One Paragraph on Center Field Vexation

For whatever reason, some teams are set at a specific position for years, decades, sometimes even generations. Left field in Fenway Park, for instance, has seen a nearly unbroken chain between The Splinter, Yaz, Rice, and Manny Being Manny---broken only by Mike Greenwell and the illustrious Troy O'Leary. Some teams struggle to fill a position. Take the White Sox, whose hot corner emptiness spanned nearly two decades, two ballparks, and only Vance Law to link Bill Melton with Robin Ventura. The "Natspos" are more the latter with center. (And I use "Natspos" because obviously there's at least a three-decade gap at any position if you look at just Washington teams.) Rondell White was the last reliable regular there. Since 1999, the most frequent centerfielder has been, by year: Manny Martinez, Peter Bergeron, Peter Bergeron, Brad Wilkerson, Endy Chavez, Endy Chavez, Brad Wilkerson, and Marlon Byrd. Nook Logan's groin pull probably doesn't rise to the level of a cosmic quirk, but it does shine the spotlight on this revolving door of regulars: The Nationals are actually counting on Nook Logan being a regular centerfielder. That's pathetic, meaning no offense to Nook. For nearly a decade, the franchise has done nothing right in center. It traded for an excellent prospect (Bergeron), but he busted. It drafted a good player (Wilkerson), but he turned out to be a left fielder. It's flirted with a steady stream of slappin' swifties. Nothing's worked. Come next offseason, I think Stan will just have to buy one.

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