We’ve been doing a lot of looking back lately, as many are wont to do at the end of the year. One thing we’ve come to realize is that Purple Row had a banner year in 2016, especially in the quality of the content we’ve produced.
Our writers have done a phenomenal job of bringing the best possible Rockies content to you on a daily basis. As a show of our appreciate to them, we wanted to provide a list of our favorite pieces of the year, listed chronologically. There could have been a lot more, and if there are any that you feel should have made this list, let us know in the comments.
We also want to thank you, our readers and community members, for making Purple Row what it is. Whether you read or share our posts, or lurk or debate in the comments, you are what makes this website a special place, and we couldn’t do any of it without you. We hope to get even better in 2017.
Without further ado, our favorite posts of 2016!
Colorado Rockies prospect Correlle Prime ready to break out after a strong winter Down Under - Cameron Goeldner | January 22
“Favorite piece of the year was my Correlle Prime feature. It remains the thing I'm proudest of, as it was my first foray into features and interviews.” This piece marked a major area of growth for young Cam, as he took on a new challenge and really exceeded all expectations with it.
The Colorado Rockies' 2007 regular season was nearly perfect, but their late season collapse almost ruined it - Eric Garcia McKinley | February 19
“My favorite satire article was the one that told the story of the 2007 Rockies in reverse chronological order because it makes the essential point that narratives do matter, and that the Rockies were the best team in the NL in 2007 and were in no way a fluke.”
The Colorado Rockies released Brock Huntzinger and baseball is an unforgiving game - Bobby DeMuro | April 1
Here’s Bobby doing what Bobby does best: giving a human face to the amoral industry that is professional baseball.
The city of Modesto is a part of baseball history, just as baseball is forever a part of Modesto - Jen Mac Ramos | April 7
We didn’t know back in April that this would be the last season the Rockies’ High-A California League affiliate would play as the Modesto Nuts. Far from mere nostalgia, this article makes the list because of how well it captures the place Modesto holds in baseball past and present, from the perspective of current and former Nuts players and those who take in the game at John Thurman Field on a regular basis.
When you write about baseball, you agree to being wrong almost always. Baseball is like a two-year-old: it moves in predictable rhythms but it’s nearly impossible to predict how it will get there. That’s why Ryan’s piece on Jon Gray’s early career is so satisfying: he not only made a compelling case to believe in Gray’s future, but Gray proved him right as the season continued.
Long before Walt Weiss left his position as manager of the Rockies, and even before the “Fire Walt Weiss” train really gained any steam. Ryan Schoppe wrote him a letter. “Sorry, Walt. It's not you (maybe it is a little bit you), it's me. We've got to break up.” What’s most impressive is how Ryan was able to identify what would become a season long issue for Weiss.
Gerardo Parra's overly aggressive approach does not bode well for him or the Rockies - Ryan Freemyer | May 20
Remember what I said earlier about baseball being hard to predict? It’s more fun being right when it’s about good things. In any case, Ryan was able to pick up on some troubling aspects of Parra’s season long before it became our communal nightmare.
The Rockies are 'more relaxed' with infield shifts, but players remain skeptical - Eric Garcia McKinley | May 24
“My favorite analytics article is one about the Rockies and the infield shift because it no longer just assumes that the shift is valuable in and of itself, which was the focus of my previous shift analysis articles.”
This one is an editor’s choice. Connor broke from his usual tone in his Football Friday columns to share his own battle with anxiety. As a site, it’s one of the articles I’m most proud of this year because it’s a story that needs to be told and we should all be so willing to open up our lives for the betterment of those around us.
MLB Draft 2016: A mock draft tracker for the Colorado Rockies' No. 4 overall pick - Russ Oates | June 9
“Wins? Losses? I just like things that get pageviews.”
The reason I chose this one comes down to this tweet:
The guy in the Hawaiian shirt is my son (Jake) and the analysis is pretty accurate! https://t.co/16bRZJ6jtB— Joe Heeter (@FJHeet) June 13, 2016
Proof that rain delay games can be just as, if not more, interesting than any other.
