We finally come to the top bracket of Hot Air’s 50 most-read posts in 2016! Sports and games appear to be the theme today, with three of the top 10 posts discussing athletes, but that’s only part of the theme. We also have the post in which America’s big 2016 game got resolved, chess moves by Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton fumbling on computers and electoral strategy, plus a mysterious benching. Who will come up the winner in this year’s Top 50 playoffs? Here we go …

  • #10: Here’s the Facebook post that got Curt Schilling fired by ESPN (4/21/2016) – Not for the first or last time in 2016, America debated where the line falls for public commentators between personal and public social-media commentary. The MLB great had some strong views on the issue of bathroom access and shared it on his personal Facebook page, and ESPN fired him for it. Highlight of this post: Larry compared me to Ted Nugent. Cat scratch fever …
  • #9: Curt Schilling: ESPN biased against political conservatives (4/28/2016) – Heck, #10 wasn’t even the last time we discussed the Schilling incident. Is ESPN biased against political conservatives? Schilling certainly believes so. Maybe their politicization accounts for some of the reason that Monday Night Football just had its second-worst season ever.
  • #8: Presidential race live blog: FL, NC, PA, NH — AP calls national race for Trump (11/8/2016) – I spent Election Night in DC, handling the live blot on the key Eastern Time Zone states and doing live Facebook commentary from the Townhall offices. It was a lot different than covering the 2012 election, which wrapped up early. This live blog ran to 2:40 am ET and concluded when Hillary conceded the race privately in a call to Trump. We stuck around for more commentary for another hour before packing it up, in considerably higher spirits than when we’d started the evening.
  • #7: Too good to check: Trump ready to invest $20 million to end Cruz’s and Kasich’s careers (7/22/2016) – This seems fanciful in retrospect. Cruz and Trump have reconciled, and Kasich’s not going to run for another office outside of Ohio after this debacle. Trump has better ways of spending his money.
  • #6: Welp… Hillary doesn’t know how to use a computer (5/27/2016) – So Hillary’s best defense turned out to be this testimony of complete incompetence … on behalf of The Most Qualified Candidate Evah. How did that work out, anyway? Oh, yeah …
  • #5: They’re with her: Illegal immigrants go door-to-door on behalf of Hillary (10/25/2016) – In retrospect, this may have been one of the dumber moves by Team Hillary. Even by this time, though, they should have realized that the populist turn in the electorate would not appreciate having their noses rubbed into illegal immigration. They may have helped Hillary in Northern Virginia, but the story certainly didn’t help Hillary in places like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin. This one was an own-goal shot.
  • #4: Andrea Tantaros mysteriously vanishes from Fox News (4/30/2016) – At the time, rumor had it that Tantaros got pulled for being too enthusiastic about Donald Trump, which made no sense at all to anyone who’d watched Fox News’ prime-time shows. Later on, Tantaros became one of the women who publicly accused Roger Ailes of sexual harassment, which cleared up the mystery. She’s still fighting Fox over her allegedly retaliatory firing.
  • #3: Whoa: Hillary e-mail instructs aide to transmit classified data without markings (1/8/2016) – At the time, I called this the “Code Red” moment of the Hillary Clinton e-mail scandal. In a discussion over talking points ahead of a meeting with Sergei Lavrov, Jake Sullivan told Hillary that State was having trouble sending them via secure fax — a transmission method required for classified information. Hillary replied, “If they can’t, turn into nonpaper w no identifying heading and send nonsecure.” For everyone but James Comey, this demonstrated intent to violate the law on the handling of sensitive national-security information. Why not for Comey? That brings us to …
  • #2: Reporter: FBI ordered ‘no photos, no pictures, no cell phones’ during Clinton/Lynch meeting (7/1/2016) – Why were FBI agents so concerned about making sure no one had documentary evidence of Loretta Lynch’s meeting with Bill Clinton as the FBI investigation into Hillary’s e-mail scandal was wrapping up? We never did get an explicit answer to that question, but the meeting itself made headlines anyway.

And the most-read Hot Air post in 2016 was …

#1: Looks like Rio police were the biggest liars in the Lochte drama… if anyone still cares about the truth (8/22/2016) The story of Lochte-gate turned out to be a lot more complex than the media first reported. But some of that was the fault of Ryan Lochte, too, who later admitted as much. A week after this post went up, Lochte told Good Morning America that he’s still unsure whether he was held up or just fined by police for ripping up the poster on the bathroom wall. Let’s just agree that this wasn’t the media’s finest moment in 2016 … but it was far from its worst, too.

Happy New Year, everyone — and let’s get started on 2017’s top 50!

Correction: I originally described Curt Schilling as a Hall of Famer, but as reader Matthew C reminded me, he’s not in Cooperstown yet. My apologies for the error.