For occasional updates on author appearances, interviews, and book reviews.
For occasional updates on author appearances, interviews, and book reviews.
Back from a great trip to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown where I spoke about the Hank Greenberg book. More on that in a separate entry.
But, my, what a lousy night for the trio of MOT who appeared yesterday (plus one as a DR).
As they frequently say about games at Wrigley Field in Chicago, the wind was blowing out. Scott Feldman, recently off the DL and still having knee issues, lasted just 3.2 innings for the visiting Cincinnati Reds (51-71) and five of the seven hits he allowed left the yard. In all, he gave up six earned runs and stuck out one. If there’s a positive note it’s that no one was really that much better (misery loves company). Final score: Reds 13, Cubs 10. But more alarming: could this be Feldman’s last game as a Red? Or last game, period? Sad, if so.
Although he wasn’t actually charged with the loss, Brad Goldberg gave up what proved to be the “losing” run as the Chicago White Sox were bested by the host Texas Rangers, 9-8. He walked four and gave up a hit in just two-thirds of an inning.
Alex Bregman was 0-for-4 as the Houston Astros (74-47) continue their doldrums, shut out 4-0 at the hands of the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks.
Kevin Pillar appeared as a defensive replacement for the Toronto Blue Jays (59-62) in their 5-3 win over the visiting Tampa Bay Rays.
Max Fried did not appear for the Atlanta Braves (54-65) in their 10-4 win over the host Colorado Rockies.
And the war of words continues for Ian Kinsler, who was ejected from a game a few days ago by umpire Angel Hernandez for apparently arguing balls and strikes. Kinsler thinks Hernandez should look for a new line of work. The incident was deemed hot enough to be included in a segment on Pardon the Interruption where co-hosts Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon kinda/sorta stood up for the ballplayer in questioning the arbiter’s ability without actually calling him incompetent. There are others who hold opinions similar to Kinsler and based on the number of hits that came up in a Google search, they may have a point. So do you think there was a lot of pressure on Kinsler to shake hands with Hernandez at the Wednesday game? If the baseball thing doesn’t work out for Ian anymore, there’s always this.
Poor showing by the boys. The only hit came off the bat of Kevin Pillar as the Toronto Blue Jays (57-61) beat the visiting Tampa Bay Rays, 2-1.
As for the others:
That’s it. If there were other games with MOTs on the team, they didn’t play. The Dodgers, white Sox, and Brewers had the day off.
That does it for me. Heading up to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown to wrap up the Hall of Fame’s Summer Author Series tomorrow afternoon at 1 p.m.
Scott Feldman returned to action, as it were, when he started for the Cincinnati Reds (49-69) on Saturday against the Milwaukee Brewers (61-59). Feldman pitched just four innings, giving up three runs on a walk and seven hits including a home run. On the plus side, he also struck out six. Feldman did not figure in the decision as Milwaukee won in 10 innings, 6-5.
Ryan Braun hit his 13th homer in that one, but it didn’t come off his landsman. All told, Braun was 5-for-12 with the home run, two doubles, two walks, four runs scored, and two RBI, inching closer to the coveted — if out-of-favor — .300 batting average. It was his first long-ball in more than a dozen games and puts him two shy of the 300-club.
Kevin Pillar was 1-for-7 with two walks, a run scored, a stolen base, and two RBI as the Toronto Blue Jays (56-61) took two of three from the visiting Pittsburgh Pirate.
Ian Kinsler was 1-for-9 in the first two games of the series between the Detroit Tigers (53-64) and the visiting Minnesota Twins. He did not play in yesterday’s finale — won by the Twins to take the set, 2-1 — as an aftereffect of being hit on the hand by a pitch the previous day.
Alex Bregman was 2-for-11 with two runs scored and an RBI as the Houston Astros continue to struggle, even though they still have the best record in the AL at 72-45. Prior to yesterday’s win against the host Arizona Diamondbacks, they had lost five in a row and seven of their last 10.
