One step closer to his dream.
The Pacific Coast League will have a little local flavor this season with the promotion of Carson High grad Nate White from Double A.
White, who started umpiring when he was still in high school, has progressed rapidly through the minor league system. He’s obviously excited about his recent promotion. He will leave on March 18, and will be stationed at the Chicago Cubs facility. He said he doesn’t know if he’ll get an opportunity to work any MLB games once he gets there.
“I found out when I was doing winter ball in Venezuela,” White said during a phone interview. “Originally I was supposed to go to the International League. I asked them if an opening came up in the PCL if I could make a lateral move. A couple of days later they said something opened up. It’s great because I’ll be closer to home.”
White was in Venezuela from Oct. 6 to Jan. 31, and he said it was a great experience. And, he said the language barrier only presented a problem off the field.
“I learned a lot about myself as an umpire and person,” White said. “There were Triple A umpires over there, so I was able to learn what’s expected and what supervisors are looking for. When I was over there, we worked a 4-man system, so I learned that (minors are 2 or 3-umpire systems depending on the level of play). Also, I was able to get in front of an MLB supervisor while I was there.
“On the field, language wasn’t an issue because most of the players have played in the states and know English. Off the field it was different. I learned how to order food and greet people.”
Umpires at the Triple-A level have been known to be there for 4 or 5 years. Ron Barnes, an umpire who I had the pleasure of working college ball with in the Bay Area, was in Triple-A for 10 years before he was used as a vacation relief umpire.
White’s movement upwards will depend on the age of some of the MLB’s current umpires and his Triple-A ratings. The pressure is just starting, and White knows that.
It will certainly be nice for his wife and parents, to not only see him in Reno, but Sacramento, Fresno and Las Vegas, too.
Another local umpire, Clint Vondrak, spent 2014 in the California League.
When I last talked to Vondrak, he was hoping to get promoted to Double A. Vondrak has been working as a high school basketball official, and in past years has worked high school and junior college baseball.
As a youngster in the Bay Area, I grew up on the San Francisco Chronicle. The writing was always top notch, especially the columnists.
I picked up a copy of Wednesday’s paper to see how recruiting went for Cal and Stanford, and to see if any De La Salle players were going on to the next level.
Instead, another story caught my eye. The new QB coach of the 49ers, Steve Logan, said he wants to take advantage of Colin Kaepernick’s mobility. That’s something that Jim Harbaugh and OC Greg Roman got worse at as the years went on. I’m not sure whether they were afraid of Kap taking too many hits or whether Kaepernick himself wasn’t wild about running. I’m assuming it had to be the former.
Kaepernick had more than 600 yards rushing last season, a career-best. I don’t see any reason why he can’t run for 800 or 900 yards.
There’s nothing wrong with a running quarterback. Russell Wilson makes it work, and if you pay close attention, you would see he rarely takes a shot. He knows when he needs to get down and when he needs to take somebody on.
Bigger than running is Kap’s ability to check down quicker, read defenses quicker and throw the ball with more accuracy. I would like to see Kap roll out and throw the ball more on the run.
That presents problems for a defense because now they don’t know if he’ll run with it or throw it. I’m hoping working with Kurt Warner will pay some dividends. Kap has to get better. The team invested a ton of cash in him.
needs to play better.