Today is Jackie Robinson Day around Major League Baseball. The Yankees had planned on doing something pretty cool today in honor of another great leader and pioneer: they were going to place a plaque for Nelson Mandela in Monument Park. Unfortunately, steady rain forecast for tonight has postponed the game and the ceremonies, and now both will take place tomorrow.
In town for the festivities: Jackie Robinson’s widow, Rachel Robinson, his daughter Sharon Robinson, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, former New York City Mayor David Dinkins, Rev. Al Sharpton as well as several members of Nelson Mandela’s family, South African officials and figures in Mandela’s foundation.
Now they get a nice honor for Mandela and a twin-bill to boot.
Roger Clemens will be an analyst for ESPN when the defending World Series champion Houston Astros host the Chicago White Sox on opening day.
Clemens made four appearances on last year’s KayRod Cast with Michael Kay and Alex Rodriguez. He will be stepping in on March 30 for David Cone, who will be doing the New York Yankees opener against the San Francisco Giants on YES Network.
“Roger has been sort of a friend of ours for the last year, so to speak, he’s in. He’s been engaged, knowledgeable and really present,” said ESPN Vice President of Production Phil Orlins. “You know, whatever past may be, he’s still tremendously engaged and he really brought that every time he was with us.”
Clemens was a seven-time Cy Young winner but his career after baseball has been tainted by allegations of performance-enhancing drug use. He is a Houston native and pitched for the Astros for three seasons.
Orlins said that with the rules changes and pitch clock, it is important to have a pitcher in the booth with Karl Ravech and Eduardo Perez.
“We don’t feel like we have to have the dynamic of Eduardo with a pitcher, but we certainly think that works. Throw in the added factor of rule changes and it is better to have a batter-pitcher perspective,” Orlins said.
Orlins did not say if this would open the door for future opportunities for Clemens as an ESPN analyst.