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Route extended into Charles River

10/31/2004 - Boston Red Sox

BOSTON -- Confetti rained down and the "Hallelujah Chorus" resounded through city streets Saturday as grateful fans embraced the World Series champion Boston Red Sox, hailing the team as heroes during a jubilant parade that even went afloat on the Charles River.

An estimated 3.2 million fans packed the seven-mile parade route
in spitting rain and temperatures in the 50s, standing in dense
crowds, hanging from windows and cheering from rooftops.

Someone along the route threw a baseball that hit Pedro Martinez in the head, but he said afterward that he was OK.

Some held signs bearing words of thanks, marriage proposals and
expressions of wonder at the team's achievement after 86 years of
dashed hopes since its last championship in 1918.

"All is forgiven," read one banner. "Now we just have to wait
for the other six signs of the apocalypse," said another. And
dozens said simply: "Thank you."

"It started raining and it was cold and the people didn't even
care," pitcher Derek Lowe said. "They've waited a long time.
You'll never see a parade like that with so many people, no matter
what sport or what city."

The parade wound from Fenway Park, past Boston Common and City
Hall and onto the Charles River, with Red Sox players riding 17 of
the amphibious vehicles known since World War II as "ducks."

Businesses along the route rose to the occasion, with one
wedding boutique putting a bright red "B" on each dress in its
display window. The Loews Theatres at the Boston Common used huge
letters to change its name to honor Lowe, who won the clinching
game in each of the team's three postseason series.

Throughout the parade, music blared from speakers on the lead
vehicle, with selections including the "Hallelujah Chorus" from
Handel's "Messiah," and "Dirty Water" -- the Boston-themed
Standells hit that is played after every home victory at Fenway
Park.

The players were awed by the outpouring of pent-up emotion from
generations of fans. It even dwarfed the party thrown for the Super
Bowl champion New England Patriots earlier this year.

"I couldn't believe how loud it was," catcher Doug Mirabelli
said. "It's just something you never get tired of. I just wanted
to keep going."

Right fielder Trot Nixon said the World Series victory was for
those "who have lived and breathed with Red Sox baseball for years
and years."

Pitcher Martinez was hit in the forehead by a baseball
thrown from the banks of the Charles. He looked stunned and put his
hand to his forehead as the ball floated down the river.

"I have a little headache, but I'm OK," Martinez said after
the parade.

Nixon said he heard heartfelt words from fans, like one who said
his grandfather had died before seeing his beloved Sox win the big
one.

"Well, he's got the best seat in the house now, up there with
our Maker," Nixon said. "This is for all the little guys, from
Maine to the West Coast. All the fans are part of our family, the
family of the Red Sox."

Police reported that 15 people were arrested, 12 people were
brought to the hospital with minor injuries and 30 people received
medical treatment in the street. Those arrested faced charges
including disorderly conduct, drug possession, public drinking and
assault.

At an impromptu mini-rally at Fenway before the parade, Red Sox
manager Terry Francona said his team always had what it took to win
even if his scruffy players -- who dubbed themselves "idiots" --
didn't always look serious.

"They may not wear their hair normal, they may not dress
normal, but they play the game as good as you can," Francona said.

During the parade, several players hoisted signs that said
"Idiots Rule!"