Fans Rally As City Hosts Cubs Celebration

Daley Plaza Overflows With Team's Supporters

Pumped up Cubs fans filled nearly every inch of Daley Plaza as the city's Cubs rally began at noon on Tuesday.

The crowd poured out onto Washington Street, blocking traffic by 12:30 p.m., and most all of them were there because they believe.

Thousands gathered to "root, root, root for the Cubbies," and many shared the dreams of an elderly woman in the crowd who said she has waited all of her life and is praying that the Cubs go all the way this year. 

Sitting onstage were not only Cubs fan Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Sox fan Mayor Richard Daley (wearing a Cubs hat, no less), but former team members 'Mr. Cub' Ernie Banks, Billy Williams and Ron Santo. 

Wayne Messner kicked it all off with the National Anthem and then took on the role of emcee, introducing local celebrity Jim Belushi, who took the stage to lead the crowd in a rendition of "Sweet Home Chicago."

Crane Kenney, Chairman of the Chicago Cubs told those gathered that many team members were unable to attend the rally as they are at Wrigley Field preparing for Wednesday's first playoff game against the Dodgers.

Belushi then took over in commandeering the event, introducing the mayor and "the freakin' governor."

After Daley bowed to the North Siders and wished them well, Blagojevich spoke of being a lifelong Cubs fan.

Derek Lee thanked fans for their support, saying the team needs more of the same for another 11 games.

The crowd greeted each speaker warmly, as "the greatest fans in all of America," as Blagojevich said, expressed their enthusiasm for their winning team.

Belushi then tossed to a video screen to let the late Harry Caray lead the crowd in "Take Me Out To The Ballgame."

In the meantime, Daley has placed a little wager, betting a "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" package of Chicago products that the Chicago Cubs will defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Included in the bet are 100 Chicago-style hot dogs from Vienna Beef, chips from C.J. Vitner, Lemonheads from Ferrara Pan, peanuts from Fisher Nuts and Pepsi for a year -- certificates for 26 cases of cola.

Also this year, Wilson Sporting Goods is contributing $15,000 worth of bats, balls and gloves to outfit 150 kids.

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