Max Fried threw a scoreless inning of relief for the Atlanta Braves (52-63) in Saturday’s 6-5 loss to the host St. Louis Cardinals, walking one and striking out one.
Brad Goldberg had another sloppy showing on Sunday as the Chicago White Sox (45-70) lost to the visiting KC Royals, 14-6. Goldberg pitched the final two innings, giving up two runs on one hit and three walks. It was his only appearance for the weekend.
Richard Bleier retired the only batter he faced for the Baltimore Orioles (58-60) in their 5-4 loss to the host Oakland As on Friday. Yesterday he endured a rare bad outing, giving up a two-run homer in 1.1 innings in another loss.
Danny Valencia did not get a single at-bat over the weekend for the Seattle Mariners (59-60), who were swept by the visiting LA Angels in a series that began Thursday. No injury, just supplanted by their new first-base acquisition in Yonder Alonso.
Joc Pederson was 0-for-7 for the LA Dodgers (83-34) who took two of three from the visiting San Diego Padres. He has just one hit in his last 32 at-bats. But the only game they lost was the one in which Pederson did not appear (Friday night).
Kevin Pillar was 1-for-3 and drove in the third run of the game for the Toronto Blue Jays (54-60) in their 4-0 shutout over the visiting NY Yankees.
Ryan Braun singled twice in four trips to the plate as the Milwaukee Brewers (59-58) lost to the visiting Minnesota Twins, 7-2.
Alex Bregman split time between third base and shortstop, going 1-for-4 with a walk as the Houston Astros (71-43) continue to sputter, relatively speaking. While they have the best record in the American league, they have lost seven of their last 10 games. including last night’s 3-2, 11-inning defeat at the hands of the host Chicago White Sox (4-68). Brad Goldberg lowered his ERA to under 9.00 with 2/3 of an inning of work in which he walked one.
Ian Kinsler was hitless in four at-bats as the Detroit Tigers (52-62) lost the rubber game of their series to the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates, 7-5.
Joc Pederson was also 0-for-4 but his LA Dodgers (81-33) beat the host Arizona Diamondbacks, 8-6.
Danny Valencia was 0-for-3 with a walk as the Seattle Mariners lost to the visiting LA Angels, 6-3.
Richard Bleier had a bit of an off night: he allowed two hits in a walk and retired just one batter as the Baltimore Orioles (57-58) beat the visiting Oakland As, 7-2.
No games for Max Fried and the Atlanta Braves. The Cincinnati Reds may activate Scott Feldman from the disabled list as early as tomorrow.
A couple pf days ago I mentioned that MLB will feature a “player’s weekend” starting Aug. 25 during which which the athletes will be allowed to wear whatever nickname they like on the backs of the jerseys. Braun will supposedly wear “Ocho,” since he wears “8” as his number. Booooooring. It would have been much cooler if he wore “Hebrew Hammer,” or at least “Hammer,” if the Hebrew part might go against some policy. I hope to be able to compile a last of what all the JMLS wore, after the fact.
Finally, in the shameless self-promotion department: Local boy makes good.
On the day the Detroit Tigers (52-61) placed Ian Kinsler on revocable waivers, their stalwart second baseman had his best game in a while, becoming the third MOT in the last week or so to just miss a cycle. He hit his 11th home run (solo), 19th double (to drive in three), and a single in four official at bats (he also walked), driving in 40 percent of the team’s runs in their 10-0 win over the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates.
Alex Bregman singled and doubled (#29) in four at-bats as the Houston Astros (71-42) fell to the host Chicago White Sox (43-68), 7-1. Brad Goldberg did not appear for the Sox.
Ryan Braun, back in the familiar #3 spot in the lineup, was 2-for-4 as the Milwaukee Brewers (59-57) were shut out by the visiting Minnesota Twins, 4-0.
Joc Pederson only put the ball in play once, but that was enough. After striking out twice (he also walked), he drove in the game-tying run with a double (#19) in the seventh inning and then came around to score what proved to be the winner as the LA Dodgers (80-33) edged the host Arizona Diamondbacks, 3-2. He also made a nice defensive play.
