Just hours remain in 2020 — and thank heavens for that! — and so, as I did last year, I wanted to have a look at the articles that got the most attention here at BCB during the calendar year.
One thing will be different with this list. For five straight years, 2015-19, the most-read article at BCB for each year was the Cubs daily TV schedule. With games on several different channels through 2019, people would consult that post here often. With all games (save national TV games on Fox or ESPN) now on Marquee Sports Network, that’s no longer the case.
Instead, this year’s list has quite a few articles on the guys non-tendered, as well as several articles about Marquee.
As I did a year ago, I’ll count these down from No. 10 (fewest) to No. 1 (most). Page view numbers are as of just before posting time, December 31.
Honorable mention) December 29: The Cubs GM role remains vacant. The Yu Darvish deal might explain why, 18,126 page views, and December 27: See Yu later: Yu Darvish has been traded to the Padres, 17,728 page views
These articles nearly made it into the Top 10 after just a couple of days on the site since they were posted Monday evening and Wednesday morning.
10) April 12: Former Cubs second baseman Glenn Beckert has died, 19,893 page views
Beckert was one of the more popular late 1960s Cubs. He passed away in April, aged 79.
9) December 2: Cubs non-tender Kyle Schwarber, Albert Almora Jr. and Jose Martinez, 19,941 page views
This is no surprise; the departure of two popular World Series Cubs was certain to grab a lot of attention. It won’t be the last time you’ll see Schwarber’s or Almora’s name in this list.
8) February 24: Let’s clear up some misconceptions about the Marquee Network, 20,456 page views
This article, which was posted just after Marquee’s debut on the air, was aimed at explaining exactly what having games on this new channel meant to viewers both inside and outside the Cubs market territory, along with other details about what the new channel would do.
Incidentally, I was asked not long after this by Marquee folks to make sure I referred to it by its full title, “Marquee Sports Network,” and subsequently I did that or used “Marquee” for shorthand.
7) January 17: Marquee Network booed at Cubs Convention, 20,835 page views
This almost seems quaint. Remember when thousands of people could gather at a convention? That was less than a year ago.
6) November 16: Here’s a Kris Bryant trade idea. It would bring two good prospects to the Cubs, 21,321 page views
Another quaint idea, even though this is from only six weeks ago. Remember when we thought the Cubs might deal Bryant and re-tool for 2021? (A Bryant deal still could happen, I suppose, but probably not this exact trade.)
5) February 12: Ben Zobrist won’t play in 2020, 24,239 page views
This is the second straight year a story about Zobrist made the Top 10. On March 6, he told reporters he was officially retired:
Ben Zobrist told us in a small group of reporters that he is of course retired and enjoying raising his kids. He said he would like to keep the door open with the Cubs to work in some capacity down the line.— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) March 6, 2020
4) September 1: In appreciation of Albert Almora Jr., 24,485 page views
I wrote this the day Almora was sent to the team’s alternate site in South Bend, figuring he might not be back and would likely be non-tendered, which is exactly what happened. I wish nothing but the best to Almora going forward.
3) November 12: Cubs non-tender candidate: Kyle Schwarber, 25,494 page views
I don’t think most people had much doubt this was going to happen, and three weeks later, it did.
2) August 16: Hey Marquee Sports Network: NOW will you get Mark Grace out of the booth?, 26,842 page views
This was written after Grace’s second gaffe-filled appearance with Len and JD — I won’t belabor it, if you want the details click on the link.
I will say that I fervently hope that Grace is not in the Cubs TV booth at all going forward. Ever.
1) September 3: Pirates 6, Cubs 2: Ian Happ’s foul ball hits him in the face in a dull loss, 45,709 page views
This... this is a mystery. Yes, the Ian Happ incident was significant, but how it got to be the most-read BCB story of 2020 is beyond me. You know, sort of like most of 2020 is beyond most of our understanding.
I do know this:
Ian Happ, pre-foul ball hit: .311/.421/.648 (38-for-122), 10 home runs in 37 games
Ian Happ, post-foul ball hit: .171/.259/.276 (13-for-76), 2 home runs in 20 games
Happ missed one game and didn’t go into concussion protocol, but he was being talked up as a possible MVP candidate before this happened; after, he was pretty bad. Both are fairly small sample sizes, but...
Hopefully, he’s healthy and ready to go whenever the 2021 season gets under way.
Thanks for reading all year!