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The top ten HBT posts of 2011

Dec 21, 2011, 11:31 AM EDT

Alex Rodriguez and Cameron Diaz Reuters

Gleeman and I spend a lot of time chatting during the day, and one of the few recurring topics of conversation that doesn’t involve Coen Brothers movies is the correlation between meaningful stories and stories that get a lot of traffic.

While we don’t set out to write about things that will make people click like crazy — we’re not compensated based on that, just so you know — over the past couple of years we’ve gotten pretty good at predicting what will play big and what won’t.

Sex obviously sells. Death, violence and absurd or obnoxious human behavior too.  We’re a baseball blog so we can’t go all TMZ on you, but boy do you all seem to like it when baseball and sensationalism come together. Which is fine. We cover it all, so we’d write about that stuff and the straight baseball stuff anyway.  It’s just interesting to see what plays.

And here’s what played in 2011.  At least in terms of page views.  No judgments here. And RIP Hideki Irabu:

Surprisingly falling short of the top ten: Miguel Caberea’s crazy DUI arrest, the actual deaths — as opposed to near-deaths — of fans in Texas and Colorado and the fact that not a single one of my “Best Shape of His Life” stories made the cut.  Shocking, really.

Well, there’s always next year!

  1. Bill - Dec 21, 2011 at 11:35 AM

    I’d like to see a parallel post on what the HBT staff thinks the “best” posts of 2011 were…

  2. randall351 - Dec 21, 2011 at 11:39 AM

    How about posts with the least number of page views?

    • wildinkc - Dec 21, 2011 at 11:50 AM


    • Matthew Pouliot - Dec 21, 2011 at 3:06 PM

      I’m not sure how we’d go about finding that out. But in general, I’d say more of the lowest of the lows come from the early evening and tend to be injury updates or minor transactions.

  3. gammagammahey - Dec 21, 2011 at 11:40 AM

    I’d like to know what were the posts with the fewest views, from in-season only, excepting the All-Star Break.

    • Detroit Michael - Dec 21, 2011 at 11:50 AM

      The least-viewed posts probably are those posted in the evenings or weekends, not during business hours. Obviously, that’s just a partial answer to your question.

  4. Chris Fiorentino - Dec 21, 2011 at 11:41 AM

    Craig, doesn’t a lot of this have to do with what stories NBC picks to put on their “NBC Sports Headlines” section on the right? I mean, I almost NEVER go to CFT or PHT, but when I catch a headline over there that looks interesting, I’ll click on it. But I won’t go through the whole site just because I clicked that one post…unlike HBT where I’ll usually just page through each article one at a time, which I assume gives each article a “page view” right?

    • Matthew Pouliot - Dec 21, 2011 at 2:56 PM

      Even more than NBC Sports, it’s what MSNBC picks up and put on their main page. I believe all of these were featured on at some point.

  5. bigxrob - Dec 21, 2011 at 12:01 PM

    Not a single Phillies post made the top ten. I’m giving you an “F” for trolling in 2011 Craig, try a little harder in 2012.

    • Utley's Hair - Dec 21, 2011 at 1:38 PM

      That’s just Craig’s way of baiting us.

  6. goawaydog - Dec 21, 2011 at 12:02 PM

    where did the Ketchup story rank? and if you did a story on pie vs cake that probably would have been #1 by a land slide.

  7. stex52 - Dec 21, 2011 at 12:10 PM

    And while we are at it, Craig, just what was “Barton Fink” really about? Never was sure.

    Oh, and I think the Coens were just jerking us all around with “The Big Lebowski”. Talk about directorial excess.

    But I will say for a couple of Jewish boys from Minnesota, they sure can capture the small town Texas culture (See Blood Simple; No Country for Old Men)

    “How’re those boots working for you?” had me rolling in the aisle.

    • JBerardi - Dec 21, 2011 at 1:32 PM

      Barton Fink is about the life of the mind, of course. And Lebowski? I’m not even qualified to break down how awesome Lebowski is. Here:


      Let’s start with Lebowski’s brilliance as a detective story. Lebowski presents us with a Big Sleep-style mystery: What Happened To The Kidnapped Heiress? But the kidnapping plot, we eventually find, is a gigantic red herring. The real mystery in The Big Lebowski is Where’s The Money? This is not anidle plot-point, it is a key subtext to understanding the importance of the movie. The kidnapped girl is a worthless idiot of importance to no one, but the money, ah, the money, as Mose in Hudsucker would say, “drives that ol’ global economy and keeps big Daddy Earth a-spinnin’ on ‘roun’.” The Big Lebowski is a social critique disguised as a mystery disguised as a stoner comedy.

      The key to understanding the social dynamics of The Big Lebowski is to always follow the money. So where is “the money” in The Big Lebowski? (“Where’s the money, Lebowski?” is, in fact, the movie’s first line of dialogue.) The Dude doesn’t have it — he lives in a crappy Venice bungalow and is late on his rent. His friend Walter has his own business, but doesn’t have any appreciable amount of it. Jeffrey Lebowski, despite appearances, doesn’t have it, and his wife Bunny obviously doesn’t have it. The Nihilists don’t have it and neither does Larry Sellers, even though Walter is positive he has it.