Batting in the fifth spot, Kevin Pillar hit his 26th double in five at-bats, but the Toronto Blue Jays (53-60) lost to the visiting NY Yankees, 11-5. In another attempt to make money, MLB has scheduled an “anything goes” weekend at the end of August where players will be allowed to wear uniforms with whatever nickname they like. Pillar’s will simply have “Pill” on the back.
Once again, Danny Valencia sat out a game for the Seattle Mariners in favor of their newly-acquired first baseman, Yonder Alonso. The Mariners (59-56) beat the host Oakland As, 6-3.
Richard Bleier did not appear for the Baltimore Orioles (56-58) in their 5-1 loss to the host LA Angels. Max Fried did not appear for the Atlanta Braves (51-61 ) in their 3-2 loss to the visiting Philadelphia Phillies.
Scott Feldman update: According to Cincinnati.com, the Reds’ pitcher “threw a bullpen session and performed some on-field agility activities Wednesday in hopes of being able to make a start Saturday. Manager Bryan Price said the 34-year-old looked able, but doubts if Feldman will look fully healthy the rest of the year.
“I’m not going to say he looked good,” Price said. “He looked like he’s capable. I’m not putting it out there and saying this guy’s 100 percent, because he’s not.”
NFL training camps are in full swing with exhibition games on the horizon. Adam Bisnowaty, the NY Giants’ rookie OL, is looking forward to his first unofficial NFL contest, which may come Friday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, his favorite team as a kid. The Giants think enough of him to list him on the second team in an unofficial depth chart. And needles to say, with so few JFLers, the Jewish media is picking up on him, like this piece on the BreakingIsraelNews site. And this from the JTA.
The other NY rookie — Gabe Marks of the NY Jets — is also getting some attention, though not as much for the Jewish angle.
Ali Marpet of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is dealing with a “minor” ankle injury.
Over on the college scene, UCLA QB Josh Rosen is getting some attention for comments he made about NCAA football in this BleacherReport Q&A. Among his observations that’s got some sports pundits talking…
B/R: Look at the bright side: You got a chance to heal, maybe catch up on school.
Rosen: Don’t get me started. I love school, but it’s hard. It’s cool because we’re learning more applicable stuff in my major (Economics)—not just the prerequisite stuff that’s designed to filter out people. But football really dents my ability to take some classes that I need. There are a bunch of classes that are only offered one time. There was a class this spring I had to take, but there was a conflict with spring football, so…
B/R: So football wins out?
Rosen: Well, you can say that.
B/R: So that’s reality for student-athletes playing at a major university?
Rosen: I didn’t say that, you did. (Laughs.) Look, football and school don’t go together. They just don’t. Trying to do both is like trying to do two full-time jobs. There are guys who have no business being in school, but they’re here because this is the path to the NFL. There’s no other way. Then there’s the other side that says raise the SAT eligibility requirements. OK, raise the SAT requirement at Alabama and see what kind of team they have. You lose athletes and then the product on the field suffers.
Look, football and school don’t go together. They just don’t. Trying to do both is like trying to do two full-time jobs. — Josh Rosen
B/R: Wait, some players shouldn’t be in school?
Rosen: It’s not that they shouldn’t be in school. Human beings don’t belong in school with our schedules. No one in their right mind should have a football player’s schedule, and go to school. It’s not that some players shouldn’t be in school; it’s just that universities should help them more—instead of just finding ways to keep them eligible.
Any time any player puts into school will take away from the time they could put into football. They don’t realize that they’re getting screwed until it’s too late. You have a bunch of people at the universities who are supposed to help you out, and they’re more interested in helping you stay eligible. At some point, universities have to do more to prepare players for university life and help them succeed beyond football. There’s so much money being made in this sport. It’s a crime to not do everything you can to help the people who are making it for those who are spending it.
