Arizona Diamondbacks

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Within a mere 50 years, between 1940 and 1990, the city of Phoenix, AZ skyrocketed from being just the 99th largest city in the nation to the 9th. Baseball had always been a tradition in Arizona, even before a big-league team started there.

Indoor baseball stadiums were seen as not feasible in earlier eras, and Phoenix is known for being the hottest major city in North America, with the average high temperature during baseball's regular season being around 99.1 °F. So how could such a hot, desert city ever have a big-league baseball team?

In 1993, owner of the Phoenix Suns, Jerry Colangelo, decided he was going to apply for a Major League Baseball expansion team, by putting together an ownership group, "Arizona Baseball, Inc.," His group's plans were build a retractable-roof ballpark.

Colangelo received a lot of support for his bid from his friend, and owner of the Chicago White Sox. Because of all this support, Colangelo held a contest to name the baseball team - first prize being a pair of lifetime season tickets. The winning choice of course ended up being "Diamondbacks," named after a venomous snake known to exist in Arizona.

Due to the many existing suburbs of Phoenix, like other sports teams, Colangelo decided to keep the team's name as the Arizona Diamondbacks, rather than the Phoenix Diamondbacks - so that all the suburbs would not be left out of a team. Of course, Phoenix residents were not happy about this. On the other hand, other Arizona residents were thrilled that the team was not limited to only the State's capitol. Tucson's minor-league baseball team, The Tucson Sidewinders ended up being great rivals to the Diamondbacks.

Bank One Ballpark, also known as the BOB, was built in an industrial district in downtown Phoenix. In 2005, BOB was renamed to Chase Field.

The team colors for the new Arizona team were chosen to be turquoise (because the greenish-blue stone is indigenous to Arizona), copper (since Arizona is among the nation's top copper-producing states), black and purple (which have become favorite colors for Arizona sports fans, particularly of the NBA team's Phoenix Suns).

However, in September 2006, the team decided to completely redesign their uniforms for the 2007 season, including a new color scheme. As per MLB rules, the uniform redesign was supposed to be kept secret from the public until after the 2006 postseason. Unfortunately, somehow, the 2007 MLB Official Style Guide got out at the end of September, and local media broadcast printed the new design for the public to view. Most fans reacted sourly to the new color scheme "Sedona Red", which was similar to the team colors of the Phoenix Coyotes and Arizona Cardinals, which were known to not do very well. "Sedona Red" became the dominant color used throughout Chase Field and in all marketing and promotional materials for the Diamondback ballclub.

A lot of Diamondback fans even started calling the D-backs a new and completely different team. Some fans held up signs reading, "Arizona Diamondbacks 1998-2006 - Arizona D-Backs 2007-" or "Exit Diamondbacks Enter D-Backs" and "Exit Purple Enter Sedona."

On November 8th in Scottsdale, at a charity event came the official preview of the uniforms. Several of the D-Back players modeled the uniforms on a runway, and even posed for publicity photos.
At the BOB, on March 31, 1998, with a crowd 50,179 people, the Diamondbacks' first major league game was played. The opponents were the Colorado Rockies. Unfortunately the Diamondbacks lost that game 2-9.

In 2001, Arizona had postseason victories over the St. Louis Cardinals and the Atlanta Braves to advance to the World Series where, in one of the most exciting series ever, they beat the New York Yankees, 4-3, to become the youngest expansion franchise to win the World Series (in just their fourth season of play). The team was led by two of the most dominant pitchers in all of baseball: Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling.

An estimated crowd of over 300,000 fans celebrated at the Diamondbacks victory parade, held at the BOB and the downtown Phoenix streets on November 7, 2001.

Anytime you go to a Diamondback's game, you'll be sure to hear fans chanting the team's theme song, "It's a fact, Jack, I back, you back, we back the D'backs,"

Freddie Brister is a big fan of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Check out his Arizona Diamondbacks Store or his Georgia Bulldogs Merchandise at SportsFanTreasures.

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