Don’t forget to visit the ‘Hank Greenberg in 1938’ page: Update

Posted on: May 23rd, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

For occasional updates on author appearances, interviews, and book reviews.

Toda raba.


JML update, August 15, 2018 (Games of Aug. 14)

Posted on: August 15th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan No Comments

Unfortunately, these things are getting easier between the MOTs designated for assignment (Ty Kelly, Danny Valencia) and the disabled list (Ian Kinsler, Max Fried, Richard Bleier, Ryan Sherriff).

Braun bops! Ryan Braun hit two home runs in his first two at-bats to help the Milwaukee Brewers (68-54) beat the host Chicago Cubs, 7-0. The first blast came in the first with a runner on. The next — giving Braun 14 on the year and 35th at Wrigley over his career — came in the third, also with one on.

Kevin Pillar hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning that gave the Toronto Blue Jays (54-65) the come-from-behind 6-5 win over the host Kansas City Royals. He also had a two- RBI single in the third.

Alex Bregman was 0-for-3 with a walk as the Houston Astros (73-47) continue to sputter, losing to the visiting Colorado Rockies, 5-1.

Robert Stock gave up an unearned run on one hit, a walk, and a strikeout in two innings as the San Diego Padres (48-74) lost to the visiting LA Angels, 7-3.

Joc Pederson came on as a defensive replacement as was 0-for-1 one as the LA Dodgers (64-57) were edged, 2-1, by the visiting San Francisco Giants.

Gabe Kapler‘s Philadelphia Phillies (65-53) lost to the visiting Boston Red Sox, 2-1.


JML update, August 14, 2018 (Games of Aug. 13)

Posted on: August 14th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan No Comments

In limited MOT action…

Kevin Pillar was 0-for-3 as the Toronto Blue Jays (53-65) lost to the host KC Royals, 3-1.

Joc Pederson grounded out as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning and remained in the game in left as the LA Dodgers lost to the visiting San Francisco Giants, 5-2.

Robert Stock did not appear for the San Diego Padres in their 10-inning, 6-3 loss to the visiting LA Angels.

Max Fried is nearing a rehab assignment for the Atlanta Braves, who swept a doubleheader from the Miami Marlins, 9-1 and 6-1.


JML update, weekend edition (Games of August 10-12, 2018)

Posted on: August 13th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan No Comments

Alex Bregman, Houston Astros (73-46, first in the AL West) was 2-for-4 with his 37th double and one of the two runs his team scored in a 5-2 loss to the visiting Seattle Mariners. The next day he was 1-for-3 with a walk in a 3-2 loss. On Sunday, Bregman — who participated in this meet and greet —  singled twice in four official at-bats (he also walked), scored one run and drove in another as the Mariners completed a series sweep that began on Thursday. Their lead over the Seattle is down to 2.5 games.

Joc Pederson, LA Dodgers (64-55, second in the NL West) was 0-for-5 on Friday in a 5-4 loss and 0-for-1 as a pinch-hitter a 4-3 loss on Sunday to the host Colorado Rockies. He did not play on Saturday.

Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers (67-54, second in NL Central) did not play in Friday’s 10-1 loss to the host Atlanta Braves. He was 2-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI the next day in a 4-2 win and made this catch, which the announcer opined it might be the best of Braun’s career (note the “catch probability” stat). He was 2-for-5 with a double (#18) on Sunday in an 8-7 loss.

Kevin Pillar, Toronto Blue Jays (53-64, fourth in AL East), was 0-for-3 in a 7-0 loss to the visiting Tampa Bay Rays on Friday; 0-for-3 in a 3-1 loss on Saturday; and had a pinch-hit double (#29) and scored what proved to the the deciding run  — upheld upon review — in a 2-1 win on Sunday. He was unsuccessful in a subsequent at bat.