B/R: But those same players go make money in the NFL after being prepared by their college programs.
Rosen: Some do, absolutely. What about those who don’t? What did they get for laying their body on the line play after play while universities make millions upon millions? People criticize when guys leave early for the NFL draft, and then rip them when some guys who leave early don’t get drafted. [They say,] “Why did you leave school if you weren’t going to get drafted?” I’ll tell you why: Because for a lot of guys, there is no other option. They were either leaving early (for the NFL) or flunking out. To me, that’s a problem within the system and the way we’re preparing student-athletes for the future away from football. Everyone has to be part of the process.
Needless to say, there are those who disagree with Rosen, including Stanford coach David Shaw. I wonder if there will be any repercussions when it comes time to consider Rosen in the NFL draft.
Welcome to the club: Max Fried made his major league debut last night, tossing the final two innings in the Atlanta Braves’ 5-2 loss to the visiting Philadelphia Phillies. He walked two and gave up two hits while striking out one. Mazel tov, Max!
Alex Bregman had a two-out, game-tying, three-run triple (#4) for the Houston Astros (71-41) but the host Chicago White Sox (42-68) came back for an 8-5 win. Bregman, batting in the leadoff spot, was 1-for-3 with two walks. According to RotoBaller, he has 13 extra-base hits over his last 14 games. He wasn’t so great on the basepaths, however, getting picked off as well as caught stealing. Brad Goldberg did not appear for the Sox.
Ryan Braun, still batting in the second slot in the order, hit his first three-bagger of the year to go along with his 17th double and a single, but the Milwaukee Brewers (59-56) lost to the host Minnesota Twins, 11-4.
Danny Valencia hit a game-tying, pinch-hit sacrifice fly in the eighth inning as the Seattle Mariners (58-56) beat the host Oakland As, 8-7, in 10 innings. Ryan Lavarnway, whom the As had designated for assignment, cleared waivers and was outrighted to AAA Nashville.
Ian Kinsler was 1-for-4 with a run scored but the Detroit Tigers (51-61) lost to the host Pittsburgh Pirates, 9-3. Here’s an interesting take on how players market themselves from FanGraphs.com:
MLB players haven’t become ubiquitous in popular culture the way stars in other sports have. While the players themselves have remarkable talent, and fans already watching the game will know the names Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, and Miguel Cabrera, but a casual observer or non-fan on the street would be hard pressed to pick those players out of a lineup. Whether it’s the structural problems the sport presents — star players are involved in a fraction of a Major League game, unlike in other sports, where teams can make sure their best players are involved on nearly every play — or the failings of the teams and the league itself to market their stars, baseball players just aren’t the marketing behemoths that basketball and football players often are.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities out there for players interested in marketing themselves, rather than leaving the heavy lifting to the league or their organization. What former Cubs catcher David Ross and Detroit Tigers second-baseman Ian Kinsler have done recently is demonstrate what happens when a player takes control of their own story, and uses the power of social media, television, and a bounty of available resources to help sell themselves (and perhaps a few products as well).
Kinsler has done well for himself on the field over the last several years, but has the kind of skills that often fly under the radar. He’s a career .275/.343/.448 hitter, a four-time All-Star, and a 2016 Gold Glove winner, but he’s not usually been regarded as a franchise player, despite performing like one. He’s precisely the kind of player who is beloved on his own team but gets little notice beyond that, in spite of turning highlight-reel double plays, or textbook perfect ball-drops.
Ian Kinsler is not a typical magnet for marketers. Because his appeal doesn’t have the same reach as bigger-name guys on the team like Miguel Cabrera or Justin Verlander, Kinsler is not the first choice for most companies. In spite of that, he has managed to craft an image for himself that mirrors his on-field persona.
