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Archive for March 30th, 2011

During his over 40 years in the game of baseball, Bill White was a successful player, broadcaster and executive. Now, you can add author to the list.

Uppity: My Untold Story About the Games People Play” is due out on April 1, an ironic date considering White earned the reputation of being nobody’s fool. As a college educated black man playing throughout the segregated south in the minors and then in St. Louis as a big leaguer, White’s career began in the early days of integration, continued with him becoming the first black man to hold a full-time broadcasting position and then culminated with him blazing another trail as the first minority to be appointed to a major executive position in major league baseball.

This afternoon, White joined WFAN’s Mike Francessa in the studio for an hour to promote his book, which focuses on the obstacles he had to overcome during his career. In his discussion with Francessa, White mentioned that his main motivation for writing the book was to educate people, but mostly modern players, about the how far the game of baseball has come since Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier.

For perspective, when White broke into the big leagues segregation was still rampant, especially in the south and during spring training. After playing his first game, one newspaper headline read “No Jittery Big-Time Debut for Giants’ Negro Rookie”. Even though he debuted nine years after Robinson, black players in White’s era were still expected to keep a low profile. As the book describes, that was apparently the one thing White could not do.

Bill White, 22-year old New York Giants rookie, is a somber young man who refused to be nervous over his first appearance in a major league lineup.” – AP, May 8, 1956

Most Yankees fans who are over 30 years old have some memory of White on the air, either doing radio for WMCA, WINS or WABC or TV for WPIX. If George Steinbrenner had his way, however, White could have left a different stamp on the team. In his interview with Francessa, White stated that the Boss once offered him the job of General Manager. Considering the job security of that position compared to his broadcast role, White obviously made the right choice.

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Another season is upon us, and so too is the time for predictions. Listed below are my forecasts for the regular season standings as well as the major award winners. In addition, a capsule for each team is provided below. For what it’s worth, the Captain’s Blog did a pretty good job predicting the standings last year, so feel free to take these prognostications to Vegas. Just don’t send me the bill at the end of September.  

AL East W L   NL East W L
Yankees 94 68   Phillies 93 69
Red Sox 91 71   Braves 90 72
Rays 84 78   Marlins 84 78
Blue Jays 82 80   Mets 74 88
Orioles 76 86   Nationals 68 94
             
AL Central W L   NL Central W L
White Sox 91 71   Cubs 89 73
Twins 87 75   Brewers 87 75
Tigers 80 82   Cardinals 83 79
Indians 76 86   Reds 82 80
Royals 60 102   Astros 70 92
        Pirates 67 95
             
AL West W L   NL West W L
Angels 88 74   Giants 90 72
As 85 77   Rockies 84 78
Rangers 83 79   Dodgers 81 81
Mariners 65 97   Padres 77 85
        Dbacks 69 93

ALCS: Yankees over White Sox
NLCS: Phillies over Braves
World Series: Yankees over Phillies

AL Cy Young: David Price
NL Cy Young: Josh Johnson

AL MVP: Alex Rodriguez
NL MVP: Prince Fielder

AL ROY: Kyle Drabek
NL ROY: Domonic Brown

American League East

Yankees: A lot has been made of the uncertainty in the backend of the Yankees’ rotation, but dire assessments made on that basis seem to ignore that the team had 68 games started by a pitcher with an ERA+ of 86 or lower…and still managed to win 95 games Last year, the team led all of baseball with a wOBA of .347, despite off years from Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira, all of whom could rebound in 2011. If Curtis Granderson is able to build on his second half resurgence and Brett Gardner continues to evolve as an offensive player, the combination of a dynamic offense and deep bullpen should be more than enough to keep the Yankees atop the East.

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