It’s November 4, 2011–the ten-year anniversary of the
Arizona Diamondbacks shocking the baseball world and
beating the juggernaut three-time defending World Series
champion New York Yankees in a 7-game series that will go
down in history as one of the best ever played.
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
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
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
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
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.