In 2001, the Arizona Diamondbacks became the fastest expansion team in the history of Major League Baseball to win a World Series title, doing so in only their fourth year of existence. They’ve made a habit of being a competitive force in the National League West ever since, adding division crowns in 2002, 2007 and 2011 and keeping D-backs tickets at a premium. Showcasing such talents as Hall of Fame hurler Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling, Luis Gonzalez and Paul Goldschmidt, the 48,519-seat Chase Field (complete with retractable roof and swimming pool) is often packed to the brim with passionate Snakes fans.
The D-backs fell short of a return trip to the NLDS in 2018, finishing at 82-80. In the offseason, the franchise made the difficult decision to let go of six-time MLB All-Star and fan favorite Paul Goldschmidt, swapping the first baseman to the St. Louis Cardinals. The good news for skipper Torey Lovullo is that AZ picked up some top-flight prospects in catcher Carson Kelly and hurler Luke Weaver, and he still boasts a pitching staff headed by a pair of Zacks — Greinke and Godley — both of whom won 15 games in 2018.
One of the youngest major sports franchises, the Arizona Diamondbacks were formed in 1998 and quickly catapulted to the top of the league by winning a World Series only four years after their inaugural season, making an indelible imprint on the Phoenix sports scene.
Facing the three-time defending champion New York Yankees in the 2001 Fall Classic — considered one of the greatest World Series of all time — the Diamondbacks were anything but intimidated despite their lack of experience in the postseason. The outcome would come down to Game 7. With the score tied at 1-1 in the bottom of the ninth and facing perhaps the premier closer in the history of the game, Bronx Bomber Mariano Rivera, Arizona’s Luis Gonzalez lofted a 0–1 pitch over a drawn-in Derek Jeter at shortstop to plate the winning run and give Arizona its first-ever championship. Sports Illustrated later named it the best Postseason Game of the Decade (2000–2009).