CHICAGO — Alfonso Hernandez hasn’t exactly waited a whole 108 years for this. But he says he’s waited 95 of those years — all his life — as a tortured Chicago Cubs fan, every birthday getting a Cubs-themed cake or a new piece of memorabilia to keep his faith alive in the once-lovable losers.
“The wait is over,” said the 95-year old from Streamwood, Ill. “All of my life, I watched them lose. I’m so happy. So happy, happy, happy. God gave us the players to win the World Series. They are … champions.”
FACEBOOK LIVE: Chicago Cubs World Series victory parade and celebration
The Cubs defeated the Cleveland Indians 8-7 in 10 innings on Wednesday in a thrilling Game 7 of the World Series to claim their first title since 1908. And the party hasn't stopped. The die-hard fans continued to bask in the glory and consumed the streets as early as 4 a.m. local time to celebrate the team’s championship with a Friday parade, which starts outside Wrigley Field before heading to Grant Park.
Here’s a snapshot of what this means to Cubs fans along the parade route.
Florita Killroy, 47, Chicago: “This parade makes it real. I’ve been a fan all my life. My earliest memories are my Dad taking me to Cubs games. It was always his thing. He passed away four years ago and would have loved this.”
Allison Killroy, 7, Chicago: “I was very excited after they won. I stayed up real late and even went to school the next day.”
Brian Hopkins, 47, Aurora., Ill.: “It’s just been hope every year. I believed it was gonna happen every single year. Even when there were 5,000 fans in the stands back in the ‘80s. This is validation. My dad passed away at the beginning of the year here. He’d be really, really happy to see this.”
Christopher Hopkins, 6, Aurora, Ill.: “I was really, really excited (on Wednesday). My dad was a little (crazier).”
Steve Pyke, 53, Chicago: “I always said if they ever won it, it was going to be the biggest party the sports world has ever seen. So here we are. I’ve known for 20 years that I was gonna be here no matter where I was. My grandmother was a die-hard Cubs fans. My dad worked with Ron Santo and my memories were sitting in his seats right next to the Cubs bullpen. I’ve been hooked ever since. Next year is here!
Arianna Cunningham, 15, Park Ridge, Ill.: “I started really liking them after my first game in 2008, but I fell deeply because of Kris Bryant (laughs). I screamed so loud on Wednesday. I knew they were gonna win, I had a hunch. This parade proves it. I was just so worried when they put (Aroldis) Chapman in, but they did it.”
Kevin Cunningham, (in his 40s), Park Ridge, Ill.: “I actually felt nauseated (on Wednesday) like, ‘oh my god I’m sick to my stomach.’ Seeing the parade is all excitement. Of course I took off work for this. I didn't call in sick. I grew up in New Mexico, moved out here in ’95, and of course, you have to love the Cubs. How can you not, right?”
Larry English, 34, with his daughter, Queanna English, 9, Hoffman Estates, Ill.: “To me, this means we can fulfill us talking (expletive) because everybody, White Sox and Cardinals fans, always give us crap about how we never won. Now that we officially won, we’ve got the monkey off our back. It’s an uplifting feeling. Game 7, man, and now this parade, what more could you ask for?”
Matt Malone, 28, Kempton, Ill.: "It's something Chicago needed for a long time. The organization set high expectations and provided so now it's come full circle. Growing up a Cubs fan as a kid, it's just a hush or a whisper that they could win the World Series, it was make believe like unicorns or Santa coming down the chimney. My grandfather was 98 and he just recently passed away. His saying was old daylight and a dollar short. Now it's perfect."
Alejanero Guzman, Chicago: "My father brought me here for the first time when I was 12 years old and I met Ryne Sandberg. And then I brought my son and he met Tom Ricketts and got a ball signed by all the players. I have a lot of memories. Man, all the drama over the years. I was there in '03 with Bartman, seeing that go down. Seven games, bro, but we did that Cinderella story. It was the best thing I've seen in my entire life. This parade is the icing on the cake!"
Hattie Young, 26, Chicago: "I've Grown up a Cubs fan. I have a memory of being six years old in a costume with pom poms and cheering on the Cubs. This to me is everything. It is for my entire family. I look at pics and videos and start crying. This parade makes my heart burst. We have such loyal fans. I'm shaking. We got an email from work saying we could work from home so this working from home because I live right down the street."
Michelle Bajaj, 40, Chicago: "I grew up in the Chicago area and my dad is die hard. So is my grandfather. My husband is from India. We made him a believer! This is extra special because it's my daughter Mira's birthday. She's three today! Best birthday present ever!"