The Triple-A National Champion Reno Aces returned home Wednesday just hours after winning after the Pawtucket Red Sox.
Tuesday night's 10-3 victory at Durham Bulls Athletic Park capped off the most successful season in Aces franchise history—a campaign that included a club-record 81 wins, the team's first Pacific Coast League title and, now, the first Triple-A crown in the club's four-year history.
It marks the second Triple-A championship in Arizona Diamondbacks history—the first since the Tucson Sidewinders captured the title in 2006.
Aces outfielder A.J. Pollock was named Most Valuable Player of the annual event. He finished with a double, triple, two runs scored and one driven in. Just days ago, Pollock earned MVP honors in the Pacific Coast League Championship Series.
Dozens of fans cheered as team members got off the bus, with their championship trophies in hand. "Just to congratulate the players on a great season and have fun. It was a great year," says fan Patrick Devine.
For the players, the warm welcome from the fans was a little bit unexpected. "It was great to come off the bus and see a crowd here. I mean, it's just unbelievable. How many other teams in the middle of the day on a, I think it's Wednesday, I don't know. I lost track of days but middle of the week, middle of the day, to have people supporting us is unbelievable and I hope next year we get the same support. It would be awesome," says Aces pitcher Matt Grogen.
Many players could be found signing autographs for fans, eager to congratulate them on their winning season. "I'm excited about it. We've been an Aces fan since they got here. Amazing ballpark that they've built, in Reno. My son and I love coming to the games," says Richard Parrett.
And there were many of fathers and sons on hand today. For many, the Aces give them a break from the everyday routine. "Sports brings everybody together. As you can see, there's different people of different backgrounds and it doesn't matter. We all unite for sports," says fan Simon Ruvalcaba.
For the players, bringing home a title is something they say the fans can be proud of because they helped make it happen. "We've had great support all year. The town gets behind us and shows up to all the games, even Sundays at 1:00 when it's 100 degrees out here. So, we appreciate all they do for us and we're glad to give them a good effort and bring a trophy back home," says Aces pitcher Joe Martinez.
The Aces will begin their title defense next April. Season tickets for next season are already on sale.