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What Yom Kippur dilemma?

Posted on: September 25th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

It’s not just the Jewish ballplayers who have to deal with how to handle the High Holy Days (also happy to note that my main man, Tony Kornheiser, did not appear on Pardon the Interruption on the Day of Atonement).

Received an email from Jeremy Rosenberg, a 19-year-old ballboy for the Detroit Tigers, who made the decision to “honor his religion,” as they said about another Tiger, back in the day. I invited Jeremy to supply a guest entry. Here’s his story.

Being passionate about different things is great and can lead to countless opportunities. But what do you do when you have to choose between those passions? Sometimes one is just that much more important than the other.

I’m Jewish and I also happen to be a ballboy for the Detroit Tigers.

This fall, I was scheduled to work quite a few games, sitting on the first- or third-base lines or working in the clubhouse. Once August ended, I took a look at the September schedule and noticed my name was penciled in for both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

What was I to do? I thought about it and remembered that there had been great men in a somewhat similar situation before me: Hank Greenberg and Sandy Koufax. Greenberg, a member of my own team, had taken the day off during a pennant race, while Koufax abstained from his scheduled start in Game 1 of the World Series in 1965. Certainly I could miss a couple days of retrieving baseballs that are already out-of-play.

Honestly, it wasn’t a hard decision for me. I was obviously going to ask my boss for those days off so I could go to services with my family like I do every year. That being said, it did feel good to momentarily group myself with Jewish Hall of Famers who had done the same thing.

This wasn’t the first time that being a ball boy and my Judaism had come together. The first game I ever worked was erev Pesach and on that day I had the nerve to invite Ian Kinsler and [manager] Brad Ausmus to a seder that I wasn’t even hosting. They both said no, but it was cool to be able to ask.

Hopefully I’ll be back with the team next year, and though I might need to sit out again, it would be even more fun to see guys like Kinsler, Alex Bregman, Ryan Braun, Joc Pederson, Kevin Pillar, and others take a day off in observance of the holiday. You never know!

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