Robert Stock, San Diego Padres  (48-72, fifth in NL West) gave up two hits and struck out four in 2.2 shutout innings on Saturday in a 5-1 loss to  Gabe Kapler‘s Philadelphia Phillies (65-52, tied for first NL East)

Ian Kinsler remains on the DL for the Boston Red Sox. Likewise for Max Fried and the Atlanta Braves. Not mentioning the other two MOTs who are out for the rest of the year. Oh, all right: Richard Bleier (Baltimore Orioles) and Ryan Sherriff (St. Louis Cardinals).

Finally, the Orioles designated utility man Danny Valencia for assignment on Sunday. He had nine hone runs and 28 RBIs in 282 plate appearances over 78 games during which time he played third base, right field, first base, designated hitter, and even had a turn on the mound. If Valencia  gets picked up, he could be playing for his eighth team in nine seasons. What does that say about him? That no team wants to hold on to him for an extended period, or that so many want him?

Image result for danny valencia pitch


What’s in a name?

Posted on: August 10th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan No Comments

One of MLB’s newer attempts to separate fans from their money is this “Player’s Weekend” thing in which the athletes wear jerseys with their nicknames. Some are inventive, others are just lazy. Here are the one’s we’re interested in:

  • Richard Bleier: Dickie-B
  • Ryan Braun: Ocho (I assume because he wears number 8)
  • Alex Bregman: A-Breg
  • Max Fried: Maximus
  • Ian Kinsler: Boostie (I like that one; old school)
  • Joc Pederson: King
  • Kevin Pillar: KP (eye roll)
  • Robert Stock: Crecth
  • Danny Valencia: Slugger (eye roll redux)


JML update, August 10, 2018 (Games of Aug. 9)

Posted on: August 10th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan No Comments

Joc Pederson‘s pinch-hit home run gave the LA Dodgers (64-52) a 2-1 lead over the host Colorado Rockies in the seventh. It was the 18th long-ball for Pederson who remained in the game and struck out to end the ninth after the Dodgers scored three for the 8-5 win.

Kevin Pillar was 1-for-4 with an RBI and a stolen base as the Toronto Blue Jays (52-62) broke the visiting Boston Red Sox’s (81-35) winning streak with an 8-5 win.

Alex Bregman was 1-for-5 out of the lead-off spot as the Houston Astros (73-43) lost to the Seattle Mariners, 8-6. Here’s a nice story on “Astros’ Leader In Helping Others? The Alex Bregman He Won’t Let You See.”

Ryan Braun was 0-for-4 as the Milwaukee Brewers (66-52) lost to the visiting San Diego Padres, 8-4. Robert Stock did not appear for the Padres (46-71). Here’s a not-so-nice story asking if Braun should be reduced to a part-time player. Sad.

Danny Valencia did not appear for the Baltimore Orioles (35-80) who lost to the host Tampa Bay Rays, 5-4.

Gabe Kapler‘s Philadelphia Phillies were off yesterday.

On the DL:

  • Ian Kinsler, Boston
  • Max Fried, Atlanta Braves
  • Richard  Bleier, Orioles
  • Ryan Sherriff, St. Louis Cardinals



JML update, August 9, 2018 (Games of Aug. 8)

Posted on: August 9th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan No Comments

Kevin Pillar was 1-for-4 with a run scored as the Toronto Blue Jays (51-62) lost to the visiting Boston Red Sox, 10-5. He also made a nice catch and throw on this play, all the more impressive considering his recent collarbone injury.

Danny Valencia was 1-for-3 with a walk as the Baltimore Orioles (35-79) beat the host Tampa Bay Rays, 5-4. He came out of the game for a pinch-runner in the ninth.

Joc Pederson was 0-for-4 as the LA Dodgers (63-52) lost to the host Oakland A’s, 3-2.

Neither Ryan Braun nor Robert Stock appeared for the Milwaukee Brewers  (66-51) and San Diego Padres (45-71), respectively, as the former beat the latter, 8-4. Braun is doing better in August, going 7-for-18 with a slash line of .389/.476/.667 and two stolen bases in one game, the first time he’s done that since April 14, 2017, according to FOXSports.com.

No game for Alex Bregman and the Houston Astros.

