Thousands of fans came out on Monday night for the return of the Park View Little League team.
The Blue Bombers would have been mobbed if they came home last week after just putting in an appearance at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Penn., but now that they returned as world champions, the crowd that turned out Monday night was enormous, estimated at 6,000 to 7,000 (more than 30,000 turned out Sunday to watch the team beat Chinese Taipai, in the final).
The first organized welcome home party was held Monday night at DeVore Stadium at Southwestern College, in the 900 block of Otay Lakes Road in Chula Vista.
At 9:40 p.m. the Little Leaguers arrived by bus from Ontario Airport and spoke for 15-20 minutes, showing off their 2009 World Championship banner.
"Hey, you guys. I just want to thank you for all your support," said Park View player Luke Ramirez.
"We brought you back the World Championship," said player Andy Rios as the crowd exploded into cheers.
Officials said a well-known celebrity would put in a surprise appearance during the night as well. That celebrity turned out to be actor/comedian George Lopez who congratulated the players and gave each team member a free IPOD touch.
In a few weeks, the team will fly out to Washington D.C. for a meeting with President Obama.
The City of Chula Vista had originally planned a rally for Friday night at Memorial Bowl, but they quickly realized room for just 750 would not be enough,so the search was on Monday afternoon for another bigger location, and it brought them to Southwestern College.
Friday night's rally is also scheduled to take place on the Southwestern campus, at 6 p.m. The gates will open to the public at 4 p.m.
"Our boys of summer are world champions and we're going to throw a world-class celebration for them," said Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox. "The Blue Bombers have lifted the spirits of the city and the entire region, and we can't wait to cheer for them."