Braves return to Turner Field as NL East champs - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Braves return to Turner Field as NL East champs

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Fans gather at Turner Field to greet the Atlanta Braves as they return as NL East champions. Fans gather at Turner Field to greet the Atlanta Braves as they return as NL East champions.
The aptly named "Champion Coach" buses carrying the Atlanta Braves pull into Turner Field late Sunday. The aptly named "Champion Coach" buses carrying the Atlanta Braves pull into Turner Field late Sunday.
Fan at Turner Field show the arriving team their best Tomahawk Chop for the returning Braves. Fan at Turner Field show the arriving team their best Tomahawk Chop for the returning Braves.
ATLANTA -

The Atlanta Braves fresh off of their victory in Chicago, while a little exhausted after their long day, were still celebrating their clinching the NL East division title as they returned to Turner Field late Sunday night.

While it was the 4-2 loss by the Washington Nationals to the Miami Marlins that put the Braves over the top to win the division crown, the Braves Nation was more than satisfied with the 5-2 win over Chicago Cubs.

The team arrived back to their home stadium late Sunday evening to a little over a dozen fans holding vigil. The fans, dressed in full Braves gear, held up signs and memorabilia as the aptly named Champion Coach buses pulled into the stadium.

The scene of Braves players dressed in their best suits, exiting the buses, was a far cry from the one just hours earlier when they were in the small guest clubhouse at Wrigley Field. The team was clad in their freshly donned "WE OWN THE EAST" t-shirts and was spraying each other in celebration with bottles of champagne.

In the aftermath of all the revelry, Braves Executive Vice President and General Manager Frank Wren set a more reserved tone for the organization. He told FOX 5's Nicole Estaphan that they are still a young team and while it bodes well for the future, they just can't take anything for granted.

"It's almost 225 day ago we started Spring Training with the goal of winning the division. And a lot of people didn't give us a chance actually," said Wren.

FOX 5 Sports: Coverage of Braves Spring Training 2013

But chance seems have put the Braves in the right spot at the time heading into the postseason. Wren pointed to Jason Heyward's return to the top of the order as the latest example of the resilience of a team that has been through its ups and downs not to mention many injuries.

He said the focus of the next week will be on resting some of the key players and getting their pitchers in the right rotation as they look to clinch home field advantage.

"This is what you do. This is the reason you do it," Wren said about the adding to the long history of the Braves.

And while that history has included 14 postseason berths in the past two decades, recent history has been less kind. The Braves haven't seen a division crown since 2005 and still have a bitter taster in their mouths after last year's wild card game. And let's not mention 2010's bittersweet goodbye to then manager Bobby Cox as they lost a National Leagues Division Series to the San Francisco Giants. So, fans who spoke to FOX 5 outside Turner Field on Sunday are hoping this season brings another golden age where winning in the postseason is more often.

Right now, the Braves lead the National League in wins and if they can hold that lead to the end of the season, it would mean a home field advantage as they would face the winner of the single Wild Card Game.

Those teams appear to be the Cincinnati Red and Pittsburgh Pirates. The two NL Central teams have been neck and neck all September. The Washington Nationals only have a slight chance breaking into the game being five games behind and two games away from being eliminated.

The St. Louis Cardinals appear to have all but locked the NL Central crown while the Los Angeles Dodgers have tied up their dominance of the NL West.

In the American League, the Boston Red Sox have taken the East while the Oakland A's rule the West with the Detroit Tigers still two games away from eliminating the Cleveland Indians as topping the AL Central.

The regular season ends September 29. The Braves end their season at home with a start a 3-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers followed by a 4-game series against the Philedelphia Phillies beginning Thursday.

The Postseason starts 3 days later with the Wild Card games. Each NL Division Series starts October 3 with a 2-2-1 format and the NL Championship Series beginning October 11.

Game 1 of the World Series is scheduled for October 26 and will be exclusively broadcasted by FOX Sports.

Fans are hoping that the Braves make it that far.

Single-game tickets for the Braves Postseason are still available through their website. That's braves.com.

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