ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Braves were cheered by hundreds of thousands of fans in a two-stage parade Friday, celebrating the team’s first World Series championship since 1995.
Some area schools closed, and students seized the opportunity to participate in the event.
“That’s the fun part of it,” said Braves president Terry McGuirk. “It was just kids in every block and it was all kids. Never, I never expected to see so many little boys.”
The parade began in downtown Atlanta, near the Braves’ former home at Turner Field. The route carried buses, floats and pickup trucks near a memorial to the late Hall of Famer Hank Aaron On the site of the old Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. The procession then headed to Peachtree Street, where fans packed the sidewalks in several rows.
Atlanta Police estimates that the downtown portion of the parade was attended by between 300,000 and 400,000 fans.
Fan turnout was equally strong for the final mile of the parade, which culminated at the Braves’ current Truist Park in suburban Cobb County. The stadium was packed. Thousands more fans packed the mixed-entertainment complex outside the stadium.
The Braves were lured by tax incentives in Cobb County and the ability to build a complex of dining, shopping, apartments and entertainment adjacent to the new stadium, which opened in 2017.
McGuirk said he thought there were “over a million people in total”.
“This city has lost its mind and it’s great to be a part of it,” McGuirk said.
The Braves beat the Houston Astros to win the World Series 7-0 in Game 6 on Tuesday night.
A native of Marietta in suburban Atlanta, Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson had a hometown perspective on fans’ 26-year wait to celebrate another championship.
“This city has wanted a championship for a long time,” Swanson said. “It’s so cool that they let the schools out. Seeing kids able to enjoy the moment and be inspired by this moment, it’s second to none.”
Braves outfielder Jok Pedersen wore shorts, despite temperatures in the mid-40s at the start of the parade. Most of his companions and fans gathered in the street.
Pedersen stayed warm by staying active. Wearing a pearl necklace and puffing on a cigar, Pedersen threw more pearl necklaces for fans as if she were at the Mardi Gras parade on Bourbon Street in New Orleans.
Pedersen also won the World Series with the Los Angeles Dodgers last season, but said it was his first parade.
“It’s unbelievable,” Pedersen said. “Voting is unrealistic. I didn’t expect anything less. ATL is the best. … I will remember it forever. It’s a special moment.”
Brave Manager Brian Snitker Riding in the back of a pickup truck with his wife Ronnie. Snitkar described the fan turnout as “insane”. He said it was “unprecedented” to be in the parade. … I am very proud of my city and brave country. what a day.”
Aaron’s wife, Billy, said at the Truist Park ceremony that Hank, who died on January 22, “is here with us. He loved the Atlanta Braves and I’m so happy to see these young guys who picked up the mantle and carried it on.” Extended.
Brave General Manager Alex Anthopoulos was unable to participate in Game 6 because he tested positive For COVID-19, spoke at the ceremony from a luxury suite and said “Flags fly forever, 2021 will fly forever!”
Broadcaster Joe Simpson encourages fans in the stadium to take part in controversial Tomahawk chops Chant.
Festivities at the stadium included a free concert featuring Atlanta rappers Ludacris and Big Boi.
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