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Bradford Doolittle 

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03-28

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8

Prospectus Preview: These Questions Three: The Maybe-Next-Years
by
Bradford Doolittle and Harry Pavlidis

02-15

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3

Arbitration Showdown: Mock Hearing: Sergio Romo
by
Nick J. Faleris, Bradford Doolittle and Ben Lindbergh

02-08

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2

Arbitration Showdown: Mock Hearing: Jim Johnson
by
Bradford Doolittle, Nick J. Faleris and Ben Lindbergh

01-21

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10

Inside The Park: The Man of Missouri
by
Bradford Doolittle

10-31

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4

Inside The Park: What Rick Hahn's Ascension Means for the White Sox
by
Bradford Doolittle

07-20

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21

Inside The Park: Ozzie Guillen and His Big Mouth
by
Bradford Doolittle

07-05

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15

Inside The Park: Jim Eisenreich: No Place to Hide
by
Bradford Doolittle

06-28

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15

Inside The Park: Why Can't We Just Leave Rizzo Alone?
by
Bradford Doolittle

05-24

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2

Inside The Park Blog: Big 3s: The Complete List
by
Bradford Doolittle

05-24

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5

Inside The Park: About Big Threes in Baseball
by
Bradford Doolittle

05-21

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32

Inside The Park: Farewell to a Phenom
by
Bradford Doolittle

05-10

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21

Inside The Park: Can Teams Protect Their Pitchers?
by
Bradford Doolittle

05-01

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5

Inside The Park Blog: On Total Bases and an Obscure Character of Lore
by
Bradford Doolittle

04-15

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11

Inside The Park Blog: Wrigley vs. the Cell
by
Bradford Doolittle

04-13

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3

Inside The Park Blog: Robin Ventura, Ace Manager
by
Bradford Doolittle

04-12

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8

Inside The Park Blog: An Unlikely Encounter
by
Bradford Doolittle

04-12

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7

Inside The Park: The Origins of an Innings Limit
by
Bradford Doolittle

04-09

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3

Inside The Park Blog: Moments
by
Bradford Doolittle

04-08

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3

Inside The Park Blog: Nationals Face a Roster Crunch
by
Bradford Doolittle

04-07

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1

Inside The Park Blog: Davey's A & B Bullpen
by
Bradford Doolittle

04-05

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1

Inside The Park Blog: New Beginnings
by
Bradford Doolittle

03-09

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22

Inside The Park: American League Horror Story
by
Bradford Doolittle

02-23

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12

Inside The Park: Ode to a Terrible Stat
by
Bradford Doolittle

02-09

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24

Inside The Park: A New Message: The Divergent Directions of the Cubs and White Sox
by
Bradford Doolittle

01-26

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10

Inside The Park: Why We Want Players to Remember the Past
by
Bradford Doolittle

01-12

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19

Inside The Park: Remembering Minnie
by
Bradford Doolittle

12-08

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2

The BP Wayback Machine: Cardinals' Special Era Reaches a Crossroads
by
Bradford Doolittle

12-08

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12

Inside The Park: Cardinals' Special Era Reaches a Crossroads
by
Bradford Doolittle

04-12

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4

One-Hoppers: Where the Buffalo Burgers Roam
by
Bradford Doolittle

04-11

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13

Inside The Park: The Disparate Paths of Andy Marte and Michael Brantley
by
Bradford Doolittle

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The fourth installment of a five-part series on the pressing questions confronting each team in 2013.

In the week leading up to Opening Day, we're asking and answering three questions about each team in a five-part series ordered by descending Playoff Pct from the Playoff Odds Report. Today, we continue with a look at the group of six teams with the second-worst odds of winning at least a Wild Card. As a reminder, you can find links to our preview podcasts for each team here.

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How many saves does it take to make closer money?

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Is one season of 50-plus saves enough to make the panel pay Johnson like an elite late-inning arm?

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Remembering Stan Musial, among the best in baseball history as both a player and a person.

"Here stands baseball's happy warrior; here stands baseball's perfect knight."

| Commissioner Ford Frick, on Stan Musial Day, Sept. 29, 1963.

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The White Sox have a new GM, but the old one isn't going away.

In the midst of the World Series, the Chicago White Sox stole a sliver of spotlight for one fall afternoon with a front office shakeup that apparently actually happened a couple of weeks ago. The press release from the team announced the "promotions" of Kenny Williams and Rick Hahn, though in the former case the use of the term is questionable.

After the news hit, the White Sox held a press conference in the small auditorium where they have most of their notable events. Sports talkers in Chicago discussed the move on the radio. Bloggers weighed in en masse. The front page of the local sports sections had articles and pictures. On the national stage, the move was but a whisper relative to the Cubs' hiring of Theo Epstein last year, and by Saturday even in Chicago the whisper had faded and the spotlight had returned to the next Bears game. That's the reality of the White Sox in the local sports pecking order.

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Wherever he goes, Ozzie Guillen attempts to be the center of attention. And we give him exactly what he wants.

