After making a run for the Little League World Series title on national television, the bright lights shouldn’t shock manager Darold Butler and Jackie Robinson West.
But each and every moment of their magical ride, from defeating Las Vegas in the U.S. Championship Game to returning home to one of the biggest parades Chicago has ever seen, continues to blow Butler and his players away.
"The whole experience has been unreal and it’s like a dream right now,” Butler said. “It’s something I’m glad they’re enjoying. Right now it’s a dream. A big dream.
The fun for Jackie Robinson West continued on Saturday when the team stopped by U.S. Cellular Field before the game to be introduced to the crowd and run the bases. When each player rounded third, the entire White Sox team was there to greet them with high-fives as they ran home. This was on the same night that former White Sox manager Tony LaRussa was being honored, something one of the players, Trey Hondras, was in awe over.
“It’s crazy because he’s (LaRussa) a Hall of Famer, and we’re just some regular kids that made it to Williamsport,” Hondras said.
Before the players took the field at U.S. Cellular, they were greeted by Detroit Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter and White Sox outfield Adam Eaton. Butler was very appreciative of all the White Sox had done for his team after their run in Williamsport.
“It’s been great because they’re from the city of Chicago,” Butler said. “It’s a great thing. A lot of the players’ favorite players are Chicago White Sox so it’s a beautiful thing. I’m glad the White Sox are showing so much love, and I’m super proud of the guys.”
The festivities even brought out Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D), who called the players “heroes forever” to the city of Chicago.
“We really have to take a lesson from JRW,” Quinn said. “Those are our favorite letters in the alphabet.”