Updated Nov 4, 2011 - 1:21 pm
We'll always have November 4, 2001
If you're a Diamondbacks fan, you remember the thrill when Luis Gonzalez's single blooped over the head of a drawn-in Derek Jeter and into left field while Jay Bell awkwardly clapped his hands above his head as he touched home plate with the series-clinching run.
Just four years into their existence, the Arizona Diamondbacks had done what no other Phoenix-based major league sports franchise had done. They won a championship. [Note: I'm not discounting the Phoenix Mercury's 2007 an 2009 WNBA titles. I'm just considering the four major leagues for the purposes of this article (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL)]
Ten years have passed; 3,652 days gone by and not one of the four major league local teams has hoisted a championship trophy or scheduled a trip to D.C. to hang with the President since 2001.
Oh sure, there's been the painful, close-but-no-cigar moments. I still cringe every time I hear the words Santonio and Holmes (or Pittsburgh and Steelers for that matter). I still wonder what might have been if Jason Richardson would have blocked out Ron Artest on Kobe Bryant's air ball in the closing seconds of Game 5 of the 2010 Western Conference Finals.
Since that night ten years ago, 39 championship trophies have been lifted (the NHL didn't have a champ in 2005) by teams in 18 different metropolitan areas. And not one of them has been claimed by a Valley squad.
Kinda makes you think...who's going to get the next one?
The Suns' championship window seems to have closed, and honestly, who knows when we'll see the NBA again? The Coyotes may be the most perseverant team in professional sports, but haven't won a playoff series let alone a Stanley Cup in 18 years. The Cardinals were 2:37 away from winning it all, but now appear to be the Phoenix team furthest from title contention.
Fittingly, a decade later, it's the Diamondbacks who are closer than any local team to winning a championship. After cellar-dwelling for two seasons, the D-backs won a division title in 2011 and the future appears bright with the collection of young arms that could be the cornerstone of contending teams for the next five years.
If 2001 taught us anything as Valley sports fans, it's that's it's really difficult to win a championship in any sport. We're left clinging to that lone title from ten years ago.
And we can all be glad we're not tortured fans from Buffalo or Cleveland. At least we've got one recent triumph to remember.
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