When a former franchise icon returns to his former stomping grounds as an opponent, emotions are sure to run high (I’m not crying, you’re crying!). One of the final pieces Matthew Gross wrote for Purple Row this year was also one of his most poignant.
Every once in a while you have to stop, look around, and take a count of all the good things in your life, which is exactly what Isaac does for this site every week during the season. This edition was particularly enjoyable because, hey, remember when we were having fun watching the Rockies this summer? It was real, even if it eventually went downhill.
We brought Chris Jackson on the staff about halfway through the season and immediately benefitted from not only his immediate access to the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes, but also his abilities as an interviewer and analyst of the game. While we could have chosen just about any of Chris’ Isotopes pieces, it was this interview with pitching coach Darryl Scott that showed us just how impactful minor league coaches can be. Chris himself said, “This stood apart for me from the other ones I wrote.”
When a player gets off to a hot start, excitement is usually tempered with a sort of dread, waiting for the other shoe to drop. This was especially true of Trevor Story’s red hot start to his major league career. Come July, though, Story was still producing and Bossman Bryan got to talk with him about why. The most difficult part about this piece is that we didn’t much of a chance to see how the rest of Story’s season would play out as he played his last game of 2016 five days later.
Because the Rockies should sign Arenado to an extension, already. Seriously, how is this still a discussion?
Considering his lackluster final years with the team, it’s easy to downplay Jorge De La Rosa’s impact on the Rockies. But Connor manages to show us just how much we will—and should—miss Jorge. From Connor: “I chose this piece over everything else I wrote because I felt it accurately conveyed what I've always tried to bring to PR, how baseball makes me feel. Jorge was never flashy or anyone's favorite player but he made us feel something and I thought this helped bring that to the forefront.”
Rockies’ Jon Gray has his slider back - Adam Peterson | September 23
I really enjoyed writing about Jon Gray’s 16 strikeout performance. I got to relive all the best parts of it and also found out something new about what had made this start, and the hot run of starts, so exceptional. Also, GIFs.
When tragedy strikes, grief takes many forms. For many of us, the death of young Marlins star José Fernández put us in a position we weren’t familiar with: how to we mourn the loss of someone we never knew personally, someone we admired from afar and will deeply miss? Nick helped us process this grief in a way that was equal parts eloquent and respectful.
David Dahl embraced the majors and thrived on better competition - Bryan Kilpatrick and Adam Peterson | November 3
This year’s crop of rookies were not only the best in franchise history, but they are also a big reason why the Rockies have a shot at opening up their contention window as early as next year. David Dahl, who was called up to the majors for good on July 25, is a big reason why. And to see what Rockies brass has to say about the talented outfielder is to see that the Rockies may have another franchise cornerstone upon which to build.
Adam Ottavino exceeded expectations in his return from Tommy John surgery - Jordan Freemyer | November 4
Adam Ottavino retuned this season after losing a year to Tommy John surgery. It would have been unreasonable to expect him to keep up his same level of performance from before the surgery—until he did just that. Jordan got to talk with Adam one-on-one and said, “Ottavino is just a great interview.”
Our own Jordan Freemyer was at the press conference when general manager Jeff Bridich introduced new manager Bud Black. “Black and Bridich were impressive and really changed my mind on the hire.” I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that Jordan’s piece helped change my mind on the hire as well.
DJ LeMahieu stuck it to the haters – again - Ted Chalfen | November 17
Ted’s been DJ’s hype man for a while now, so when he went out and had a career year, especially after everyone was so quick to say he had already peaked, this year felt especially sweet.
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There you have it. Of the hundreds of rockpiles, game recaps, breaking news and analysis articles, these are the two dozen pieces that represent our best work in 2016. We hope you enjoyed reading them as much as we did writing them, and we look forward to continue bringing the best Rockies content on the internet to you in 2017.
Which ones were your favorites? Do you feel like we missed any? Let us know in the comments!