In 2016, Warstic, the baseball bat company Kinsler co-owns with Ben Jenkins and White Stripes frontman Jack White, were approved for use in the MLB. Soon the bats were being sported by Kinsler and teammate Nick Castellanos in Tigers games and their popularity spread to other teams. Leading into the 2017 season, Kinsler and White loaned their individual talents to the promotion of Warstic by putting out a series of videos featuring Kinsler preparing for games as if he were a warrior heading into battle, while White’s music accompanied in the background. Kinsler, Tigers pitcher Daniel Norris, and Ben Jenkins were also featured in a short film ahead of the season in which the men learned sniper rifle techniques from Navy SEALs as a means to find their focus in the pressure of a game.
Even in a commercial where Kinsler promoted Beats by Dre headphones, his persona was the same. He is always careful about how he is portrayed, manipulating the medium to create a brand for himself. In every one of these ads he is the serious, contemplative warrior, preparing himself to face off against his enemies. The image crafted is that of a man who takes his sport and himself seriously. It is an effective method to maintain the image of a fierce competitor on the field, and a man whose life beyond the baseball diamond is a mystery, but one can almost picture him climbing onto a horse after the game and riding off into the sunset now that the battle is over.
Back to business…
Joc Pederson was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts as the LA Dodgers (79-33) lost to the host Arizona Diamondbacks, 6-3.
Kevin Pillar was 0-for-4 as the Toronto Blue Jays (53-59) beat the visiting NY Yankees, 4-2.
Richard Bleier did not appear for the Baltimore Orioles (56-57) who lost to the host LA Angels, 3-2.
Conflicting info re: Scott Feldman‘s return. One source says the Cincinnati Reds’ starter should be back by Saturday while another says he’s not as far along in his progress as had been hoped.
Correction: Yesterday I said that early 20th-century Pittsburgh Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss was the only Jew besides Hank Greenberg and Sandy Koufax to have a plaque in Cooperstown. Add former commissioner Bud Selig to the list. Selig was among the latest batch of inductees to go into the Hall. HT to Bob Wechsler for the reminder.
A very light night for baseball with only two of the boys in action.
Ryan Braun — batting second these days — had his best showing in awhile with two singles, a double (#16), and a run scored, but the Minnesota Twins overcame a 4-1 deficit to beat the Milwaukee Brewers (59-55), 5-4.
In a replay of 1909 World Series opponents, Ian Kinsler was 0-for-4 as the Detroit Tigers (51-60) were shut out by the host Pittsburgh Pirates, 3-0. Owner of the Pirates at the time: Barney Dreyfuss, the only Jew with a plaque in the Hall of Fame besides Hank Greenberg and Sandy Koufax (unless you count Lou Boudreau).
Richard Bleier did not appear for the Baltimore Orioles (56-56) in their 6-2 win over the host LA Angels.
And here’s the latest Minor-League Monday report from JewishBaseballNews.com.
Kevin Pillar was 3-for-9 in two games (he missed Friday’s opener) with two runs scored as the Toronto Blue Jays (52-59) lost two of three to the host Houston Astros (71-40). Alex Bregman had one hit in each game, all for extra bases: his 13th home run on Friday, 28th double on Saturday, and third triple yesterday. The homer — a two-run shot to the opposite field — was part of a nine-run eruption by the ‘Stros in the fourth inning. Bregman’s record for the weekend included three walks, two runs scored, and four RBIs.
Danny Valencia also hit lucky #13. His two-run bomb opened the scoring in the first game of a doubleheader yesterday which was necessitated by a rainout on Saturday against between his Seattle Mariners (57-56) and the host KC Royals (he sat out the nightcap). He also had his third triple and a single in this one, so he was just one double shy of a cycle. On Friday, Valencia was 0-for-2 with two sac flies. Is he in danger of losing playing time now that the Mariners have acquired Yonder Alonso?
Ian Kinsler was 4-for-12 with a double and a run scored as the Detroit Tigers (51-59) lost two of the last three games in a four-game set to the host Baltimore Orioles (55-56). Three of those hits came in yesterday’s 12-3 loss. Richard Bleier had another scoreless outing in that one, going 2.1 innings and allowing two hits. In his last 10 appearances, Bleier has given up just two earned runs (three total) in 17 innings.
