The desert isn’t generally renowned as a great place to go for sports, although having made a few winter vacations out there, it is nice to have football on in the morning and early starts for prime-time games. But it’s fair to say that most people don’t immediately think of sports when they think of the state of Arizona.
In 2001 though, it was Arizona—specifically the Tucson area—that had the most to cheer on in. The entire state could unify around the Diamondbacks run to a thrilling World Series run, that included dramatic wins in decisive playoff games, first against the St. Louis Cardinals to start the postseason, and finally against the New York Yankees to end it.
When it comes to being the top fan base of 2001, we have to cut in the state in half though, targeting the Tucson area, and those who choose the University of Arizona, rather than Arizona State as their choice of college teams. Lute Olson’s 2011 Arizona Wildcats’ basketball team made the championship game of the 2001 NCAA Tournament, before coming up just short to Duke.
We should note that both 2001 seasons took place against somber backdrops, one personal and one national. Olson’s wife Bobbi passed away early in U of A’s season, and of course the terror attacks of September 11 cast a shadow on the end of the baseball season. But the achievements of both teams, and the joy they brought the fans deserve their own special memory.
Read more about the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks
Read more about the 2001 Arizona basketball team