With 2014 drawing to a close, I figured that now would be a good time to look back at the biggest news stories of the season as told by the ever-helpful Google Analytics. Having a story reach as many eyes as possible is a bit of a science, and some things that you think aren't overly important will blow up the traffic numbers in favor of a post you think will do amazingly well falling flat. That's the life of blogging. That being said, here are a few of the things that brought the most people to Pinstripe Alley in 2014.
1. Yangervis Solarte makes Opening Day roster over Eduardo Nunez
There was much rejoicing when Eduardo Scissorhands Nunez was passed over in favor of the career minor leaguer who set the world on fire in spring training. The Yankees waited until the last minute to make a decision, even telling Solarte and Nunez to prepare to miss the team's flight from Tampa to Houston if necessary. Good prevailed over strange obsession in the end. Even though Solarte's stay in pinstripes was fairly short, we'll always have the magic of April and that day that he sent Nunez packing.
2. Six teams attempted to trade for Brett Gardner
January of 2014 began with a big rumor that half a dozen teams were interested in acquiring Brett Gardner from the Yankees. The team had recently signed Jacoby Ellsbury to man center field in the Bronx for the next several years which caused some to think that the impending free agent Gardner might have lost his spot on the team. Thankfully, the Yankees did not feel like starting the season with Ichiro Suzuki locked into a starting spot, and even went on to reward Gardner with a nice contract extension before the season began. People are still trying to come up with reasons why the Yankees should trade Gardner as we speak, but it seems like the speedy outfielder will be hanging around for a while.
3. Is Jose Pirela a legitimate option at second base?
We were all dealing with the fact that our sweet-swinging, bubble-blowing, All-Star second baseman decided to take his talents to rainy Seattle around this time last year. The options the team brought in to replace Robinson Cano were, uh, bad, so Jason looked to minor leaguer Jose Pirela for help. The team ended up going with Brian Roberts and then Stephen Drew over the unproven rookie, but Pirela did get to see some big league time at the end of the season. Heading into 2015, it looks as though Pirela and Rob Refsnyder will battle it out in spring training to see which is more deserving of the spot formerly occupied by the great Roberts himself. Tough shoes to fill, kids.
4. Masahiro Tanaka's decision comes down to Yankees or Cubs
Tanaka fever swept through the Yankee world last offseason, heating up quite a bit when rumors began to fly that his team may not post him at all after being unsatisfied with the way the new posting system was designed. Despite all that, yours truly scrambled to write a post announcing that Tanaka would be posted just prior to sitting down for Christmas Eve dinner, kicking off weeks of anticipation on whether or not the Yankees would land the latest Japanese phenom. Late January brought us news that Tanaka had reportedly narrowed his decision down to two teams: the Yankees and the Cubs. Ultimately, Tanaka chose The Big Apple over The Windy City and now he and that incredibly impressive splitter of his are ours. Here's to your UCL, Tanak.
5. Signing Max Scherzer makes more sense by the day
Hey Yankees, this should still be a thing. Andrew advocates for signing Scherzer to make the Yankees' rotation for next season less terrifying and he's absolutely right to do so. This team needs pitching and signing Scherzer would allow them to 1. keep valuable prospects like Aaron Judge and Luis Severino, and 2. put Chris Capuano in the bullpen or the unemployment line. Whichever is easier works for me. Get it done, Cash. Get it done.
I asked the editors which posts stood out to them as the best ones this year. Here's what we came up with after digging through the archives:
Tanya: Allow me to introduce myself
This questionnaire from Opening Day kicked off the season with sharing random facts about each other and calling the lurkers out of hiding. We spend quite a bit of time here together over a 162-game season and beyond, so it's nice to be able to put some facts with usernames. You never know who you'll find something in common with that you can bond over around here. Community building and stuff! Some of the fun facts shared here were pretty incredible.
Andrew: Rain Delay Theater
This rain delay was RIDICULOUS, you guys. The grumpy guy on the tractor, Brett Gardner recreating the Taken monologue/ordering a pizza, telestrator smiles, tarp guy paying the ultimate price by getting eaten... it was all so perfect. Andrew also managed to capture it perfectly in this GIF post. Thankfully the memory of it will get to live on forever.
Jason: Fire Rob Thomson
Thomson has basically one job and he's really, really bad at it. So bad at it, in fact, that Jason was forced to write an entire post dedicated to the fact that Rob Thomson is really bad at his job. This guy wasn't fired! Coaches were fired and Thomson gets to just keep on keeping on as the third base coach for next season. Unreal. I just don't know sometimes.
Caitlin: Report cards for everyone
We closed out the 2014 season by giving out grades to the various Yankees and Yankee prospects. This was a pretty long and tedious process for the staff but we made it! Caitlin thought it was cool and we hope you did too.
This is the saddest recap of 2014 (and maybe ever) but NoMahbles brought the perfect picture to the party with the first comment. Well done, sir. There are also a ton of nice GIFs that helped us cope with the pain of Tanaka being hurt on top of a really terrible game.
Derek Jeter caused us to all feel some emotions when he hit a walk-off single in his last at-bat in Yankee Stadium. It was pretty dusty in my living room that night and it seems like many people were feeling the same. Thanks for another great memory to add to all the great memories that came before it, Cap.
Like I said before, I really enjoy posts that allow us all to get to know each other better and Andrew's post asking about everyone's fan origin stories did just that. Whether you've been on the Yankees wagon since birth or are a very wise recent convert, we're glad that you decide to hang out with us.
What were your most memorable Pinstripe Alley threads of 2014? Share them with us in the comments below. Here's to another great year!