Cubs treat Jackie Robinson West players like stars
Players on the Jackie Robinson West Little League team got to march in their own parade last week.
On Labor Day, they got to witness one.
During a visit to Wrigley Field, JRW players and their coaches reveled in a special day as Cubs player after Cubs player paraded past them in the dugout to congratulate them on their national title and wish them well for the future.
"If you're going to be famous in the future, you might as well get used to it right now," Cubs relief pitcher Wesley Wright told the Little Leaguers.
Team members, coaches and families from Jackie Robinson West got the royal treatment from the Cubs.
In addition to time in the dugout, they also had a team photo taken with Cubs players, who wore special JRW warmup jerseys, which will be auctioned off to help the program.
The Little League team then marched into Wrigley Field from the right-field gate to big cheers from the fans. Players also ran out to their positions before the Cubs took the field for their Monday afternoon game against Milwaukee.
They capped their big day by leading the crowd in singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the seventh-inning stretch.
It still seems all a big deal to everybody involved. Jackie Robinson West fell to South Korea in the world-title game, but the Chicago kids already were a national sensation for what they had accomplished on the national level.
"We were surprised from the time of getting off the plane at the airport to the rally," said JRW head coach Darold Butler. "The parade started at 107th (Street) and came all the way down to Millennium Park.
"That was unreal seeing people stopping and getting on top of their cars. It was unbelievable to see that."
Cubs players, along with manager Rick Renteria, visited with the JRW players in the dugout and posed for pictures.
"It's really cool until you realize some of them are as tall as you are, almost," Wright said with a laugh.
"I think that these kids have earned this day, and I'm glad that we can be a part of helping them celebrate what they worked so hard over the summer to accomplish. I hope they take in what this really all means.
"A lot of kids, like myself, never got this opportunity to be in a big-league clubhouse and be on a big-league field and be around big-league players. So I hope they soak this in and use it as motivation to keep going, and one day they might be on the other end of this."
The White Sox honored Jackie Robinson West on their just-concluded homestand. Wright was asked why it was important for the big-leaguers to make the time for the kids.
"In this day and age, so much negativity is put out there, and they hear and see it a lot," he said. "(It's) just for them and other young people to see that doing positive things and working hard and staying disciplined can be rewarded, as well.
"And you can become known for good things, as well. I think these kids are going to realize just how much of an inspiration they were to a lot of people. I think it's our job to bring the spotlight to that type of thing."