      The joke is, of course, that no one has it — “the money” belonged to the first Mrs. Lebowski, who is long dead. We don’t know how Mrs. Lebowski got her money — “Capital,” the source of “the money” in The Big Lebowski, is nebulous and taken for granted. “The Money” is like “The Gold” in Eric Von Stroheim’s Greed — it’s not something to be earned, it’s almost a natural resource, something that’s just sitting around waiting for someone to figure out how to get it.

      Who has any money in The Big Lebowski? Maud Lebowski, Jeffrey’s daughter, the aggressively “feminist” artist, has some money, but even that is not hers, it’s her mother’s. She hasn’t earned it and seems to be frittering it away on ugly art and an inane lifestyle (the other artist presented in Lebowski is The Dude’s landlord, with his stupefying Greek Modern Dance routine — art doesn’t seem to count for much in the Lebowski universe). The only other wealthy personage in Lebowski is Jackie Treehorn, the pornographer. So: in the world of The Big Lebowski, “Money” is represented by an embezzler, an heir and a pornographer — as harsh a critique of American capitalism as I’ve ever heard.

      • stex52 - Dec 21, 2011 at 1:44 PM

        So “Barton Fink” is the life of a mind as it is slowly lost?

        As to “Big Lebowski”, more of my complaint is with the execution and editing. It has some irresistable sub-texts, but in the end too many of the jokes are drawn out to an excruciating degree. It struck me as lazy directing/editing, or maybe just a little contempt for the audience.

        Thanks for the thoughts.

    • jwbiii - Dec 21, 2011 at 3:00 PM

      stex52, If you have questions about “The Big Lebowski,” you might want to try this blog:
      Alex Belth, a contributor there, was a script rewrite guy for Lebowski.

      • stex52 - Dec 21, 2011 at 3:49 PM

        Thanks, I will.

      • stex52 - Dec 21, 2011 at 3:59 PM

        Wow, doesn’t pay to insult that movie around this blog. I just want you guys to know I am generally a big Coen brothers fan.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Dec 22, 2011 at 1:54 PM

        When you f#ck with the Big Lebowski, you’re f#cking Jesus, stex.

  8. fmlizard - Dec 21, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    Wow, of the top 10 only 3 of them really had much to do with actual, every day baseball: LaRussa, the Power Rankings one, and the Game 6 one.

    Guess that shows people really just want the TMZ of baseball from their content…

    • - Dec 21, 2011 at 12:40 PM

      Yes, and no. I have to assume if you’re reading HBT on a regular basis that Baseball is your primary/favorite form of entertainment. Like all entertainment there is lots of ansillary inside joke stuff that makes it more entertaining.

      There’s only so much discussion you can do about baseball strategy. (at least for me anyway) But if you can throw some off the field context in there in just makes it more entertaining.

  9. phillyphreak - Dec 21, 2011 at 12:29 PM

    I was sure that I was going to see some Howard/RBI post on this list……

  10. leftywildcat - Dec 21, 2011 at 12:38 PM

    I find it very hard to believe that none of the “Blown call — make umps review the tapes” posts made the list.

    Also, it’s is amazing that none of the “DH vs. non-DH” discussions were in the top 10.

    • bravojawja - Dec 21, 2011 at 2:16 PM

      Perhaps they split the vote?

  11. stackers1 - Dec 21, 2011 at 12:42 PM

    Fargo is my favorite Coen Bros. flick.

    “I’m not gonna debate you Jerry”

  12. mrfloydpink - Dec 21, 2011 at 12:44 PM

    Final score: Calcaterra 5, Gleeman 3, Pouliot 1, Silva 1, Short 0.

    I believe that means that Craig gets the Cadillac, Aaron gets the steak knives, and everyone else is out of a job.

  13. yankeesfanlen - Dec 21, 2011 at 12:52 PM

    Leave ARod Alone!

    • Utley's Hair - Dec 21, 2011 at 1:41 PM

      But that would drive the traffic to a New York (or Schuylkill Xway) crawl.

  14. yankeesgameday - Dec 21, 2011 at 1:40 PM

    How about a post listing the top ten HBT readers who received the most thumbs up and thumbs down votes in the past year?

    • umrguy42 - Dec 21, 2011 at 4:25 PM

      Well, obviously ‘cepts would win the latter hands down. Maybe the 10 that *weren’t* him?

  15. Luke Scott - Dec 21, 2011 at 2:14 PM

    I refuse to believe that I didn’t make any of the Top 10 posts of the year. Prove it, Calcaterra!!!!!!!

    • Ari Collins - Dec 22, 2011 at 10:25 AM

      Well done!

  16. pjmarn6 - Dec 21, 2011 at 6:32 PM

    How about the billions wasted on over blown ridiculous salaries and the billions that the gms and owners made knowing the players were juiced.

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