No. 10: Arizona Diamondbacks

Ultimate Standings 2012

Updated: September 7, 2012, 10:57 AM ET
By Anna Katherine Clemmons | ESPN The Magazine

Last year's rank: 33
Title track: 36
Ownership: 49
Coaching: 15
Players: 40
Fan relations: 28
Affordability: 9
Stadium experience: 32
Bang for the buck: 5

A division title goes a long way in our standings, as last year's NL West champs proved by jumping up 23 spots overall this year. Manager Kirk Gibson found his groove (and a 57-point jump in players) with strong performances from a core of returning vets (Ian Kennedy), new yet familiar faces (Aaron Hill and Chris Johnson) and rookies (2011 top draft pick Trevor Bauer). On-field success could've justified a ticket price increase, but the Arizona Diamondbacks still rank as the second-most affordable team in baseball behind Tampa Bay, thanks to a $15.74 average ticket price and $4 beers (the cheapest in MLB). Fan relations jumped as well, perhaps thanks in part to the D-backs' emphasis on spectators, who were able to vote on their favorite bobblehead (2011 Gold Glove winner Gerardo Parra) and win uniquities such as a Ryan Roberts tattoo sleeve and a Lucha Libre mask. Inside Chase Field, improvements include express food ordering at nine concession stands through the MLB.com At the Ballpark app, with healthy offerings such as Subway, as well as featured gluten-free menus. The park also introduced the APS Solar Pavilion, which generates solar energy for local use. All of these conveniences add up to a 10 percent increase in attendance over the 2011 season. They're doing things right in Arizona, even if a 64-67 record through Aug. 29 doesn't exactly make them World Series contenders.

Anna Katherine Clemmons is a contributing writer for ESPN The Magazine.