Gabe Kapler‘s Philadelphia Phillies (64-50) were shut out by the host Arizona Diamondbacks, 6-0.

DL Review:

  • Ian Kinsler, Red Sox
  • Max Fried, Atlanta Braves
  • Richard Bleier, Orioles (out for season)
  • Ryan Sherriff, St. Louis Cardinals (out for season)

JML update, August 8, 2018 (Games of Aug. 7)

Posted on: August 8th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan No Comments

Are you kidding me?? Two innings into the first game of their doubleheader against the host Washington Nationals, Max Fried gets hit by a line drive off the bat of  Spencer Keiboom (Kaboom?) and winds up on the disabled list!

(Damn, he’s thin.) Fried allowed a hit, gave up a walk, and struck out two in his brief appearance. You may remember he just came off the DL but you could be forgiven if you didn’t because so many MOTs have been there this season. The Braves (61-49) lost that game, 8-3, but won the nightcap 3-1.

Too bad it couldn’t have been a five-run homer. Kevin Pillar (who came off the DL last week) launched a two-run job in the bottom of the 10th against the visiting Boston Red Sox (sans Ian Kinsler, who’s on the –shocker — DL). The Toronto Blue Jays (51-61) ended up losing 10-7 after Boston (80-34) put five across in the top of the frame. It was the only hit for Pillar in five at-bats.

By the way, Kinsler received the top nod for best defensive play of the year (so far, of course).

Ryan Braun (also on the DL in 2018) doubled in two official at-bats and walked as the Milwaukee Brewers (65-51) lost to the visiting San Diego Padres, 11-5. He came out of the game after the seventh in some pitching/defensive changes.

Robert Stock pitched a scoreless inning for the Padres (45-70), allowing a walk, a hit, and striking out one.

Alex Bregman was 1-for-5 batting out of the leadoff spot as the Houston Astros (73-42) beat the host San Francisco Giants, 2-1.

Joc Pederson doubled as a pinch-hitter, stayed in the game, and struck out in a subsequent at-bat as the LA Dodgers (63-51) beat the host Oakland As, 4-2.

Danny Valencia did not appear for the Baltimore Orioles (34-79) in their 4-3 loss to the host Tampa Bay Rays.

Gabe Kapler‘s Philadelphia Phillies (64-49) beat the host Arizona Diamondbacks, 4-2.

Dean Kremer — the first Israeli-born ballplayer to be signed by a Major League team — gets a nice write-up here. He was in the recent trade that sent him and four other prospects to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for Manny Machado.

Could 37-year-old Craig Breslow — now in the Blue Jays’ minor league system — be on his way back to the bigs? Hope so. If not with Toronto, then somewhere else.


Are you ready for some football?

Posted on: August 7th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan No Comments

As we slowly head towards the fall, I am reminded that there are other sports beside baseball, reluctant as I am to admit it.

NFL training camps opened recently, so now would be an appropriate moment to look at the handful of Jews who hope to make their living cracking heads in the months to come.

Of the course the biggest story of the 2018 campaign is the ascension of Josh Rosen (right) as the new Jewish quarterback. So far, so good. On the other hand — and I hate to say it — but you have to wonder, given today’s political and social climate — if anything negative said about him is honest commerce or something more insidious. IMO, football is a “Christian sport,” with lots of praying and little tolerance for the outsider. If that’s truly the case, anti-Semites will not be as reticent to cloak their criticisms.

Nate Ebner missed most of the year for the New England Patriots due to injury. According to CBSSports.com, he was “removed from the PUP list [physically unable to perform] Tuesday and returned to practice Tuesday, Ben Volin of The Boston Globe. Ebner was one of three Patriots defensive backs to come off the PUP on Tuesday, but given that he is coming off a torn ACL in November, chances are the Patriots will ease him back into practice sessions. Ebner re-signed with the Patriots back in March and is expected to primarily play a special teams role this season.”

Mitchell Schwartz has been acclaimed one of the better offensive lineman in the league. He has quietly become a leader for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Ali Marpet of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is also an O-Man of whom more is expected for the upcoming season.


