This end of the year post has become a tradition at Amazin' Avenue. With the continued growth in quantity and quality of contributors to the site, this year's edition is longer than usual. It was also tougher to narrow down the best pieces.
Matthew Artus of Always Amazin' and Bill Petti of Beyond The Box Score joined the front page writing staff this year. Longtime AA contributors Pack Bringley, Jeff Paternostro, Stephen Schmidt, and Steve Schreiber stepped up to provide the daily Applesauce news posts and invaluable minor league recaps. They replaced one man wrecking crew Joe Budd, who moved on to bigger and better things. Cheers to Joe, who carried AA on his back at times.
To say farewell, here are some of my favorite front page posts from the past year.
Jason Bay And Hitting At Citi Field -- I wouldn't call it "hitting."
- Mets Draft History By WAR -- Eno does the research and finds disappointing results.
- My Hate/Love Relationship With John Franco -- I've never met the guy so "relationship" is a stretch.
- Celebrities Caught Wearing Mets Gear -- The Rodney Dangerfield picture rules the day.
- The K-Rod Plan -- Or he can just be shipped to the Brewers at the All Star break. Either way.
- The Mets And The Two-Division Format -- Chris tackles a topic which was discussed in baseball circles throughout the year.
- In Search Of Nicknames -- Eno puts that NotGraphs pedigree to good use.
- The Wilpons: Are You Or Have You Ever Been Broke? -- Matt Callan kicks the tires on one of the dominant Mets storylines of the year.
- Sandy Alderson: "Stolen Bases Are A Footnote" -- Don't let anyone fool you. Sandy Alderson's insult of stolen bases is the real reason Jose Reyes left the Mets. It had nothing to do with money.
- Fred Wilpon, Bernie Madoff, And The Mets: A Timeline -- This could probably use an update.
- On Andy Pettitte's Hall Pass -- Will Andy Pettitte's PED usage be whitewashed away when he is eligible for the Hall of Fame?
- Mets Farm System Top 5: Gloves -- Rob runs down the best gloves in the Mets' system before the 2011 season.
- Adam Rubin Interviews Nick Evans -- The Nick Evans Revenge Tour doesn't come to town until September 24-27 next season.
- Most Popular Mets Pages On Baseball-Reference -- Where Dillon Gee > Tom Seaver.
- The Real "Luis Castillo Disconnect" -- Sam Page does not want to hear about Luis Castillo anymore. Especially from a beat writer in a speedo.
- The Amazin' Avenue Annual Has Literally Arrived -- A major hat tip to Eric for making this happen. All five customer reviews on Amazon gave it a perfect rating!
- A Tepid Defense Of The Black Jerseys -- Apparently it wasn't a strong defense, given the upcoming uniform changes.
- A Quick Chat With Mets GM Sandy Alderson -- Rob was down in Port St. Lucie for spring training and spoke to many Mets players and executives. This edition features the big guy.
- We're All Invited To The Mets Pity Party! -- One of several pieces this year addressing the groan-worthy #LOLMets meme which has emerged in the local press in recent years.
- Which Website's Box Score Is Best? -- ESPN won the vote at the time but given FanGraphs' box score improvements a re-vote might yield different results.
- Amazin' Avenue Restaurant Review: Strawberry's Sports Grill -- One of three restaurant reviews this year. More to come in 2012.
- Transcript Of Sandy Alderson's Conference Call With Mets Bloggers -- These are always enjoyable.
- The Sunday New York Times Trolls Mets Fans -- Don't stop trolling. Don't ever stop trolling.
- Oh Hampton, Mike Hampton -- Bidding adieu to one of the heroes of 2000.
- Keeping Score Of The Mets -- Chris shares a personal history of keeping score.
- Your 2011 New York Mets, In Head Shot Collage Form -- Looking forward to this in 2012.
- Amazin' Avenue 2011 Season Predictions -- No one had the Cardinals even making the playoffs.
- The First Game Of The Rest Of Our Lives -- Sam finds love in a hopeless place.
- This Week In SNY -- The inaugural installment of my favorite regular feature.
- The Top 50 Mets Of All Time: #50 Bob Ojeda -- Alex reboots the infamous series.
- A Request Of Marty Noble -- Which came first, the grission or the winning?
- Pitching Bias In Mets Hall Of Fame -- Matthew Artus argues that the Mets Hall Of Fame needs more pitchers.
- Luddites Not Named Morgan Or Chass -- Joe Budd draws some parallels between baseball analysis and the cooking world.
- The Reyes Rep Roller Coaster -- Jose Reyes has not changed much; perception of him has.
- You Know, The Mets' Offense Isn't Half Bad -- Bill uses one of his terrific infographics to convey a dirty secret.
- Strolling Down Memory Lane, Circa 2001 -- Rob shares memories of Bobby Valentine and the 2001 Mets.
- Why Must Bad Hitters Always Bat Second? -- Because that's baseball.
- On Josh Thole And Twitter Muscles -- An examination of the minor Josh Thole Twitter kerfuffle.
- Praise Carlos Beltran -- Indeed.
- Citi Field Food: A Taste Of The Citi -- Mmmm, shrimp po'boy sandwich.
- Bunting, Bunts, And The Mets Bunters That Bunt Them -- Bunt bunt bunt, all day long; bunt bunt bunt while I sing this song.
- New Yorker Joins Mets' Madoff Fray Via Extensive Fred Wilpon Interview -- Remember this? Good times.
