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Red Sox Rolling Rally parade brings thousands to Hub

Red Sox fans celebrate with confetti Saturday afternoon during the Red Sox Rolling Rally. PHOTO BY JUSTIN AKIVA/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
Red Sox fans celebrate with confetti Saturday afternoon during the Red Sox Rolling Rally. PHOTO BY JUSTIN AKIVA/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

As hundreds of thousands of fans and spectators lined the streets, people cheered and shouted as their favorite Boston Red Sox players drove by and confetti flew through the air for the World Series victory parade on Saturday.

The “rolling rally” consisted of 25 duck boats beginning at Fenway Park with pre-parade speeches by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick. The duck boats traveled past the Boston Common and City Hall, ending with a splash in the Charles River by the Museum of Science.

“To see the team come from where it came last season to where we are now, to see this whole city come from where we were to where we are right now is incredibly affirming,” Patrick said. “It’s great for the city and it’s great for all of us.”

Several people held signs for the players that read, “Let Me Kiss Your Beard” or “Big Papi: MVP!” Cheers and chants roared throughout the city as people started singing songs that are usually played at Red Sox games, such as “Shipping Up to Boston” by Dropkick Murphys and “Sweet Caroline.”

People from all over Boston and New England came out to watch the Red Sox roll through the city.

“I’ve been a Red Sox fan for a million years, and to see the comeback is just great,” said Steve Leahy, 57, a resident from Barrington, R.I. “I’ve been watching them since the days when Boston teams never won anything. Now, it’s just phenomenal. They’re a blast to watch. I’m glad to say I saw this coming though. They earned it.”

The Red Sox defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 6 of the World Series Wednesday. This is their third World Series victory in 10 seasons, with previous wins in 2004 and 2007. They went from being near the bottom of the rankings in the 2012 season to number one in 2013.

The parade made a stop at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Boylston Street, where two explosions went off on April 15that killed three people and injured more than 260.

Boston resident Barry Bui, 29, said the city deserved this win after the Marathon bombings.

“It’s fantastic to be here,” he said. “The energy’s been great. It’s pretty special that it’s happening now and it couldn’t really be any better. The weather’s perfect, and it’s just surreal that the team was able to do this for the city in light of the marathon bombings.”

Red Sox players Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Johnny Gomes placed the World Series trophy on the finish line and presented “Boston Strong” jerseys with the area code 617 printed on it and presented it to the general manager of the Forum Restaurant, which was severely damaged by one of the explosions.

Randy Dorf, 26, a resident of Boston, said the scene near the finish line Saturday was incredible and very moving.

“After moving here a couple years ago, Boston has become my adopted city, and this is the best way all of this could have happened,” he said. “The players did it themselves. They got together and decided Boston needed something good after what happened in April. If we win next year, that’s great. This win is the most important though because it was a literal flip from the worst possible scenario to the best in a few months.”

As the duck boats took their victory lap in the Charles River, spectators waved to the players and cheered along the banks on the Esplanade.

Joseph LaCorte, 20, a resident of Boston, said he walked with the duck boats for the whole parade.

“It’s just a really awesome atmosphere, one of the best places to be,” he said. “It’s crazy to this happened in a way that was so perfect. It’s like an ideal, that while recovering from the terrible things that happened in a city where baseball is so important for them, to win it all for the city. It’s almost a situation that would normally be too good to be true.”

Steven Dufour and Trisha Thadani contributed to the reporting of this article.

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