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Title has city in a Fish frenzy

The Florida Marlins threw an all-day party that turned downtown into a howling river of teal, spilled over to Fort Lauderdale and ended at Pro Player Stadium, site of the team's World Series triumph.

Beaming players drenched in ticker tape waved from convertibles Tuesday while thousands of fans, many dressed in the team's teal, cheered and chanted during a parade down Flagler Street.

South Florida's ethnic friction was put aside as Latin, black and white fans joined in the area's largest, most festive gathering since at least 1987, when Pope John Paul II visited.

"This community has come together in a way I haven't seen for many, many years," said Dade County Mayor Alex Penelas, who was wearing a Marlins jersey.

The celebration touched all the bases. It took the team through Miami's Little Havana in trolleys, then moved 25 miles north to Fort Lauderdale, where the Marlins rode down the New River aboard speedboats.

At Pro Player Stadium, where the Marlins beat the Cleveland Indians in Game 7 on Sunday, tens of thousands gathered for a rally produced by Miami musicians Gloria and Emilio Estefan.

The 10 hours of festivities began in downtown Miami under a cloudy sky and flurries of confetti.

Cuban Livan Hernandez and Colombian Edgar Renteria drew some of the biggest cheers, and many fans waved flags from those nations. Hernandez, the Series MVP, wore sunglasses, a Panama hat and a strip of ticker tape on his cheek.

"I love you, Miami," he said.

Gary Sheffield stood up in his convertible, smoking a cigar, pounded his chest and shouted, "We're No. 1!"

"To see everybody out here makes us realize what we've done," said Jeff Conine, the only remaining original Marlin.

The motorcade also included pitcher Alex Fernandez, a Miami native who delayed shoulder surgery to take part; manager Jim Leyland, enjoying his first Series title in 33 years of professional baseball; and owner Wayne Huizenga, who put the team up for sale in June.

On a work day turned into a holiday, fans pressed against the cars and raised their arms to embrace the team.

"My boss thinks I'm sick," one sign read.

"My mom thinks I'm in school," read another.

Gov. Lawton Chiles wore a Marlins shirt. In Fort Lauderdale, police wore Marlins caps.

"This is fantastic," Huizenga said. "I'd like to do it again tomorrow."

Marlins president Don Smiley, who is trying to organize a group to buy the team from Huizenga, found the enthusiasm heartening.

"I had no idea there was so much interest out here for baseball," Smiley said. "We needed a jump start, and winning the World Series is absolutely what you need for a jump start."

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