By Andy Gray
December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas. I hope you're checking this out from your brand new computer or tablet (and not stuck at work). Since it's a holiday and the year is nearly over, I thought I'd take this opportunity to look back at 10 random things I really enjoyed about 2014. Enjoy!

Seinfeld Night in Coney Island

Theme nights were a big part of minor league baseball this year and none was better executed than Seinfeld Night with the Brooklyn Cyclones. Players wore puffy shirts, fans took home a Keith Hernandez Magic Loogie Bobblehead and The Soup Nazi threw out the first pitch. I am so mad I didn't go.


J.J. Watt Makes Fun of His Commercial

I don't blame J.J. Watt for trying to make a little cash on the side by filming a Verizon commercial. The ad was pretty funny at first -- a middle school dance, a shy mom named Amy, Watt turning on the charm -- but sometime around the 10,000th viewing I got sick of it. Yet it wouldn't go away. Every station, every day, every second, there it was. Watt, however, had a good sense of humor about it and all was right with the world.


Doug McDermott SI Throwback Cover

Over the past couple years, SI has chosen one cover to go retro with. In 2013, it was a classic shot of the 1968 St. Louis Cardinals in their locker room. This year, the magazine paid tribute to the famous shot of Larry Bird and the Indiana State cheerleaders, with the part of Bird being played by Creighton's Doug McDermott. And since you asked, I'm pushing hard for this to happen in 2015 (but with every sport, not just baseball).

Lance Stephenson Memes

Memes were everywhere in 2014 -- whether it was 'Things Tim Howard Could Save' or Odell Beckham Jr. catching everything in sight. But my favorite meme comes courtesy of Lance Stephenson and his bizarre decision to blow into LeBron James' ear during Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals. I don't know what he was thinking or trying to achieve but it was thoroughly enjoyable. As expected, the internet had a field day with the Pacers forward.

Rise of Samantha Hoopes

I wasn't sure what to make of this year's enormous class of SI Swimsuit Rookies when they all came into the office for launch week in February. I'd heard of Sara Sampaio, Chanel Iman and Gigi Hadid. I'd seen a lot of Emily Ratajkowski (as has everyone who's seen the Blurred Lines video). The girl I was most impressed with, however, was Samantha Hoopes. She's not just incredibly good-looking but also super friendly and someone I probably would've been friends with in high school. Her popularity grew throughout the year and culminated with her being named No. 18 on Maxim's Hot 100 List of 2014. Also, see that tool talking to her in the photo on the right. That's me!


Josh Redick Loves Wham!

The music a baseball player chooses to play as he walks to the batter's box says a lot about his personality. Derek Jeter prefers Drake, Shane Victorino is a Bob Marley guy while Prince Fielder opts for Mozart. The best walk-up music moment occurred in May when A's outfielder Josh Reddick strolled to the plate with Wham's Careless Whisper playing in the background. Reddick went 2-for-3 that day, 2-for-5 the next and a tradition was born. 

Mean Tweets: NFL Edition

Jimmy Kimmel's Mean Tweets is the funniest segment on late-night TV, so when he got a bunch of NFL players to take part in the act, it was comedy gold. Among the players roasted were Dez Bryant, Vernon DavisDeSean Jackson, Brandon Marshall, Clay Matthews and Terrell Suggs. My favorite is Michael Strahan wondering whether his "teeth are having a middle school dance, where the boys stand on one side of the room and the girls stand on the other."

Charlie Kelly as a Genius

My bosses probably aren't reading this right now so I'll slip in something non-sports. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is my favorite sitcom and 'Flowers for Charlie' was the season's best episode. The episode, written by Game of Thrones creators D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, is based around the question of whether someone can get smarter by taking a pill. Charlie is the Guinea pig and it was the funniest thing I saw all year. Unfortunately, I can't show anything from the episode due to copyright whatever but here's Charlie Day on Conan making fun of his Philadelphia Style photo shoot.

Marlins Crazy Dancer

The Jumbotron is an endless source of fun for fans attending games and nobody stepped up their Jumbotron game quite like this pint-sized Marlins fan named Jonathan. Even Time Magazine felt compelled to cover it. I love everything about this little guy. The Marlins may have had a lackluster season (77-85) but Jonathan made Miami a winner.

Brian Scalabrine Comes Home

The sports world spent much of the summer trying to determine LeBron James' next move. The speculation ended in July when James wrote a first-person essay for SI titled "I'm Coming Home" explaining his decision to play for the Cavs. Meanwhile, retired NBA player and former Warriors assistant coach Brian "The White Mamba" Scalabrine made an important career choice. He was going to join the Boston Celtics broadcast team. And instead of just sending out a press release, Scalabrine paid tribute to James with his own "I'm Coming Home" essay. So what if Scalabrine is actually from Enumclaw, Wash.? It was still funny.

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