KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Royals fans packed downtown Kansas City on Tuesday as the team's first World Series trophy in 30 years and the players who won it wound through crowded streets.
Waving flags, hats and signs, the crowd erupted in cheers as pickup trucks carrying CEO David Glass and his players, several of them holding their children in their laps, rolled past. One fan held up a placard reading, "Thanks Comeback Kids," a nod to the Royals' record-setting eight postseason comeback wins.
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"It's the first time I've ever been able to see something like this," said Steve Spencer, 48, of Kansas City. "The team was so bad for so long. And now the fact that we've got maybe a half a million people out here is beyond anything I've ever seen in my lifetime. It's crazy."
The victory parade began at the downtown Power & Light District and was winding 2.3 miles before ending with a rally at Union Station. The Royals won their first World Series crown since 1985 on Sunday with a 7-2 win in 12 innings in Game 5 against the New York Mets.
Steve Templeton, of suburban Lee's Summit, said the championship had brought the city together.
"The Royals were a doormat for so long and look at it now, it's just a sea of blue," he said as he stood in front Union Station, where thousands of people wearing blue gathered. "It's fun because they are bringing everybody together, every nationality, every kind of person is here together because we love the team."
Before 2014, the Royals had not even played in the postseason since 1985. Last year, they lost to the San Francisco Giants in the World Series.
In anticipation of Tuesday's celebration, several area school districts called off classes for the day.
Rachel Bryant, of Kansas City, brought her 7-year-old son, Jayden, to the parade.
"It's been 30 years since the last championship. Who knows if it will be another 30 years? It might be a one-time experience for him. I hope not; I hope we're back here next year."
Vickie Magana, of suburban Olathe, Kansas, said she had so much fun at the 1985 parade that she was determined not to miss this one. She said she was a fan through the lean years of the 1970s and the good years in the 1980s, then suffered through three decades of bad baseball.
"I was one of those fans out at the stadium when they were losing 100 games and no one else was there," she said. "It's such a great thing for this city. It brings such unity and such great publicity. Kansas City fans are so loyal."