Pure as th' expanse of Heav'n; I thither went
With unexperienc't thought, and laid me downe
On the green bank, to look into the cleer
Smooth Lake, that to me seemd another Skie.
As I bent down to look, just opposite,
A Shape within the watry gleam appeard
Bending to look on me, I started back,
It started back, but pleas'd I soon returnd,
Pleas'd it returnd as soon with answering looks
Of sympathie and love; there I had fixt
Mine eyes till now, and pin'd with vain desire.
- Milton, "Paradise Lost"

No one knew it at the time, but the feeling had been circulating among us for weeks: The Ozzie Show was drawing to a close, and this September night, an innocuous Monday pregame before a meaningless late-season clash between the White Sox and Blue Jays, was to be the final performance.












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If you're fed up with overpaid and overprivileged athletes, the story of Jim Eisenreich might remind you why major leaguers matter.

In my story about Anthony Rizzo last week, I alluded to a personal rough patch that I've been going through. I got a lot of nice messages from readers, colleagues, and friends. Believe me, it was much appreciated.

The downturn largely kept me from the ballpark during June. Part of the reason for that was an incident just as I was falling into my funk, after a White Sox game in which Phil Humber was hammered and appeared to be in danger of losing his rotation spot. (He subsequently ended up on the disabled list.) After the game, the media hovered around Humber's locker waiting to grill him about his struggles.

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If Anthony Rizzo fails to fulfill expectations, an excess of media attention will be partly to blame.

As one who ordinarily dislikes slack moments, I tend to plan things down to the second. It's a practice that often leaves little margin for error and sometimes results in small mishaps. Because as much as you try, you can't fully allow for externalities. One of those is the Chicago Transit Authority, not a sturdy peg on which to hang a daily calendar. The online tracker for the trains is very accurate, but you want to leave a buffer, because the CTA has its externalities as well.

The day of Anthony Rizzo's Cubs debut, I did not leave enough of a buffer. I know that it takes me about six minutes at a steady pace to walk to the Argyle Station, and the tracker told me I had eight minutes. Nevertheless, there it was pulling into the station just as I approached the entrance. I sprinted up the stairs only to find the doors sliding shut and an unforgiving train operator at the helm.

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Bradford lists the 163 teams that he's identified as top-heavy going back to 1950.

As I promised in my piece today on baseball Big 3s, I promised the complete list of teams that qualified under my definition of top-heavy. So here you go. If you're like me, it's a pleasure just to look at some of the player combinations that dominated their teams over the years. You can also get a sense for which teams were dominated by a single player, or a duo, even though we're calling these groupings "Big 3s".

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May 24, 2012 3:00 am

Inside The Park: About Big Threes in Baseball

5

Bradford Doolittle

Inspired by the top-heavy Tigers and Dodgers, Brad investigates how well NBA-style roster construction works in MLB.

Since the NBA playoffs are currently going full throttle, this seems as apt a time as any to explore a basic concept of roster construction from that league to big-league baseball. Of course, many of you will disagree with this necessity of this because you don't like the NBA. Some of you will deny the very existence of professional basketball. That's okay. Trust me, this is a baseball article.

The Inside the Park series is about stories, but sometimes there in no particular story angle to what otherwise seems like a fun idea for an article. That's the case here. During the offseason, and after the Prince Fielder signing, I read a number of analyses of the Detroit Tigers that described their roster as top-heavy. Insofar in that there is criticism in that observation, the issue is that such a team is going to be more vulnerable to an injury to a key player. When Victor Martinez was injured, Detroit was able to throw the GDP of a good-sized nation Fielder's way, but such an option doesn't exist once the season begins. If Fielder or Miguel Cabrera or Justin Verlander were to go down, the Tigers would be perhaps be sunk even give their tepid competition in the AL Central. They would likewise be more exposed in the event of less-than-elite performances by any of the aforementioned trio. In fact, that may be happening already.

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From Wrigley Field on Friday, Bradford bids goodbye to the Cubs' fragile former phenom, Kerry Wood.

Orson Welles used to say the key to playing a larger-than-life character was to give him plenty of advance billing before he actually appears on the stage or screen. Harry Lime becomes the most interesting character in The Third Man more than 50 minutes before Welles makes his dramatic entrance in the film. It was a little like that with Kerry Wood, whose ridiculous velocity, strapping build, and Texas background had him pegged as the heir to Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens before we ever saw him in Chicago.

Wood was the fourth pick of the 1995 draft, taken behind Darin Erstad, Ben Davis, and Jose Cruz Jr., and almost immediately there were problems. Less than a week after the Cubs drafted him, Mike McGilvray, his high school coach back in Grand Prairie, Texas, used him in both ends of a doubleheader in the state quarterfinals. Wood threw 145 pitches in the first game and 32 more in the nightcap. Grand Prairie won both games.

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Are teams asking the right questions about pitcher injury prevention, or are they just guessing along with the rest of us?

Thanks to Jerome Holtzman, inventor of the save, and Bruce Sutter, the first fireman used like a 21st-century closer, Chicago is quite literally the birthplace of the modern reliever. So it seems almost tiresome that in the Windy City, baseball news over the last week has been dominated by the vagaries of relief pitching.

Before last Friday's game against the Dodgers, Carlos Marmol sat hunched over in the folding chair in front of his locker, all by himself. No one was talking to the normally happy-go-lucky reliever, or even sitting nearby. We soon learned that Marmol was processing some bad news.

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