Adam Bisnowaty was signed by the Carolina Panthers off waivers after spending last season on the NY Giants’ practice squad without getting into a regular season game. He had previously been signed by the Detroit Lions who released him at the end of July.

And Julian Edelman (Patriots) is still not considered Jewish by the powers that be.


JML update, August 7, 2018 (Games of August 6)

Posted on: August 7th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan No Comments

Stats courtesy JewishBaseballNews.com

In the only game involving a Jewish player, Alex Bregman was 1-for-3 with a walk and a run  scored as the Houston Astros (72-42) scored all their runs in the ninth to beat the host San Francisco Giants, 3-1.

Gabe Kapler‘s Philadelphia Phillies (63-49) lost to the host Arizona Diamondbacks 3-2 in 14 innings.


JML update, weekend edition: Games of Aug. 3-5, 2018

Posted on: August 6th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan No Comments

Well, that was quick: Ian Kinsler walked and scored a run on Friday as the host Boston Red Sox (79-34, first in AL East) started a four-game sweep of the NY Yankees with a 4-1 win, thanks to a one-hitter by Rick Porcello. Kinsler ended up on the 10-day disabled list, ironic since he was acquired to replace Dustin Pedroia, who spent most of the year ion the DL. By the way, is it kosher for a Jewish player to have a hamstring problem?

Bryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers (65-50, second in NL Central): Flied out as a pinch-hitter in Friday’s 5-3 win over the visiting Colorado Rockies; 2-for-3 with his 12th home run (solo shot in the third) and an additional RBI and run scored in an 8-4 win on Saturday; and 2-for-4 with a run scored and two stolen bases in a 5-4, 11-inning loss on Sunday.

Alex Bregman, Houston Astros (71-42, first in AL West): Was 0-for-3 in a 2-1 win over the host LA Dodgers on Friday — a rematch of last fall’s World Series participants; 0-for-4 with a run scored and a walk in an 14-0 win on Saturday; and 1-for-2 (double) with a walk in a 3-2 loss on Sunday.

Joc Pederson, LA Dodgers (62-51, tied for first in NL West with Arizona Diamondbacks): Provided the only run for his team on Friday with his 17th home run — which led off the game — for his only hit in four at-bats; did not play on Saturday; and was 0-for-3 with a run scored on Sunday.

Kevin Pillar, Toronto Blue Jays (51-60, fourth in AL East): Returned from the DL on Friday, batting in the ninth spot and going 0-for-3 with a sac fly in a 7-2 win over the host Seattle Mariners; 2-for-4 with his 28th double and 12th stolen base in a 5-1 win on Saturday; and 1-for-3 in a 6-1 loss on Sunday.

Danny Valencia, Baltimore Orioles (34-78, fifth in AL East): Did not appear in Friday’s 11-3 loss to the host Texas Rangers; was 0-for-4 in a 3-1 loss on Saturday; and was 0-for-4 again in 9-6 win on Sunday.

080618_Phillies-Kapler_usatRobert Stock, San Diego Padres (44-70, fifth in NL West): Gave up one hit — a home run — and struck out one in two innings of work in Friday’s 5-4 loss to the host Chicago Cubs, his only appearance for the weekend.

Max Fried did not appear for the Atlanta Braves (60-49, second in NL East) in their weekend series against the host NY Mets. He is expected to start one of the games in Tuesday’s doubleheader against the

Gabe Kapler‘s Philadelphia Phillies swept the visiting Miami Marlins to improve their first place NL East record to 63-48.

Yesterday, the Oakland A’s designated pitcher Jeremy Bleich for assignment. Bleich, 31, appeared in two games, giving up two runs in just 1/3 of an inning. He made his debut on July 13 (Friday the 13th, of course) and gave up two runs without retiring a batter. He was better his next time out, retiring one of the two batters he faced. At least that gave him an ERA. By the way, I had been mispronouncing the name: I thought it was Bleyech (as in chai), but it’s really Bleyesh.


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