Published October 26, 2003
MIAMI – The Florida Marlins (search) returned home as World Series (search) champions Sunday, and were greeted by hundreds of screaming fans. Rookie pitcher Dontrelle Willis used one word to describe the homecoming: electrifying.
A day after Florida beat the New York Yankees 2-0 in Game 6 of the Series, the Marlins fans were still celebrating. It was Florida's second world title since 1997, and to many revelers, this one was much sweeter.
Children ran through the streets, well past their bedtime. Elderly women stood in front of their homes wearing robes and slippers, kept awake all night by the noise from some 50,000 fans in the streets.
"I was sleeping when the game finished," said Jose Marquez, who lives in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood. "I couldn't stay up; I go to work at 4 in the morning. I wanted to stay up, but my wife said we'll get woken up when everyone starts blowing their horns."
Sure enough, the horns began blaring moments after Marlins ace and World Series MVP Josh Beckett (search) tagged the Yankees' Jorge Posada for the final out Saturday night. Traffic was backed up for more than two miles in the Little Havana neighborhood near the Marlins' souvenir store, the epicenter of the fans' overnight party.
People waved flags, banged on drums and hugged strangers. One man spray-painted "Marlins World Champions 2003" on the side of his car, while a woman -- wearing a wedding dress -- leaned out the window of a pickup truck and waved a Marlins hat.
"It's so crazy," said Susan Miranda, 21, a student from Miami. "I'm so glad they won. It's amazing, the best feeling in the world."
Police officials said Sunday that there were no major problems related to the impromptu celebrations, outside of traffic-related issues.
Officials predict more than 100,000 fans could turn out to honor the new champs at parades and rallies in Miami and Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday.