Who doesn't love a parade?
OK, don't answer that. Who doesn't love a parade for the World Series champion White Sox?
We're not sure how this is going to go, considering televised parade coverage ranks above only infomercials and "Full House" as the worst things ever broadcast. But today should be different. This is no Casimir Pulaski Day gathering (no offense to A.J. Pierzynski and the Polish--and Sox fan--relatives on my mother's side of the family, of course.)
We'll try and give you a flavor of what's going on along the route. Chime in on the message board of the right.
11:15 a.m.The buses are gathering around U.S. Cellular and the players are scrubbed and shaven fresh off the appearance on Oprah this morning.
Ozzie Guillen still is ducking questions about his future. This is the biggest story of the day. He reportedly told beat writers late Wednesday night that he had a story for them on Friday. Immediately the speculation began that he would make good on his promise to retire after winning the World Series. When asked about it by Ch. 7's Jim Rose, Guillen said wait until he gets on the podium. He'll announce something there.
How crazy would that be if Guillen went out on a high note like that? Personally I think it would be a bit annoying because you just know he'd get the bug in a few years and end up managing the Mets or some God-forsaken team.
11:20 Ch. 7's Linda Yu made a great point about Jerry Reinsdorf's popularity. During the Bulls' championship run, J.R. generally was thought of as a weasely owner who stuck by the unpopular harrumphing Jerry Krause. This time around fans are chanting Reinsdorf's name. Yu said Guillen deserves a lot of credit for that because he continually credits Reinsdorf.
11:30 Nancy Faust is jamming out "Don't Stop Believing" at Wacker and LaSalle, the parade's final destination and where a ton of people are gathered. Some will win, some will lose. Some were born to sing the blues. Oh, the movie never ends. It goes on and on and on and on. And on and on and on like the playing of this song. But we don't mind. This is the only palatable number on the Journey canon.
11:33 Ch. 2's Howard Sudberry is on one of the buses and is armed with a cellphone. We just heard from Geoff Blum.
11:34 The buses are moving. Oh, wait. That's just a trolley. No, they're moving. They'll wind their way through Bridgeport, head east to Bronzeville, north to Chinatown, west to Pilsen and then through Little Italy and Greek Town. That's the reverse route towards the end of the Chicago Marathon and just thinking about it makes my IT bands hurt.
11:40 This is quite the production. There is a huge motorcade preceding the double-decker buses and a lot of people along the start of the route in White Sox central, Bridgeport. Each bus has a sign on front identifying which players are on board.
11:44 The buses are crossing the Dan Ryan. Not much happening at this point besides TV news talking heads attempting to talk sports. Painful.
11:49 There are a few people riding bikes alongside the buses. That would be me, if I wasn't stuck at this infernal desk.
11:50 The buses have turned north on King Drive. Guillen is in the first seat of the front bus and is standing, pumping his firsts and waving the entire way. Someone on Ch. 9 just likened it to the movie Titanic: "I'm on top of the world!"
11:55 WGN superstation is broadcasting this nationally. But who knows what time it'll be premepted by "Maury."
11:59 Spotted: A guy in a Cubs shirt waving a Sox flag. Fuzziness.
Noon The buses are nearing Pilsen where there are a lot of people waiting. With so many Latino players on the team, Pilsen has embraced this team. Here's the .
12:01 I'm pretty sure much of the media is stuffed in the back of a big Streets and Sans truck. Nice touch. (Cartographer on the message board, I meant they turned north. Thanks.)
12:09 As they head through Pilsen, people are going nuts. One cop is alternately keeping people back and applauding the buses. The reporter WGN has stationed there is pumped, to put it mildly. She may need a nap now.
12:12 'GN goes to commercial. We flip to Ch. 7 and Marc Giangreco is going a mile a minute. As he comes up for air, they go to Cheryl Burton, who's with Secretary of State and tumbling impresario Jesse White. He knows his baseball, having played in the Cubs farm system. Jim Rose reports Mark Buehrle already has gone through two bottles of champagne.
12:17 Opah! They've hit Greek Town, the Canyon of Gyros. Get Buehrle some grappa. They're close to downtown. The stretch down LaSalle could prove to be crazy. People are lined up more than 10 deep. Some of the ticker tape is starting to fall on LaSalle. The buses haven't reached that point yet.
