CHICAGO (CBS) — Jackie Robinson West players got a couple nice surprises on Wednesday as the city saluted the Little League World Series national champions.
Not only did they get a chance to hoist the 2005 White Sox World Series trophy, they’re getting a trip to Disney World to celebrate like proper champs.
Rainbow/PUSH Coalition spokesman Michael Perry confirmed they are working to send the Jackie Robinson West players to Disney World, although details of the trip were still in the works Wednesday. The announcement was made Wednesday morning at a rally saluting the team at Jackie Robinson Park, before their parade to Millennium Park for a second rally.
While the team was en route to Millennium Park, they stopped at U.S. Cellular Field, where they were greeted by White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, and other members of the organization, who handed them the team’s 2005 World Series trophy.
The team and their coaches held the trophy aloft, before taking the trophy with them as they boarded a double-decker bus to go to the big rally downtown, where a sea of fans was waiting for them at Millennium Park.
Six of the JRW players also have been part of the White Sox Amateur City Elite [ACE] program, which gives inner-city youth baseball players the chance to play with elite traveling teams to compete against other elite teams.
During the rally at their home field, head coach Darold Butler said the team was “living in a bubble” during the Little League World Series in Pennsylvania, not watching TV or reading newspapers.
At one point, they got a view of one of the watch parties the city hosted for fans to watch the games.
“It was bananas,” Butler said. “After seeing that, we all knew, let’s go win this whole thing for the city of Chicago, for the State of Illinois, let’s make the nation proud.”
Bill Haley, the team’s director, and son of team founder Joseph Haley, praised the players’ parents for instilling the values of “winning with grace [and] losing with grace.”
Mayor Rahm Emanuel said watching the team’s run through the Little League World “brought tears to our eyes and pride to our hearts.”