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Marlins Fans Paint the Town Teal

October 27, 1997

MIAMI (AP) _ The 5-year-old Marlins bandwagon is full.

While the team’s stadium was seldom full during the season, South Florida was painted in Marlins’ teal Sunday night as fans celebrated the Marlins’ 11th-inning come-from-behind 3-2 win over Cleveland to claim Florida’s first-ever World Series.

With salsa music, frozen drinks and cigars, Marlins fans began to celebrate Sunday night.

``This is absolutely incredible,″ said Brook Smith, 32, of Aventura, watching from a Coconut Grove bar. ``We’re going to party ... tonight, all night, into the morning. We’ve got 50 people coming to my house, and we’re going to tear it up.″

In Little Havana, where the team’s Latin players have a strong following, they were celebrating the win and Colombian Edgar Renteria’s game-winning hit.

``The kid from Barranquilla, (Colombia) he came through, he came through,″ said Tony Gonzalez, watching the game at a Little Havana restaurant. ``What an emotional moment. It is time to celebrate.″

Fans poured into the streets of city neighborhoods within minutes of the win, and fire trucks drove up and down State Road A1A along the Atlantic Ocean in Fort Lauderdale honking their horns.

Fans lined Calle Ocho, the main street through Little Havana, and the sound of car horns filled the air.

``We’re going to go find (pitcher) Livan Hernandez, and we’re going to smoke a big cigar,″ said Anthony Garcia, who was draped in an enormous teal Marlins flag. ``I’m not sleeping for about three days. This is going to be a non-stop party.″

``Miami’s going to go crazy, everybody’s been waiting for this, especially the Latin community,″ said Michael Alvarez. ``We’re not going to stop partying until tomorrow morning.″

At bars, patrons dumped beer on each other and broke into song.

Police were hoping celebrations didn’t turn dangerous.

Every available police officer that works in the trendy Coconut Grove area was called in to work, as bar patrons spilled out into the streets.

There has been violence after some sports championships. When the Chicago Bulls won their second NBA crown in 1992, rioters caused $10 million worth of damage. There were also disturbances in Detroit when the Tigers won the World Series in 1984 and when the Pistons won their second NBA title in 1989.

Chris Petit, 21, of Miami, said that wouldn’t be necessary here.

``We’re civilized people in Miami. It’s going to be a nice atmosphere,″ he said. ``We’re just going to party Miami-style.″

``I brought my cigar here,″ said Roger Dunetz, who watched the Marlins win at a Coconut Grove sports bar. ``I don’t smoke, but I figured this was the event to do it.″

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