Capping a weekend-long celebration that was 14 years in the making, baseball fans brought umbrellas and brooms to Fountain Square for a rally Monday to honor the World Series champion Cincinnati Reds. Despite a steady rain, more than 12,000 people jammed the downtown square to welcome the Reds, who arrived in open convertibles for their season farewell after sweeping the Oakland A's.
Jo Thackery, 72, who is confined to a wheelchair, said it would have "had to have been raining molten lava" before she would have skipped the celebration.
Thousands of others took the day off or skipped school to attend.
"We're going to get yelled at," said Jeff Glass, 17, who along with three of his buddies cut classes. "But we're willing to pay the piper."
Police spokesman Lt. Gary Glazier estimated the crowd at 12,000 to 15,000. More stood along the five-block parade route.
Bill Cunningham, a talk show host on WLW Radio, the Reds' flagship station, spoke to the crowd as they waited for the players' arrival.
"I'd rather be in Cincinnati and wet than be in Oakland and be a chump," Cunningham said as fans waved brooms.
By the time the players arrived, the sound man had been through Queen's We Are the Champions, Can't Touch This, the rap song that became the unofficial song of the Reds, and Reds Rap, featuring several Reds players, twice.
Manager Lou Piniella attributed the championship to "hard work, dedication and a will to win."
"I'm really proud of our team, proud of our fans and proud of the city," Piniella said. "They played their hearts out and they're world champions."
In related news:
Reds outfielder Eric Davis, injured in the final game of the World Series, suffered a tear in his kidney, his doctor said.
Davis' injury was initially reported as a severely bruised kidney, but a release issued by the Reds added that the outfielder also suffered a kidney laceration. No surgery will be required.
"There's no need for a transfusion, and that's the important thing," said Dr. Robert Smith of Merritt Hospital in Oakland.
Reds pitcher Rob Dibble has accused Oakland pitcher Dave Stewart of intentionally hitting Reds outfielder Billy Hatcher with a pitch during the final game of the World Series, according to newspaper reports.
The accusation prompted Stewart to call Dibble a "punk."
Stewart, who said he was not throwing at Hatcher, was offended by the accusation and offered to meet Dibble outside the clubhouse. Dibble declined.
Cincinnati's sweep made a lot of happy bettors of those who took 30-1 and 40-1 odds in Las Vegas that the Reds would win in four. A bettor who put $100 on the Reds won between $3,000 and $4,000.
_ Information from the Cincinnati Post and San Francisco Examiner was used in this report.