While the Arizona Diamondbacks are among baseball's newest teams, having only started play in 1998, they have had their share of success, winning their division four times, and taking the World Series in 2001. That monumental struggle against the Yankees,with Arizona coming from behind to take the deciding game, remains the greatest moment in the franchise's history. I have been a fan since before there was an actual team - on a 1997 trip to Phoenix, I stared into the building site which would become Chase Field, and have followed them since.
That became a lot easier when I moved to Arizona in 2000, and they have been a full-time obsession since the World Series win. The man who got the winning hit there, Luis Gonzalez, is the most-loved player by the fans - not just for his accomplishments, but his easy-going nature and approachability. But it is the left-handed pitcher Randy Johnson is perhaps responsible for more lasting memories. He played a key part in the 2001 World Series, winning the final game as a reliever after starting the previous day. But he also threw a perfect game for Atlanta, struck out 20 batters in another start, and, infamously, hit a bird with a pitch during spring training, killing it stone-dead.
We have switched more towards developing players internally in recent years, with some success. Justin Upton has been selected for the National League All-Star side, while Mark Reynolds leads the team with 24 home-runs. The results have been severely disappointing, but talents like those mentioned keep Arizona fans interested, even when this season is unlikely to be a winning one. * Jim is the editor of azsnakepit.com