Taney Dragons welcomed home before national media tour

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An adoring crowd of hundreds cheered and applauded wildly for the Taney Dragons who returned back to Philadelphia after their Little League World Series run. (WPVI)

Philadelphia's favorite little leaguers, the Taney Dragons arrived in town to a homecoming celebration complete with police escorts and screaming fans.

However their stop in Philadelphia was short lived, as the team is now taking off for a national media tour.

The Dragons arrived from Williamsport and went straight to Love Park in Center City on Sunday afternoon.

As Will Smith's hit 'Summertime' and the theme from 'Rocky,' - 'Gonna Fly Now' - played from the speakers, the Dragons took the stage with a welcome from Mayor Michael Nutter.

"We are proud of you!" the mayor said to the 2014 Mid-Atlantic Little League champions.

Taney coaches thanked everyone for their support and commended their young players, who each had time to speak about their experience.

The celebration ended with a surprise announcement from Mayor Nutter.

"On Wednesday, there will be a champion's parade for the Taney Dragons," Nutter said.

The mayor added that all the details still need to be worked out, but "the City of Philadelphia will in fact sponsor a parade."

It was a quick trip home for the players before they hit the road, headed to the Big Apple.

Erik 'Lippy' Lipson's bags were not even unpacked after several months away but he's looking forward to starting the next year as a 7th grader.

"I didn't do my summer reading because I didn't have time to do it, but I actually have an excuse. Excuses rock," said Erik.

He invited Action News into his Washington Square apartment where he first learned to pitch. His bedroom doubles as a strike zone and the hallway is a makeshift pitcher's mound.

"That whole, 'no ball in the house,' I don't believe in that rule," said Erik Lipson, dad.

Erik's father says the experience, and even their eventual loss, has been an invaluable lesson for the team about life, commitment, and humility.

"With having lost, in some ways that builds more character than having won it all. I think in some ways Erik and the team have learned more not getting all the way when you look at it. Because in life you don't get to just have it like a Disney movie where 'Poof!' - you win the whole thing," he said.

A few short hours later, Erik and the team gathered their gear once again to hit the road, this time to head to New York for a national media tour, including an appearance on Good Morning America on Monday morning.

"It's actually really cool, but sometimes I just want it to go back to like a month ago," said Mo'ne Davis.

Mo'ne, who has become a household names, hopes all this attention may change the face of baseball in the future.

"It is really cool, and hopefully it changes a lot, and it won't just be all the media on one girl, it will be the whole team," she said.

No matter what the final score was in Williamsport, the Dragons all walked out winners, as an inspiration to young players and to an entire city.

After their media tour, the team will return to Philadelphia for their champion parade along with a special honor from the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Phils announced that the Taney Dragons will take to the field, during a ballpark-wide celebration. The entire Taney Dragons roster will take part in this special tribute, with their families and coaches in attendance.

The Phillies are also offering fans a special ticket offer, with Taney receiving a portion of the proceeds. Visit phillies.com/Taney for details.

All fans in attendance at the Phillies game will also receive a Taney Dragons hat and t-shirt.

While the Dragons ended their historic run for the Little League World Series Championship Thursday night, it looks like the celebration is far from over.
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