans are expected at a parade honoring the World Series champions.

Events get underway Friday morning at Wrigley Field. The parade will leave the historic ballpark at 10 a.m. The parade downtown starts an hour later and ends in Grant Park for a noon rally.

The city also plans to dye the Chicago River blue to honor the team, similar to how the river goes green annually for St. Patrick's Day.

Chicago estimated that 2 million people attended a parade and rally in 2015 after the Blackhawks won their third Stanley Cup in six years.

But the Cubs' Game 7 victory in Cleveland on Wednesday broke a 108-year drought, so fans have a lot of pent-up celebrating to do.
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