CINCINNATI, OCT. 22 -- Capping a weekend-long celebration that was 14 years in the making, baseball fans brought umbrellas and brooms to Fountain Square for a rally today to honor the World Series champion Reds.
Despite a steady rain, more than 12,000 people jammed the downtown square to welcome the Reds, who arrived in open convertibles for their season farewell after sweeping the Oakland A's in four games.
"I don't care how wet it is, it's a beautiful day," said Edith Staub, who eschewed umbrella and slicker. "It's exciting. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else."
Police spokesman Lt. Gary Glazier estimated the crowd at 12,000 to 15,000 for the noontime celebration. More stood along the five-block parade route to the square, the traditional site for civic celebrations.
By the time the players arrived, the crowd was treated to Queen's "We Are the Champions," "Can't Touch This," the rap song that became the unofficial song of the Reds, and two renditions of "Reds Rap," featuring several Reds players.
Reds owner Marge Schott thanked the fans. "It's been five, long years for all of us," she said, referring to her tenure as owner. "We won this for the fans. I thank you for hanging in there with us."
Lou Piniella, the first manager to sweep a World Series in his first year with a team, attributed the championship to "hard work, dedication and a will to win."
"I'm really proud of our team, proud of our fans and proud of the city," he said. "They played their hearts out and they're world champions."
When the Reds were introduced, most thanked the fans and said how happy they are to be world champions. "I love you all," said pitcher Jose Rijo, the Series MVP.
Rob Dibble, one of the bullpen "Nasty Boys" who was involved in a taunting match with Oakland pitcher Dave Stewart, took the opportunity to needle the A's.
"We are the best," Dibble said. The crowd roared.