Ryan Braun split his time between left field and DH as the Milwaukee Brewers (59-54) took two of three from the host Tampa Bay Rays. Braun had two singles in 11 at-bats with two Ks and a walk. The two teams combined for just eight runs over the three meetings with the Brewers winning the first two by shutouts.
Joc Pederson was 0-for-6 as the LA Dodgers (79-32) swept the host NY Mets, a series that also included two shutouts. He walked twice in the Friday game and stole just his second base of the season. Pederson is hitless in his late eight games.
Brad Goldberg did not appear for the Chicago White Sox (41-68) who suffered a four-game sweep at the hands of the host Boston Red Sox .
Used to be, years ago, that we would read about these things in the “agate” section of the sports page, the tiny fonts that gave us information about who was traded or injured or released. In the on-line version we have the Oakland As designated Ryan Lavarnway for assignment late last week. Lavarnway — a pillar of Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic — had two cups of coffee for the As: 11 at-bats over six games with two singles, a double, and two RBI. Here’s hoping he lands somewhere soon, especially since today is his 30th birthday!
Looks like Craig Breslow may have found a new home: The Cleveland Indians signed him to a minor league contract over the weekend. Mazel tov! And Scott Feldman will supposedly be returning soon to the Cincinnati Reds.
In another agate move, the Atlanta Braves called up pitcher Max Fried, one of those “highly touted” prospects who finds himself struggling in the pros. The 23-year-old lefty was just 2-11 with a 5.32 ERA in 19 starts for the team’s Mississippi affiliate in the Southern League (AA) where he walked 43 and struck out 85 in 86.2 innings. Fried has yet to appear in a major league game and until he does he’s not official.
I wonder if the Mets will bring up Cody Decker? The heart and soul of Team Israel is with their AAA affiliate, the Las Vegas 51s after spending some time with their AA club in Binghamton. Don’t know how I feel about this description from AmazinAveue.com, announcing a recent accomplishment in a game against the Oklahoma City Dodgers on Saturday: “The new pitcher, Jacob Rhame, left a big fat one for Cody Decker down and away, and the Jew bid adieu to that miscue, socking it over the left field wall for a game-tying three-run homer.” Between the two teams, Decker has 10 doubles and 10 homers in 68 games.
Congrats to Ian Kinsler. He joined the rest of the MOTs by hitting his 10th home run of the year to lead off the game. He also walked and scored another run in four plate appearances as the Detroit Tigers (50-57) beat the host Baltimore Orioles (53-55), 7-5. It was the fifth time this year and 45th in his career he began a game with a bang. Richard Bleier pitched a scoreless ninth inning for the Orioles, allowing one hit.
Danny Valencia hit his 12th home run and 17th double for the Seattle Mariners (55-55), who lost to the host KC Royals, 6-4. Valencia, who also walked and scored an additional run, leads all JMLs with 54 RBI. The solo shot — an opposite field job — came in the fourth inning to give the Mariners a 2-0 lead but had to be reviewed before becoming official.
Alex Bregman had two singles and a double (#27) in four at-bats, scoring once and driving in a run, but the Houston Astros (69-39) nevertheless lost to the visiting Tampa Bay Rays, 5-3.
Brad Goldberg gave up a run on two hits in 1.1 innings and still got his ERA down, to an even — if ugly — 9.00 as the Chicago White Sox (41-65) lost to the host Boston Red Sox, 9-5.
Joc Pederson popped up on the first pitch he saw as a pinch-hitter as the LA Dodgers (76-32) beat the host Atlanta Braves, 7-4.
Ryan Braun did not appear for the Milwaukee Brewers (57-53) in their 2-1 win over the visiting St. Louis Cardinals. The other Ryan (Lavarnway) did not appear for the Oakland As (48-61) in their 11-2 loss to the host San Francisco Giants. Kevin Pillar and the Toronto Blue Jays had the day off.