On Monday, I asked our staff to send me their favorite posts from 2015. The only requirements were to send one or two of their own that they felt best captured the year, and one of another staff member's posts that they felt was, in the words of Connor Farrell, "a #good post." Here's a mix of our collective picks:
The ol' grizzly bear doesn't get as much time to write since he's busy corralling all of us like we're his children. (Oh, he has to corral his own children, too, so there's that.) But when he does come out of hibernation, he makes it count. That second link especially is quite the banger, as the kids are saying nowadays.
First off, hat tip to Ryan Freemyer for going in on that June 1 post alongside Eric. Also, I must admit, Eric was out of town this week with the holidays, and in his stead I had five different Purple Row staffers send me at least one of these two pieces. Both, I think, speak to Eric's ability to read a situation and translate advanced statistics into manageable pieces.
Probably not surprisingly, 2015 was the year Matt Gross came to terms with losing Troy Tulowitzki to the Toronto Blue Jays, but what it ended up creating was phenomenal content from his pen (er, keyboard?). That August 21 post, especially: I don't know if I can put into words how strongly I think of that post and Gross' takes on the Rockies. He makes us all look bad (in the best way possible).
Truth be told, Drew himself only sent me that very first post about Jenny Cavnar; the other five (!) came from other PR staffers who requested I include them in our "best of" picks. I'm especially partial to the last one, the November 5 story on the Grand Junction Rockies; Drew bounced some ideas for it off me during his initial crack at it, and I enjoyed watching him put the whole thing together. Other choices in there include the Coors Shield posts! Man. Remember when Rockies baseball was fun?
Both of these pieces speak to something I think Ryan does really well: take a new angle on a really obvious or apparent baseball axiom, and break down why it matters (and how it matters) specifically for the Rockies. In both cases here, especially, he was able to quantify things that we all probably thought we already knew about the Rox in a new and unique way. For that, he wins 100 Internet points.
Two very different posts from Jordan; one a really fun what-if over prospects, and one a really solid take on how the Troy Tulowitzki trade was a paradigm shift rather than just an exchange of players, at least from the Rockies' perspective. (Side note: let's see how Bridich approaches that paradigm shift over the next few weeks.) I wasn't around Purple Row in July when the trade went down, but I love going back and seeing how our staff approached the post-trade analysis and reactions to the mammoth move.
Jen Mac Ramos
Jen, who's juggling grad school at USC (no big deal, right?) has covered the hell out of the California League for us and other outlets over the past several years, and does a phenomenal job talking to prospects and understanding the bigger picture of the Rockies' future plans along side the everyday grind these guys go through in the minors. I also should credit her for doing a good chunk of the (awesome) photography for minor leaguers that you see on this site!
Purple Dinosaur Podcast
LOVE the PDP guys, especially Anthony. Tyler... well, I guess Tyler's OK.
Connor, Connor, Connor. What can I possibly say about Connor that hasn't already been said about him by some teenaged Patriots fan embarrassing him on the Internet? Truth be told, I love Connor's stuff and I am very, very glad he came over to Purple Row a couple months ago. He's good people, and he has a really good, smart, and deep angle on sports. (And he gets owned a lot.)
I love me some Tuesdays with Mitch. The Black Sunday post especially hits me right in the feels, though; that was one of those pivot points in recent Rockies history that change the trajectory from significantly up (yay 2007, 2009, and most of 2010!) to significantly down (boo Alex White and Kyle Kendrick and Jeremy Guthrie and everything else bad). Ah, well.
Charlie does great work for us that makes Purple Row very different from other sites that cover the Rockies: he's our boots on the ground among minor league affiliates, most specifically the Asheville Tourists. In addition to his journalism work, he's also a great photographer, which makes him at least a two-tool player, and somebody I love reading for stuff I literally can't get anywhere else.
I remember this post going up live and reading it back in April with great amusement. I still use Bone Lagoon to this day, too. By the way, Jeff is compiling all our PuRPs for winter 2015 right now, and we will be releasing the list one by one very soon, so there's a great tradition to look forward to for the month of January.
Nick didn't send this post to me; I picked it to put here without telling him. He came to me a few days before this post went up back in December, saying he wanted to write a breakdown of the Rockies' bullpen heading into 2016. I got to see him take a piece from ideation to actualization and watched him create a big, through look at the Rockies' relievers over the course of about two days. It's fun to see the wheels turn and watch people create and pursue stuff like that; great job, Nick. (Oh, Nick is also our Instagram guy starting in 2016, so make sure you follow Purple Row there if you do the Instagram thing!)
I am so proud of Cam. Like, stupid proud of Cam. The kid is 17 years old, we give him all the behind-the-scenes grunt work, he does all the research on statistical stuff we need for other posts, and he always takes it on with a positive attitude and does a great job making sure he gets things right. He's heading to the University of New Mexico in the fall, and whatever he decides to do with his future — journalism or literally anything else — he has the attitude and work ethic befitting someone who will be successful in life. I'm so glad he's part of this staff, because he makes everyone around here happy.
I've only been at Purple Row for three months, so I can't post a full body of work here, but I am proud of a few things including my interview with the man who runs the Hartford Yard Goats' Twitter account, the soft bigotry of low Rockies' expectations, the follow-up on frustrated fans, and my talk with Benjamin Hochman. But if you're going to read one of mine, go here:
I really, really like the way that post came together.
★ ★ ★
In case you couldn't tell by the links and blurbs to dozens of Purple Row posts here, I am absurdly proud of this team of writers, editors, copy editors, comment moderators, social media managers, and every other role played and area of expertise that exists here at Purple Row.
These men and women (and children — hey, Cam!) are phenomenally talented, and I look ahead to this coming year knowing we will put together a great site covering the Rockies in every different area, way, and angle that will add value to your daily consumption of baseball news. Thank you for coming to and staying in this corner of the Internet, inviting a new guy like me in so warmly, and — in the comments sections, on social media, etc. — helping us create such a good, worthwhile community obsessed with what will one day (fingers crossed!) be a good, worthwhile franchise on the field.
Have a wonderful New Year. I'm calling it now — this will be the year of Yohan Flande!