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Our 10 best posts of 2018

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It was a rough year on the field, but a solid year on the blog.

San Francisco Giants v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

This site experienced a massive transition in 2018. Grant Brisbee was lost to success and in his place, I rose from a lowly troll poster to managing editor. But McCovey Chronicles endured because of its community and because of the much, much better writers brought on board to carry the torch. For example, it was Carmen Kiew who recommended we put together a “best of” post for the end of the year. Great idea, Carmen!

These will be my own selections with my commentary. Generally, I aimed to pick at least one from every month of the season (April-September). If you think I missed one, let me know in the comments.

10. “35 years ago, the Giants scrapped a controversial coloring book giveaway” / “In the room with Giants hitters” (tie)

by Bryan Murphy

These were the only two posts I wrote all year that felt good from conception to execution. The coloring book article is part of the “Orange & Past” joke post series I started but have struggled to continue mainly because of all the legitimate fake news in the world. The premise is right there in the headline. The hitters meeting post was just a way to vent my feelings about a frustrating game from the night before. What exactly was the Giants’ plan against the curveballing Zack Godley? You won’t see me picking my own stuff for the rest of this list. Just wanted to spotlight these two one last time.

9. Dereck Rodriguez: More than just Pudge’s son

by Carmen Kiew

That’s right. We had an interview with the team’s standout player who basically came out of nowhere before he came out of nowhere. Carmen asked all the right questions, including how he’d feel once he received a major league call-up:

“I don’t know how I’m going to feel when I get up there, if I get up there. I think the first thing is I’ll probably start crying.

I do like when we get scoops, but I like it even more when they’re covered well, and Carmen did a fantastic job here, just as she did all season long. It’s not just her access that’s made her indispensable, but also her spirit. Her love of the game and interest in people makes it hard to ignore her charm.

Honorable mentions: All of Carmen’s ballpark tour videos.

8. “Andrew McCutchen’s home run was exquisite, so let’s keep talking about it”

by Grant Brisbee

I broke down Pablo Sandoval’s scoreless inning, Kevin Cunningham dove into Brandon Belt’s record-setting at bat, and we all bathed in Chase d’Arnaud’s relief appearance, but nobody did a breakdown quite like Grant did. It was Andrew McCutchen walking off the Dodgers and this post came straight from the heart. I never asked him to write it up, he just needed to put it out there:

It was the 12 pitches. It was all of those other things, too, but it was the ugly-beautiful at-bat, in which he was committed to grinding Wilmer Font into a medicinal powder, with foul ball after foul ball. It was the mounting anticipation and buzz in the stands. If it doesn’t finish the season as my favorite at-bat of the year, this will have been one heckuva season.

7. “Hunter Pence: Good Giant and good dude”

by Sami Higgins

Our McDeep Dive series didn’t cover every player, but it did cover fun and important players who won’t be on the 2019 team, chief among them being Hunter Pence. Sami’s piece covers a lot of his social media presence and gives perhaps the best example of one of our McDeep Dive pieces, bringing together all the relevant #content while providing insightful commentary that matters to Giants fans.

Sami has always been able to identify what fans love about particular players and she always manages to infuse her posts with strong fan appeal. A strong contrast to my lowly troll poster station.

Honorable mentions: Sami’s write-ups on Derek Holland’s apology and Hunter Strickland’s fight with a door.

6. “Brandon Crawford just had the best month of his career”

by Kenny Kelly

Kenny came aboard as the site’s new Staff Writer to do recaps and series previews and, time permitting, informational articles just like this one. This incorporates all the statistical background, seasonal context, and smart commentary I could have ever asked for from the position, and it was so good that soon after, Kenny was reassigned from series preview duties to write more stuff just like this.

5. “Who would win a home run derby between Madison Bumgarner and Brandon Belt?”

by Brady Klopfer

What I love about Brady’s contributions are their energy, creativity, and conciseness. He’s able to come up with a punchy idea and execute it cleanly and while this particular article doesn’t show him taking a serious subject and doing what he does best, it’s the best example of his work and one of our best from the year because it creates a fantastical situation but still follows the same basic form of analysis and commentary as a “realistic” one would, and I really appreciated it.

4. “Giants set a San Francisco era record with 11th straight loss”

by Kenny Kelly

We did several Facebook Watch-angled recaps this season, and as much as I loved Doug’s first one, Kenny’s wound up “plussing” the idea, using the Giants’ record-setting badness motivate him to seek out game-describing Facebook comments to do his the dirty work of composing the recap. He does a brilliant job conveying all the agony of Facebook and the Giants in a single post.

3. “Requiem for the John Barr era”

by Roger Munter

We did more than one requiem this year and that’s because the Giants really have stagnated in the later part of this decade. It would’ve been very easy to dump on Barr’s contributions to the franchise given its present state, but Roger’s extensive knowledge of the system made him the perfect person to write about everything that went on behind the scenes. This post spoke to me not just because of how it laid out just what John Barr meant to the Giants this century, but also why Roger has been an integral part of this site. He has always been a generous, thoughtful contributor and collaborator and I’m glad we have him.

2. “Bullpen trust ratings”

by Doug Bruzzone

These are always my favorite posts to read. They’re a breath of fresh air and while I’m sure Doug agonizes over them, he always knocks them out of the park. This particular post just stood out because of its Hunter Strickland rating, but please consider this recognition to be the bestowal of a Sitetime Achievement Award to Doug for everything he’s provided the site over the years. Not just the quality writing or his general sense of mirth, or even his counterpoints on the McCovey Chroncast, but also — and mainly — his general Dougness.

He’s the perfect sarcastic Giants fan the organization and this site needs.

Honorable mention: “The best Dodger moments from the 2018 World Series”

1. “The loss of Willie McCovey is incalculable”

by Grant Brisbee

Nobody else was going to be able write about the death of Willie McCovey. It had to be Grant. He didn’t disappoint:

That’s when McCovey put his head down and kicked some ass. Then he kept his head down and kicked more ass. When his arthritic knees made it painful for him to keep kicking ass, he winced in pain and kept kicking more ass anyway.

Willie McCovey loved the Giants, he loved the fans and city of San Francisco, and he was the city’s perfect baseball ambassador. He’s a perfect example for our site to follow, and Grant captured this perfectly.

Thank you for reading in 2018.