This story is part of ESPN The Magazine's September 29 Fansourced Issue. Subscribe today!
Last year's ranking: 6
Title track: 41
Fan relations: 56
Stadium experience: 54
Bang for the buck: 11
Perhaps the novelty of being the best bargain in baseball -- an average cost of $29.56 to attend a game -- has worn off a bit, particularly for a team that never recovered from a 9-22 start. Arizona brought in Tony La Russa as chief baseball officer in May, but not much improved. The D-backs dealt Brandon McCarthy and Joe Thatcher but otherwise made few changes -- at least until September, when GM Kevin Towers was ousted. Manager Kirk Gibson's future still isn't certain. But some changes are necessary: Through Sept. 4, the team's rotation ranked second to last in the National League with a 4.37 ERA, and the 26th-ranked offense wasn't much better.
Playing in a four-sport city also means revenue competition, particularly with a fan base that lacks the affluence of other major cities, so the franchise is drawing fans to Chase Field with unique theme nights and giveaways. Some of this year's highlights included Zombie Night, Elvis Night (fans took home gold sunglasses complete with sideburns) and Star Wars Day. And who wouldn't want to try concessions like the D-bat Dog -- an 18-inch corn dog stuffed with cheddar cheese and jalapeno, wrapped in bacon and served with chipotle ketchup, spicy mustard and fries?
The D-backs are still the best in baseball when it comes to giving back, having donated more than $6 million through the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation in 2013 alone. The D-backs and the foundation support numerous endeavors, including this year's D-backs Give Back Jersey Program, which provided Arizona-branded uniforms and caps to more than 22,000 youth baseball and softball players and coaches. More than 30 leagues participated, and the program led to an increase in enrollment of more than 4,000 kids. In other words, the D-backs are doing great off the diamond (ranking in the top half in all four fan-related categories) -- if only they could produce a bit more on the field, where they're bottom dwellers in most of our categories.