Mariano Rivera, Skip Schumaker and Michael Wacha — Oh My!

What do the just-retired greatest closer of all time, a Cardinal-turned-Dodger-now-turned Red and the Cardinals rookie sensation all have in common? Nothing, it would seem — yet posts we wrote about those three were what you read the most at Aaron Miles’ Fastball in 2013.

12-31 collageAfter looking at our picks for the top five stories of the year yesterday, we close out the year today with a look at the most-read posts. And, as you can already see, it’s certainly not a Cardinals only list — although of course they dominate the list. Just not at the top.

No, our No. 1 post of the year (in terms of readership numbers) is one about the man who is used to ending things instead of starting them, Mariano Rivera. Watching the All-Star Game tribute to Mo on July 16 reminded me of the time my Yankees friend Kat and I went to Busch Stadium in 2005 for the Yankees-Cardinals series. We had the opportunity to see something very few people probably even noticed before that Sunday’s game, which I wrote about in The Tale of Mariano Rivera and The Ball Thrown Out of Busch Stadium. It was a fun, entertaining post — and it ended up in Deadspin (which was a surreal moment, and one I had to capture via screenshot). So lots and lots and lots of people ended up reading about what Mo did that day, and it was by far our most read post of the year.

deadspinNo. 2 on the list of top posts came on Oct. 11, the day the NLCS between the Dodgers and Cardinals kicked off at Busch Stadium. That meant the postseason return of favorite former Cardinal Skip Schumaker, so I had to express my thoughts to him via a Letter to the (Now) Cardinals Enemy. I knew Skip was popular during his days in St. Louis — just didn’t realize quite how much until that day! And, thanks to the power of social media, Skip himself commented on the post via Facebook.

1375776_10202425227621236_1833076220_n Seriously, social media is amazing. And, Skip, it really was a great series!

In fact, it was such a great NLCS that our post on its final game was the third most-read of the year: Good, Better, Best of Another Cardinals Classic Game Six. That was the game in which Clayton Kershaw gave up 10 hits and seven of the nine runs the Cardinals scored, while Michael Wacha continued his masterful October in allowing just two hits and no runs on his way to being named NLCS MVP.

June 18 is now a day of sad significance for Cardinals fans, as Jack Buck passed away that evening in 2002 — just hours after Darryl Kile pitched the final game of his lifetime. A post on that day, 11 Years Ago Tonight for the Cardinals …, was No. 4 on our list of the year’s top posts.

The Cardinals winning the pennant meant that Carlos Beltran at long last would get to play in the World Series after 2,064 regular season and 45 postseason games — and then bruised his ribs in the second inning of Game One. I wrote a Cardinal Love Letter to Carlos before Game Three, the first game at Busch Stadium, and it was the No. 5 most-read post of the year.

There’s no doubt who the Cardinals MVP of late September and October was: Michael Wacha. He followed up his spectacular near no-hitter in his final regular season game by nearly doing it again — only on the much larger stage of the literal win-or-go-home Game Four of the NLDS against the Pirates at PNC Park. Once Wacha did surrender a hit, a home run to Pedro Alvarez, in the eighth inning, Carlos Martinez took over and Trevor Rosenthal closed out the Cards 2-1 win. And Tara’s post on that game, Matheny’s Rookies Living Up To High Billing, was No. 6 for the year.

Ah, yes, the Pirates. They were certainly a story in 2013, and mostly a thorn in the Cardinals’ side throughout the regular and postseason. As we all are so well aware of now, this was also their first winning season since 1992. After being in Pittsburgh for the Cards-Pirates series over Labor Day weekend and talking with so many people, I was compelled to congratulate them on Sept. 10 in To Pirates Fans After Win 82. And it ended up the seventh most-read post of the year.

No. 8 also was Pirates-themed to a degree, and I wrote it on the day of the deciding Game Five of the NLDS, Oct. 9. The day before had been Adron Chambers’ 27th birthday, while the next day Andrew McCutchen turned 27. No doubt they both wanted the same thing, but only one would get it — which I wrote about in Whose Birthday Wish Will Come True?

The Cardinals headed into the NLDS against the Pirates having completed a 6-0 homestand to end the regular season, which I wrote about in That’s a Perfect Home Stand Winner! The victories over the Nationals and Cubs gave the Cards the best record in the majors for 2013, and gave us our ninth most-read post of the year.

Rounding out the Top 10 is a post in which I offered some suggestions on improving the Cardinals television broadcasts: Hey Fox Sports Midwest, Here’s an Idea. While I do miss Cardinals baseball, I can’t say I miss listening to Dan McLaughlin, Al Hrabosky or Ricky Horton. And I do wish they would do a better job during their broadcasts of talking to us like the intelligent fans we are.

And that’s it for 2013! Sincere thanks to all of you for reading Aaron Miles’ Fastball throughout this year — it is so much appreciated. We’re looking forward to 2014 and another great year of watching, and writing about, the St. Louis Cardinals. Happy New Year!



Christine Coleman is the lead writer for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email aaronmilesfastball@gmail.com. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates and like us on Facebook if you don’t already.

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