When I was little I could scarcely fit on my bed because there were so many stuffed animals perched atop it; I was incapable of picking a single favorite, and subsequently making the others feel unloved. Picking favorite LL pieces has inspired similar feelings, so let's consider these to simply be the ones that have most recently sprung into my mind. We are so lucky to have this site.
Kate Preusser: "Pedagogy of the Depressed"
Kate is a "holy smokes" writer, and this is one of her most "holy smokes" pieces. It's rich, and dense, and she uses her own expertise to approach the influence of a new coaching staff in an utterly unique way. Teaching is a critical piece in my own life (albeit not to the same extent as it has been for Kate), and I love the duality of learning that she crafted with this work.
Jeff Sullivan: "The Mariners as things in or near my apartment"
I love this. I love imagining Jeff sitting at his computer back in 2010, looking around the room and deciding "Why the heck not." He could write for 100 years, win a Pulitzer Prize, become GM of the Mariners and lead them to the World Series, and this will always be what I first associate with him.
Meg Rowley: "Reliving every out from Kuma's no-no"
It was a magnificent game, recapped in a wildly, absurdly, magnificent way. I don't think this is my favorite piece that Meg has written, but it's the one that stands out in my mind because the tone fit the feel of following that game, and because I will never not laugh about the Mariners' offense being distracted by a butterfly.
Hot take: More than any other single person in the post-Jeff LL era, Matt Ellis is Lookout Landing. The recaps are the life blood of this site, and for years now Matt has somehow managed to make the monotony of baseball into must-read work each and every time. This one in particular is one of his best; vignettes of hope and sadness, and frenetic pacing that makes you throw the pedantic notion of cyclical time into the air.
Dishonorable mention goes to this recap which was always meant to be "Wade Miley Made Wiley at Wrigley Field." Matt, you're still not forgiven for this slight.
Colin O'Keefe: "Roenis Elias is making it up as he goes"
Confession: When I went searching for this piece, I had no idea who had written it, but in hindsight I should have realized it was Colin. He was immensely talented at noticing small, interesting bits and building a story out from around them. Integrating quotes, in particular, was a strong suit of his, and he had a knack for finding meaningful but obscure ones. Whenever I read Colin's pieces I always ended up with 5-10 other tabs from those links for additional reading. His Andy McKay piece (still the number 2 result when searching McKay's name) is another great example of this talent, but I'm sticking to this piece about Roenis Elias because Cuba, but also because he kindly links to two of his other great pieces about Elias at the end.
Amanda Lane: "I am woman. Hear me cheer."
If you haven't read this, read it now. Read it, and send it to any and everyone you know. When I asked Mandy if she'd like to write something for our mini-series for Celebrating Women in Baseball Night she instantly acquiesced, and when I read it the next day I was completely blown away. Every so often you read a piece that perfectly distills all your thoughts about a concept into one coherent creation, and this is it for female baseball fans. I'm so grateful for it.
Jeff Sullivan: "First Half in Review: Mariners Go Camping"
I was only recently allowed internet privileges at the time that Jeff wrote this, but stumbled upon it last year while looking through the archives. It's so absurd, and Jeremy Reed's foray into the forest makes me giggle each time I read it.
John Trupin and Isabelle Minasian: "Tom Wilhelmsen Double Agent: An LL ExcLLusive"
Is it a bit self-serving to include a piece that I wrote? Yeah, it is. But the process of creating this piece signaled the beginning of a friendship that I've valued immensely, and is representative of what makes John such an asset to this site. I offhandedly tossed out the idea that Tom was a double agent in Slack one afternoon, and John responded that that'd be a fun piece to read. I agreed, and thought no more of it, but later that day he sent me the link to a Google doc and his ideas for a story layout. He is one of the most enthusiastic people I know, and has a special talent for using that enthusiasm to lift the idle ideas of others and encourage them into being. This piece is a perfect representation of that talent in action.
It also features the best work José Rivera has ever done, and when he dies, 127 years from now, they will lay hundreds of flowers beneath this gif, in its place of prominence in the National Gif Hall of Fame.
Nathan Bishop: "Safeco Field: Playground of the gods"
There's a decent chance that I will never again attend a regular season game this special. Mom and I sat along the first base side, and she was the one who not-so-gently hit me in the arm to draw attention to the lightning. I remember eagerly checking LL the next morning, hoping for something that would do that game justice, and Nathan delivered. The goosebumps that rose after first reading this rise again each time I reread it.