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BenFred's most memorable stories from 2020: Stars Park, Isaac Bruce, and a father's fight against ALS

BenFred's most memorable stories from 2020: Stars Park, Isaac Bruce, and a father's fight against ALS

A few spring trainings ago, back when Mike Matheny was still the Cardinals manager and Kolten Wong was still the Cardinals second baseman, but not one who was cemented as an every-day starter, a discussion about a quote the Cardinals did not like turned into a conversation about journalism.

The Cardinals were talking about potentially platooning Wong, and when I talked to Wong about that, he suggested he would rather be traded than be used as a part-time player.

Wong didn't like the word platoon. The Cardinals didn't like Wong mentioning the word trade. Neither Wong nor the Cardinals liked that the building frustration between the two sides was now news, which, of course, it was.

Why, Matheny wanted to know, was I always focused on the negative?

I asked Matheny if he read the column in which I complimented him for bringing Chris Carpenter and other veterans back around the team during spring training, or any of the other upbeat topics that had been covered in the previous days.

No, he said, he had not.

Matheny is now managing the Royals. Wong proved he's an every-day starter, but now he's a free agent searching for a new team. A valuable lesson stuck around, at least for me.

When you only pay attention to the negative, it can become all that you see.

It can happen to managers and coaches and players.

It happens to writers.

Lord knows it can happen to me.

How many times have I prioritized answering a snarky tweet from someone over a thoughtful email from someone else?

More times than I would like to admit.

I'm trying to be better about that, in part because a little positivity goes a long way during these pandemic times.

With that in mind, here are my favorite columns from the calendar year 2020.

Each one jumped out to me as something positive I got the chance to cover during a challenging year for all of us.

Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year.

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