I am often asked how I go about my daily research during the baseball season.
This week, I thought I would give you a quick primer on my favorite baseball websites.
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The internet isn't my only source of information. Much of it comes from the Cubs' media relations staff, MLB media guides and game notes. I also get lots of great material from conversations with uniformed personnel, front office members and other broadcasters.
However, there are dozens of great websites that any baseball fan can look at to get much of the same information I find on a daily basis.
I will begin with the best baseball website every created, Baseball-Reference.com. If you are unfamiliar with it, drop everything you are doing (but wait until you're done reading this column and all the other wonderful articles in today's Daily Herald) and go bookmark it immediately on your computer.
The front page has updated standings and box score links from the day before. The player pages have in-depth stats, transactions and bio information and are updated daily. I particularly enjoy the Bullpen link which has interesting career highlights for many players. There also is salary information on the player and team pages.
The only thing missing is career injuries and DL stints. My guess is, before too long, that will soon be included. The functionality of this site is its best attribute. You can easily sort whatever stats you want with one click of the the mouse.
Could I live without Baseball-Reference? Gosh, how could I even ponder that question? Perish the thought.
Also prominent on my "A" list of websites is MLB.com. Each club has its own beat writers and at the end of each article there is this important disclaimer: "This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs."
Yes, in the real world, you will probably get a slightly toned down angle on most "negative" stories, but by and large, I think most team's beat reporters report the facts and details I need in an orderly fashion.
Of course I read everything Bruce Miles and the other Cubs' beat reporters write, but usually for Cubs opponents, I start with their MLB.com site first.
Another good way to catch up on a particular team is to go to Yahoo! Sports' baseball team reports page. There is an updated daily report on each team, with injury information and current roster info. I normally look at this site a few days before we see a new opponent just to get up to speed.
Two other places I frequent a lot are FanGraphs.com, which has the best advanced stats around, and Rotoworld.com's baseball headline page, which has a lot of timely player updates.
Then there's Twitter. I fought joining Twitter for a long time, but it is quickly becoming the most important place for real-time updates. It is always open on my computer during games so I can check on other games, get viewer feedback and even post an item of interest from the ballpark from my account during a commercial break.
I should add there are a couple of important professional sites I use via WGN and Comcast SportsNet -- StatsPass.com and PlayerProfiles.com -- which provide proprietary stats and biographical info to networks. But these are for pay, membership-only sites.
There are many other sites I occasionally peruse for various information and stats, but by and large, the above internet stops provide much of the fodder for our in-game conversations.
•Len Kasper is the TV play-by-play broadcaster for the Chicago Cubs. Follow him on Twitter @LenKasper and check out his [URL]blog entries;http://wgntv.com/news/stories/len-and-jds-cubs-baseball-blog/[URL] with Jim Deshaies at wgntv.com. To post comments or questions for Len, click on the comment link with his column at dailyherald.com.[/URL]