First Pitch: Five of My Favorite Pirates Articles This Year

Today is the final First Pitch of the year, and I’m keeping it simple. I’m working on tomorrow’s year-end article, which will go up in the early afternoon. This is being posted as a general discussion thread to carry you guys through the new year, but I wanted to add a little something extra at the end of the year.

First, I want to wish everyone a safe and a Happy New Year! Hope you all have a good evening tomorrow night!

Since this is the end of the year, I wanted to take a moment to look back at my favorite articles of the year. We generate so many articles, that it’s easy for them to get lost in the mix. Not counting tomorrow’s articles, we’ve posted 1,855 articles this year, including this one. That’s a little over five per day on average, and about 6.5 per day on average during the season. Because of that, it’s really easy for articles to get overlooked, especially if you take a day off from following the site during the season.

So here are the five articles that I really enjoyed this year. They weren’t necessarily the five articles that did the best in terms of traffic. They didn’t have my five best predictions, and didn’t have the most comments. They’re just ones I remember. Most of them are still relevant, so if you missed it the first time around, take some time today to check some of them out.

**The Evolution of Jameson Taillon’s Delivery — This one is my favorite. It was a culmination of years of conversations with Jim Benedict and Jameson Taillon, complete with having them break down video of Taillon’s delivery through the years to show how things changed. This is an in-depth look at Taillon that you won’t find anywhere else.

**Why Some International Players Can Sign, But Have Trouble Entering the U.S. — I did this story after my trip to the Dominican Republic. It’s an interesting look at the system for visas down in the Dominican Republic, and explains why some players can’t make the jump to the US. These are players you’ll never hear about, all because they can’t make it to the US, or they get held back for years until they’re no longer prospects.

**Here’s Why You Don’t Run on Starling Marte or Gregory Polanco — I wrote this in September, breaking down what Polanco and Marte work on with Rick Sofield to lead to their league leading number of outfield assists.

**Steven Brault Moving Beyond Relying on Control and Deception — I liked this article, just because it represented, to me, what we were capable of under the new subscription model. We had a lot of reports on Brault throughout the year, with me in Bradenton and Sean McCool in Altoona. Because of this, we wrote dozens of times what led to his success. When the AFL rolled around, the other Pittsburgh outlets were catching up to what we already knew about Brault. And because we already did the “how Brault relies on control and deception” article a few times, we were able to move on and see what he was working on in the AFL, which turned out to be a move beyond relying on those things. Plus, we were actually able to get live coverage of the AFL, which was a first.

**Trevor Williams is a Perfect Fit to the Pirates’ Organizational Philosophy on Pitching — Kind of along the same lines as Brault. In the past, we would have had to wait until Spring Training to talk with Williams for the first time. Instead, I caught up with him a few weeks after he was acquired by the Pirates. I’m also sharing this one again because he was a great interview, which showed in the article. If you like athletes casually throwing out Crash Davis references, then this article is for you.

**LOTS OF HEAT! — Bonus article. Not really an article, just a video. The long-lost Oliver Perez “LOTS OF HEAT!” commercial. After resurfacing it, I feel it’s my duty to remind everyone that it exists again at least once a month.

**And this one is just a normal daily link, with the transcript to today’s Q&A on the Pirates prospects and the 2016 Prospect Guide. Had a lot of good questions, and expanded a bit on the process behind the book.

  • My favorite was the Ollie Perez ‘resurfacing’ find.

  • I’m curious to know what everyone is drinking tonight. I plan on getting some Firestone Walker Wookie Jack Black Rye IPA and some Victory Storm King Imperial Stout.

    • I’ve got a few big bottles from Cigar City, a Rogue Dead Guy Ale XS, and a Game of Thrones Blonde Ale from Ommegang.

      • I love Three Philosophers. Ommegang Brewery is about the coolest brewery I’ve ever seen. The best part is that it’s about 3 miles from the MLB Hall Of Fame. Cooperstown is just about the best place one can go for 2 or 3 day vacation.

        • My wife and I took a road trip through New England last year in the Fall. After stopping for a few days in Pittsburgh, we spent 2 days in Cooperstown before heading up to Lake Placid, then to VT, NH, ME, and a week in Boston. Loved the HOF (a bucket list item) and just walking around Cooperstown – a very special place.

          • I walked into the first room in the HOF prior to the theatre and was looking at the names on the sign-in book for the first hall of fame induction and immediately welled up. That and the new Star Wars are the closest things that have taken me to childhood in years. The HOF is absolutely a bucket list item.

      • What are your favorite Cigar City beers? I’m sure you’ve mentioned this but they’re now available at the beer garden next to my office and sold individually.

        • My favorite ones are only at the brewery. Vanilla Maduro is my favorite, but I’ve never found it in stores, outside of a mini keg. You can re-create it by putting a tablespoon of vanilla extract in a glass, and pouring a regular Maduro over it.

          Florida Cracker is a good one for a really hot day. If you can get their pumpkin beer (Good Gourd), that’s my favorite pumpkin beer. It’s not overly sweet and doesn’t taste like pumpkin pie or graham crackers like every other pumpkin beer.

    • Champagne, Dogfish 90 minute and some guy at the beer garden suggested a Cigar City Jai Alai. Some mix of this.

    • Vanilla Chamomille Tea by Celestial Seasonings.

  • Happy New Year, Tim! Thanks for a great year of Pirates coverage, and good luck with your move.

  • Congratulations on the first year of the P2 Subscription Site – top notch quality, and by the amount of comments and a lot of new participants, people are getting the word of where to be for Pirate info. Thank you and I look forward to 2016.

  • ….lots of heeeeetttttt

    Happy New Year!

  • Andrew Rothstein
    December 31, 2015 2:11 am

    Happy new year!

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