It’s the last day of the year, and we thought it would be fun to take a look back at some of our favorite baseball writing of 2016, both here at Amazin’ Avenue and elsewhere. There’s so much good material out there that it’s damn near impossible to remember everything, but there’s plenty of good stuff here to read or re-read as we turn our calendars to 2017 in the middle of a cold and slow offseason. We encourage you to share anything we might have missed on this list in the comments.
- In what was easily one of the best things to ever appear on this website, our own David Capobianco used his PlayStation to create an entire league of Bartolo Colons. It’s tough to do it any justice with a summary, but whether you’ve already seen it or not, it’s worth your time now. And in real life, Colon hit the first home run of his major league career.
- Matthew Callan treated us to a look back at the Mets’ victory in Game 163 of the 1999 season.
- Later in the year, David also highlighted Wilmer Flores’s sheer dominance against left-handed pitching.
- Our list of the Mets’ top prospects for 2016 went up in January, and nearly a year out, it’s held up well. If prospects are your thing, our list of the team’s top twenty-five for 2017 went up in mid-December.
- Speaking of prospects, Greg Karam wrote a good primer on Robert Gsellman when he was called up. Greg also wasn’t too pleased when the Mets released Ruben Tejada.
- Kate Feldman wrote about baseball’s changes in its policy on hazing, particularly the practice of veterans making rookies dress in women’s clothing. Kate also touched upon the loyalty of the players who returned to the 2016 Mets and expectations heading into the season.
- Steve Schreiber imagined a scenario in which he ruined Jeff Wilpon’s day. If you missed all of 2016, you might not have known that Steve was not a big fan of James Loney and strongly preferred Lucas Duda. Like Keith Hernandez, Steve also wondered why Loney very rarely stretched at first base.
- Jonathan Maseng took a very thorough look at Mets references in music, a list that’s well worth revisiting now and in the future.
- Timothy Finnegan took a deep dive into Noah Syndergaard’s absurd 95-mile-per-hour slider back when it first surfaced. Timothy also delved into perceived velocity, one of many features of Statcast.
- Austin Yamada took a look at whether or not Lucas Duda is objectively streaky, which is something people talked about quite a bit before his back injury.
- The Mets’ offense should be fine, I said. For a few weeks immediately after that, it looked incredible, and then things went a little haywire. I also wasn’t too happy about a Jim Henderson appearance coming off a stressful outing in April. I also asked for more Mr. Met commercials in the spirit of the ones the Mets ran a decade ago.
- In one of several pieces about Mets injuries, Ketul Shah took a look at what a herniated disc meant for David Wright in June. Here’s hoping the captain is back in action in 2017.
- Chris Gaine called upon the Mets to retire Mike Piazza’s number. They obliged. Nathan Gismot took a look back at Piazza’s excellence as a Met.
- Marc Carig wrote up Wilmer Flores’s love of Friends with a great backstory of Flores’s life growing up in Venezuela and experience with American culture as he started playing professional baseball.
- Sam Miller wrote an out-by-out breakdown—which must have been a painstaking read if you were an Orioles fan—of all the times that Buck Showalter could have used Zach Britton in the Wild Card game that Baltimore lost. He wrote a good piece comparing Paul Goldschmidt and Albert Pujols just before the 2016 season began, too.
- The Hartford Yard Goats started a trend of more-ridiculous-than-usual minor league team names, and plenty of teams have renamed themselves in a similar fashion since then. If you own a minor league team and can’t think of a name for it, use Grant Brisbee’s generator. Grant also wrote up the very emotional Dee Gordon home run, which he hit against the Mets in the first game the Marlins played following the tragic death of Jose Fernandez.
- Jay Jaffe’s excellent Hall of Fame work included plenty about Mike Piazza, who finally made the Hall.
- Jon Bois made a video all about former Mets outfielder Jeff Francoeur.
- David Roth wrote about the most George Lucas/Star Wars-sounding names among real major league players.
- SI took a look at a one-and-done independent league team from 1986.
- The Times wrote a lengthy feature on a former minor league baseball player who became a hit man for the mob.
- ESPN’s profile of Theo Epstein is worth your time.
- Brin-Jonathan Butler’s piece on Cuban baseball caught our attention.
- There’s simply no other way to end a list looking back at baseball writing in 2016 other than this: Vin Scully’s final broadcast. He might not have technically been a writer, but the things he said over the course of his decades-long career in the broadcast booth were as good as anything anyone was writing.