Success-starved Philadelphia celebrated its first professional sports championship in a quarter-century on Friday, showering the Phillies World Series baseball champs with confetti, brotherly love and screaming cheers.
Philadelphia police estimated hundreds of thousands lined the four-mile parade route through Center City to the Citizens Bank Park baseball stadium in South Philadelphia. Fans watched from office buildings, and crammed the streets to catch a glimpse of their baseball heroes, Reuters reports.
Another hundred thousand tailgated outside the stadium on a mild, sunny day, and revelers filled the baseball park and neighboring football stadium to watch the parade on giant TV screens.
"This is the best day of my life," said Joe, 10, who declined to give his last name because he didn't want to get in trouble for missing school.
The Phillies on Wednesday grabbed their first World Series title since 1980, and only their second ever in their 100-plus year history, after a rain delay had suspended Monday's Game 5 for two days.
The Phillies won the best-of-seven series four games to one over the Tampa Bay Rays with a 4-3 victory. The last time a Philadelphia team won a major championship was in 1983, when the 76ers won the NBA basketball title.
Phillies left-fielder Pat Burrell, the team's longest-tenured and highest-paid player, led the parade through the "City of Brotherly Love" on a wagon pulled by a team of Clydesdale horses, with his bulldog, Elvis, by his side.
Other players followed in open-air buses and flatbed trucks, riding with their families, Phillies Chairman Bill Giles, and the World Series trophy.
"You are the best fans in the world. There was no city that deserved this like you," said Phillies pitcher Brad Lidge, who threw the series' final strike.
Fans overwhelmed the city's local transportation system, forcing the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority to suspend commuter service into the city by 1 p.m., about 40 minutes after the parade began, and stop certain subway lines due to overcrowding.
More than 75 arrests were made on Wednesday night as some revelers vandalized marble planters, bus-stop shelters and store windows near City Hall. Officials warned fans to be more careful on Friday's Halloween night.
"You can be joyous; you cannot be a jackass," warned Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter. "That kind of idiotic, destructive behavior will not be accepted in the city of Philadelphia."