City Sets Parade Route, Rally Locations For Jackie Robinson West
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Updated 08/25/14 – 2:09 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) – The Little League team that captured the hearts of a city and a nation was returning home to Chicago on Monday as U.S. champions and later this week will get a homecoming rally normally reserved for the city’s professional teams like the Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls or White Sox.
CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports the 11-, 12-, and 13-year olds will soon be going back to school, but not before they’re welcomed home like conquering heroes.
City officials have planned a parade bookended by two rallies, starting at 9 a.m. at Jackie Robinson Park, the ballfield where the boys play their home games, at 105th and Morgan Street in Washington Heights.
There will be a 9 a.m. rally at the team’s ballpark, and then their parade will kick off at 10 a.m., and head to Millennium Park. The parade route will take them north from the ballpark to 105th and Aberdeen, then head east on 105th to Halsted, then north on Halsted to 35th Street, then east to Indiana Avenue, the north to 31st Street, and will then merge onto Michigan Avenue to the north end of Millennium Park at the corner of Randolph and Michigan, where there will be another rally at 11 a.m.
The city encouraged fans who wish two watch the parade to gather at one of six locations:
• 103rd and Halsted
• 95th and Halsted
• 87th and Halsted
• 79th and Halsted
• 63rd and Halsted
• U.S. Cellular Field
The 8:30 p.m. fireworks display at Navy Pier will be dedicated to Jackie Robinson West.
The boys from the South Side were coming home Monday from Williamsport, Pa., after capturing the U.S. championship in the Little League World Series. On Sunday, their sixth-inning rally against South Korea fell short, as they lost 8-4 in the world championship game, but their fans said that doesn’t diminish what the team accomplished.
“I am just so excited about the boys,” said Venisa Green, whose son Brandon Green drove in the go-ahead run in the U.S. championship game against Las Vegas on Saturday. “They are U.S.A. champs. They have nothing to be sad about.”
Venisa told her son to hold his head up high after Sunday’s loss, despite the disappointment.
“You don’t have nothing to be sad about. You did a great job,” she said.
Assistant coach Jason Little said the team is “super excited” about returning home to Chicago after their three-week run in the Little League World Series.
“They’re up early, ready to go,” he said. “They’ve been gone since July 31 and are ready to get back to their normal lives.”
Little said that while the team was in Williamsport, the boys “knew a little bit” about the buzz they were generating back home, “but not to the extent that it really is happening there” because they didn’t have TVs or Chicago newspapers to keep up with the news.
After Sunday’s game, the team got a special congratulatory phone call from President Barack Obama.
“He was excited for the boys,” Little said. “That was actually a super surprise for the kids — how proud he was of them representing America as well as Chicago and that he looked forward to great things from all of the kids.”
Little said he’s hoping the team gets an invitation to visit the president at the White House.
“Hopefully, that will happen, but who knows?” Little said. “He’s a busy man, so we’ll see.”