Despite making some key moves in the hopes of becoming World Series contenders, the Arizona Diamondbacks have plenty of doubters who range from national experts to Las Vegas oddsmakers.
Luis Gonzalez is cool with all that.
"You know what? We don't mind that (the Dodgers and Giants are) getting all the notoriety and things like that because it makes it that much sweeter at the end of the year if you're standing on top," said Gonzalez, the former D-backs great who's now a special assistant to the team's president and CEO.
Gonzalez says he can sense something special is building with this year's team -- maybe something that hasn't happened in 15 years, when his bloop single in Game 7 of the World Series gave the state of Arizona its only "Big 4" sports championship.
"It's exciting. There's a different type of enthusiasm that's out here this year," he said.
"Of course, when you add a Zack Greinke and a Shelby Miller to the top of your rotation, those are two guys that have a great track record in the major leagues, and we're excited about it. With that brings a lot of hope and promise, so we're hoping that our guys stay healthy and get out of the gates good."
In Chip Hale's first year as manager, the D-backs went 79-83 last season, a 15-game improvement from the previous year. But while the D-backs had great hitting and fielding in place, they knew they needed to address their struggling pitching rotation.
"We went out and did exactly that," Gonzalez said. "On paper, we look great, but the bottom line is you've still got to go out there and play the game, and we're hoping that that happens again this year."
Gonzalez said this year's team is comprised of guys who will put in the extra work to make sure the D-backs will prove every single doubter wrong.
"Our guys are blue-collar guys. They're going to go out there and work hard," he said. "When you're led with one of the best players in the league in Paul Goldschmidt, you kind of like your chances."