12:22 I'm told it's not actually ticker tape since they might have to go to the Smithsonian to find an actual ticker tape machine. It's shredded newsprint. Ch. 7 has an awesome view of LaSalle from its helicopter with the Ceres statue atop the Board of Trade in the shot.
12:27 The trolleys at the front of the motorcade, which house Sox staffers, are on LaSalle.
12:31 Confetti is raining down on the buses. Cops are on Segway scooters, the Dunbar High School marching band is playing and Barack Obama is singing the Sox praises to Ch. 7.
12:40 Man Soo Lee, the Babe Ruth of Korea and the team's bullpen catcher and resident party animal (did you see the man spray champagne?) is equipped with a bullhorn today and is positioned at the front of one of the buses. We're told Steve Perry is in the city and will sing today. Brace yourself. I guess the great 2005 Tractor Pull and County Fair Tour can wait.
12:50 p.m. Four F-16s from 183rd Fighter Squadron are circling over the Lake waiting for their cue. There's a slight delay here as the players make their way from the buses to the podium. The police are letting people fill in LaSalle and Wacker in pretty impressive fashion. They're linked arm in arm and slowly letting the crowd surge forward.
12:57 There are fans clinging to sides of buildings. At one of the Bulls rallies in Grant Park I climbed a tree to get a better view and a cop yelled at me to get down.
1:01 General manager Kenny Williams, with World Series trophy in hand, is making his way past a bank of Port-O-Johns.
1:11 We've got movement. Radio guy Ed Farmer is at the podium. The Lyric Opera's Patrick Blackwell sings the Anthem--guy's got a set of pipes. Where are the F-16s? I must've missed them.
1:12 Farmer is introducing the team. As Farmer introduces trainer Herm Schneider, the F-16s scream by. A slight glitch in the proceedings. Now they're showing a video retrospective.
1:13 OK, here's Schneider. And my guy, Man Soo Lee! Williams holds the trophy over his head. September call-up Brian Anderson is introduced after Jerry Reinsdorf. What the? They're going alphabetically now. The players are filing onto the stage to AC/DC's "Thunderstruck."
1:17 Hawk Harrelson is at the microphone: "You can put it on the board, YEEEE-AAAAAAAS!"
1:20 Radio Guy John Rooney, who's gone after this year, says a few worlds. Willie Harris yells into the mic, "Group 4!" --the name of the Sox' s bench players. Another video retrospective follows, this one of the season.
1:27 Richard M. Daley, Sox fan and Mayor, is hoarse already. He keeps his comments brief--thankfully--and throws it over to Kenny Williams, who's still got the trophy in hand. He hands it to Frank Thomas in a nice move. Big Frank nearly breaks up. More video, this time the World Series, and it's set to, what else, Queen.
1:36 For some reason Dustin Hermanson says a few words. Aaron Rowand and Joe Crede follow. I believe Crede asked if everyone liked his mullet. I've never heard Jose Contreras speak until now.
1:41 "This is the greatest moment of my life," Buehrle said. "From the moment I left U.S. Celluar Field I've had goose bumps the whole way." He then goes on to rip Mark Madsen and anyone else who's ever made a fool out of themselves at a championship rally and promises Crede, Pierzynski and Rowand would sing Journey later. Paul Konerko promises to do this again next year. What, with the Yankees? I kid. He then hands over the last-out ball to Reinsdorf, who's got tears all over his face.
1:47 World Series MVP Jermain Dye, decked out in a white Jump Man track suit, thanks everyone. And we're back to Hawk. Bad move giving this guy the microphone. Again with the Heinie Bird stuff.
1:49 Reinsdorf gets cheered in Chicago. Where's Krause? And then gets all choked up again. "Getting this ball from Paul Konerko is the most emotional moment in my life," he says.
1:52 Ozzie's up. Drapped in the Venezuelan flag, he thanks his coaching staff. And most importantly says, "One thing I've got to tell you right now, I'll be back next year." You can hear Kenny Williams in the background saying he was going to kick Ozzie's [butt] "right here on this stage" if he announced he was retiring. He then thanks his family and rips his kids for liking Pierzynski and Geoff Blum.
1:54 The moment we've all been waiting for, Steve Perry. Hawk introduces him as the former lead singer of "The Journey." Pierzynski, Rowand and Crede join him for an acapella version of "Don't Stop Believing." OK, call me an idiot but that came off OK, thanks to Perry.
1:58 Fireworks and ... we gone. Thanks for joining us everyone.