Chicago Proud: City hosts Jackie Robinson West parade and rally

Chicago Proud: City hosts Jackie Robinson West parade and rally

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Thousands of people turned out for a rally and parade to honor the Jackie Robinson West All-Stars team, the U.S. Little League champs.

Since the moment the team came home, things have been far from normal for the kids.

SEE RELATED: JRW shines spotlight on getting kids, parents involved in youth sports

Prior to the celebrations, FOX 32 caught up with second baseman and pitcher Marquis Jackson, and his family as they prepare for the big parade.

“It's been busy, busy, busy, that's it. And I'm not finished yet," said Linda Sneed, Marquis' mother.

Sneed caught a small break and had her nails done in between back to school shopping for her sons, which includes Marquis.

Life has changed in the past few weeks for the Jackson family.

“I don't think normal is going to come until about a week from now, probably. Maybe 2 weeks. Because he has to go to school, they've been waiting for him to go back to school, they want to do something for him at the school," Sneed said.

Big brother Marcellus helped Marquis look for a new pair of shoes. He's always looking after his younger brother.

“I'm very proud, very proud. Just, hard work it pays off. Long nights of training, me staying on him about school and baseball and just keeping a positive role model, doing as best I can for him," Marcellus said.

Although Marquis spent the night in his own home, sleep wasn't much of an option.

“I didn't really sleep last night. I was up talking to my brother and talking to my next door family across the street. It was a chance to see everybody again," Marquis said.

His classmates are already back in school. He's getting ready to join them after one last busy week celebrating the team's big win.

Marquis said Coach Butler prepared the team for something they won't forget.

“After this game either you win or you lose, you still have to go home and get back to reality," Marquis said.

“They don't really understand the full effect of it yet, but i think they will," Sneed added.

The team most certainly will see the reach they had, giving hope to a city that is beaming with pride for this historic young team.

Chicago's Jackie Robinson West All-Stars are not only good at baseball, but also in the T-shirt market.

Crain's Chicago Business reports more than 4,500 yellow Jackie Robinson West "Great Lakes Champions" T-shirts have been sold since Aug. 10. The Dick's Sporting Goods location in Chicago's South Loop is the only retailer selling the item.

Money from T-shirt sales will go to the Jackie Robinson West program. The shirt sells for $20 each. Dick's officials say the store started with 300 shirts after the team qualified for the World Series tournament. Those sold out in a matter of days. The next shipment of 500 shirts left the shelves in two hours.

Store officials say a shipment of 7,000 Jackie Robinson West All Stars "National Champions" T-shirts were sold out Tuesday. A line formed out the door of the South Loop Dick's Tuesday morning. Those in line for the shirts say they were inspired by the young team and want to show their Jackie Robinson Pride!

"They were so mannerable. They were the winners, they won for the city of Chicago," one woman told FOX 32's Joanie Lum.

Proceeds of the sales will go to the Jackie Robinson West organization.

Televised games last weekend were the most-watched telecasts in the city, with 623,900 viewers Saturday and 810,500 on Sunday.

The city of Chicago will had a homecoming parade for the Jackie Robinson West All-Stars on Wednesday. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, Lisa Madigan, and Chance the Rapper all turned out for the event.

The festivities honoring JRW began with a rally at 9 a.m. at Jackie Robinson Park on South Morgan Street (10540 South Morgan Park Street). The parade began at 10 a.m., with another rally at Millennium Park at 11 a.m.

Navy Pier's Wednesday 9:30 p.m. fireworks display also honored the team.

Bill Haley is director of Jackie Robinson West, which his father founded in the early 1970s. He says the team's story is not a "fairytale about ducking bullets" but instead a story of family support and players with character who became national champions.

FOX 32's Joanie Lum and The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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