- The Greatest Bat-Flip Ever? -- Starring Mike Piazza.
- What's The Deal With Jason Bay? -- Chris channels Mets fan Jerry Seinfeld in wondering what's up with the Canadian ex-slugger.
- Scouting Report On Mets' First-Round Pick Brandon Nimmo -- Alex starts his review of the Mets' draft with young Nimmo.
- Mets Pave Paradise, Put Up A Soccer Pitch -- Matthew Artus reviews the Ecuador vs Greece soccer match hosted by Citi Field.
- Amazin' Avenue Restaurant Review: Sofrito (Carlos Beltran's Place) -- Try the mussels.
- Comparing The 2008 Version Of Jose Reyes To The 2011 Version -- Bill looks at Reyes' process and results.
- Comparing Mets Hitting Coaches -- HoJo vs. Hudgens, who ya got?
- Jonah Lehrer And Why They Make Menus -- Matt Callan's response to Lehrer's disappointing sabermetrics piece at Grantland.
- Jose Reyes, MVP. I Am Serious, And Don't Call Me Shirley -- Take me back to a time when Reyes was still a Met. 2003, 2006, 2010 -- any season will do.
- Transcript Of Justin Timberlake Trolling Joe Buck On Live Television During The All Star Game -- This was our most tweeted and Facebook like'd post of the year.
- K-Rod: A Tale Of Two GMs -- Is Krod the most Omar Minaya player ever?
- Carlos Beltran Trade Deadline Odds -- Bodog had it right.
- Carlos Beltran: The Times They Are A-Changin' -- Chris says goodbye to our beloved Beltran.
- Mets Living In Post-Trade Deadline World, With Omir Santos' T-Shirt -- One of many volumes to be written about the wondrous garment (even if this post isn't really about the t-shirt).
- Legendary Mets Hitters And Performance Versus Height -- Hardcore science by Eric right here.
- Was Daniel Murphy Out Of Position? -- Analysis with picture evidence.
- Lucas Duda Nickname Poll -- The winner is... (click through to find out).
- Transcript Of Paul DePodesta's Interview On SNY -- If nothing else, the public communication of the front office is appreciated.
- Amazin' Avenue Featured In Mets Magazine -- Cool.
- Crazy Talk: Mike Pelfrey As Closer -- This put to bed one of a series of rumors thrown out there by the New York tabloids this year that were more-or-less ridiculous. Jason Bay playing center field in 2012 and Luis Hernandez winning the second base job out of spring training were other examples.
- The Low Road Less Traveled -- Angel Pagan had some, uh, issues during a game against the Phillies and basically everyone pandered to the first grader in all of us when covering the story.
- Jack McKeon, Troll Manager -- McKeon/Reyes may have provided more fireworks than Ozzie Guillen/Reyes.
- Sun Life Stadium By Any Other Name Still Stunk -- Good riddance.
- The Thing About The Hats -- As in, the September 11th first responder hats controversy.
- The Moneyball Mets: Underappreciated Players On The 2011 Team -- Personal favorite Manny Acosta made the cut.
- Transcript Of Omar Minaya's Interview On SNY -- True story.
- The Greatest Day Of Baseball Ever -- The Mets were not involved.
- The Five Longest Mets Home Runs Of 2011 -- Dingers, dingers, dingers.
- A Compilation Of Hilarious Shane Victorino GIFs -- Bookmarked.
- Baseball And Me -- Eric starts a fun discussion.
- The Dickeys: Amazin' Avenue 2011 Mets Awards, Best Starting Pitcher -- And the Dickey goes to...
- Putting Buckner In Its Place In Mets History -- I wish I was sentient in October 1986.
- David Wright's Spray Chart In New Citi Field -- Hopefully he sprays 25 balls over the Citi Field fence in 2012.
- Jose Reyes, Sandy Alderson, And Joel Sherman Walk Into A Bar... -- Reyes plays "No Hay Amigo" on the jukebox and hits the dance floor; Alderson rips a shot of whiskey and crushes Sherman in an arm wrestling match.
- Dumb Imitates Life -- Speaking of "No Hay Amigo", Kevin Kernan of the New York Post analyzed the lyrics to Reyes' chart-topper and concluded that he was a goner. His prediction was correct I suppose, but the process was outlandish.
- Preparing For Life Without Jose Reyes -- :(
- Amazin' Avenue Restaurant Review: Bobby V's Sports Gallery Cafe -- The man invented the wrap sandwich!
- The 2012 Amazin' Avenue Offseason Plan Contest Winners -- Congrats to Brooklyn Mets Fan, this year's AAOP champion.
- This Week In SNY Year In Review: Let's Check In With Kevin! -- Kevin was the breakout star of TWISNY.
- Transcript Of Sandy Alderson's Conference Call With Bloggers -- I dunno, probably vampires or something.
- Who Can You Blame For Jose Reyes's Departure -- Life isn't fair.
- Project: Ruben Tejada -- .270/.340/.340
- A Bridge Loan Too Far -- It's three days from 2012 and the Wilpons still own the Mets. Barf.
- The One-Way Street Of Steroid Confessions -- I'll go out on a limb and say that PEDs are the most divisive topic within the Amazin' Avenue community.
- A Mets Fan's Christmas List -- #5 and #8 are my favorites.
Check back tomorrow for the top FanPosts of 2011.