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Archive for the ‘Interesting Blogs’ Category

 

Jewish sports update, January 10, 2018

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

NHL

Only two MOT games last night. Michael Cammalleri took one shot on goal in 12:32 as the Edmonton Oilers (18-23-3) couldn’t overcome a 2-0 deficit in the first period, losing to the host Nashville Predators, 2-1.

Jason Zucker took three SOG in 19:20 in the Minnesota Wild’s 3-2 overtime loss to the visiting Calgary Flames. The Wild are (is?) 22-17-4.

On tonight’s docket: Zucker and the Wild move on to Chicago to face the Blackhawks. Zach Hyman and the Toronto Maple Leafs host the Ottawa Senators.

NBA

Omri Casspi and the Golden State Warriors were off yesterday. They host the LA Clippers tonight.

MLB

This could be a make-or-break season for LA Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson.

There’s been chatter that Baltimore orioles pitcher Richard Bleier could wind up in the starting rotation, but according to this piece, maybe he’ll be the closer?

NFL

There are all sorts of metrics the scouts use to see if an athlete  is “worthy” of playing in the NFL, such as the Wonderlic Test. But how much does character count? Is the young man a good team guy? And how easily can rumors quash a career? Josh Rosen might be the target of negative assessments. We know he doesn’t want to play for the Cleveland Browns, but what are the chances the NY Jets claim him?

Only a Game, the public radio sports show, offered this segment on quarterback Bennie Friedman in their series on the history of the forward pass. You can hear the story — “The Son Of Jewish Immigrants Who Became Football’s First Passing Specialist” — here. Thanks to the very informative SportsBiblio.com for the link.

MISC

I don’t know how much Jewish content there is in This Book Has Balls: Sports Rants from the MVP of Talking Trash, by the actor Michael Rapaport, but I’m including it just on the basis of the cover:

Image result for michael rapaport book balls

 

JML update, Feb. 28, 2017

Posted on: February 28th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Haven’t done one of these in awhile so thought it would be a good way to end the month.

First the good news: That documentary about Team Israel and the World Baseball Classic reached its Kickstarter goal! Mazel tov.

 

Ty Kelly is supposed to be one of those players. Here’s my story from a Jewish POV and another from an Irish-Catholic perspective (actually, it heavily references that JBN article). A bit of sad news, though: Craig Breslow, who had been on the roster, has apparently changed his mind. According to a story on JewishBaseballNews.com, “now that he’s legitimately fighting for a bullpen spot with the Minnesota Twins, Breslow feels he can’t afford to leave Spring Training for the WBC.” Zack Thornton, a prospect in the Mets system, has been tabbed to take Breslow’s spot in the bullpen. Jason Marquis, who did not pitch professionally last season, is hoping his work in Korea might serve as a showcase for potential interest among ML clubs. Same could be said for Sam Fuld.

Milwaukee Brewers' Ryan Braun juggles some baseballsRyan Braun fans should be warned: they won’t be seeing him in any spring training action until after the WBC. Not to worry; that seems to be his norm over the past few years.

Ian Kinsler hit a home run in his second spring game.

Danny Valencia got off to a good start for his latest team, the Seattle Mariners. Bad luck for Scott Feldman, though. He didn’t give up a hit but walked two and gave up two unearned runs in his debut with the Cincinnati Reds. Feldman took the loss in a 6-1 decision against the host Arizona Diamondbacks.

Kevin Pillar is getting ready for the long haul.

As for the others, not much to report this early on.

 

Move over, Jeff Rosen; here comes Amar'e

Posted on: June 28th, 2013 by Ron Kaplan

Local businessman Jeff Rosen bought the Maccabi Haifa Heat a few years ago and turned them into champions.

Is NY Knicks’ Amar’e Stoudemire next?

New York Knicks power forward Amar'e Stoudemire

From the Jerusalem Post: “Stoudemire has joined a group in talks to buy Israeli basketball club Hapoel Jerusalem.”

The article notes

Stoudemire, who says he has Jewish roots on his mother’s side, visited Israel in July, 2010, telling The Jerusalem Post that “The Holy Land has always been high on my list of places to visit, and when this opportunity arose, I wasn’t going to push it off any longer.”

“I have been aware since my youth that I am a Hebrew through my mother, and that is something that has played a subtle but important role in my development,” he went on.

“I have never hid my spiritual roots,” he said. “They just weren’t something that came under the spotlight.”

Stoudemire added that he had always channeled his spirituality through the way he played basketball.

“I am proud to be a Hebrew and embrace my Jewish background,” he said.

Toda to KK chaver Jeff Fraum for the tip.

Can Braun possibly win a second MVP?

Posted on: September 19th, 2012 by Ron Kaplan

An interesting deconstruction from The Hardball Times on how the media and baseball administration is perhaps downplaying Ryan Braun’s excellent year by simply not talking about it.

Never on a Sabbath?

Posted on: September 13th, 2012 by Ron Kaplan

Forget the Yom Kippur dilemma, the Value Over Replacement Grit blog is now looking at how Jewish players perform on Shabbat!

First up, Shawn Green.

Note that the netry also links to others about games that fell on Yom Kippur and Passover.

Hammerin' Hank hamsa

Posted on: May 21st, 2012 by Ron Kaplan

A hamsa is the Jewish symbol for protection. Although I know my daughter doesn’t cotton to such gestures, I have her one before she started college.

Here’s one “featuring” Hank Greenberg that appears in an on-line baseball magazine published by EephusLeague.com, wonderfully eclectic baseball entity for the artistically oddball items of the game. The navigation takes a bit of getting used to, but it’s well worth the effort, so check it out.

New Facebook groups seeks to encourage Jewish women athletes

Posted on: March 16th, 2012 by Ron Kaplan

Diana Kurcfeld, “a wife, step-mother/grandmother, business owner and religious Jew,” created this Facebook group. Check it out.

Maybe Eliana Yankelev, a high school track star from Philadelphia, will be a member.

Happy 110th, Moe Berg

Posted on: March 2nd, 2012 by Ron Kaplan

The enigmatic “Athlete/Scholar/Spy” was born this date in New York City in 1902.

Berg spent his formative years in New Jersey, performing brilliantly in the classroom and well enough on the field to merit a professional baseball contract, primarily as a catcher. He made his debut in 1923 with the Brooklyn Dodgers and also played for the Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Washington Senators, and Boston Red Sox over a 15-season career. His best year came with Chicago in 1929 when he appeared in 107 games and drove in 47 (of his total of 206) runs, to go along with a .287 batting average (only .243 for his career).

But Berg was much more than a mediocre player. He was highly educated, had a lot of personal quirks. Then there was that spy business, lauded in story and song, such as this one by Chuck Brodsky:

There is also a “documentary” (with another on the way?):

The only thing that’s missing is a “major motion picture”; I can just see Liev Schreiber in the lead role.

Gary Bedingfield, who specializes in Baseball in Wartime, has this nice bio that highlights Berg’s secret service.

Among the literary tributes:

The Catcher Was a Spy: The Mysterious Life of Moe Berg, by Nicholas Dawidoff (perhaps the best Berg bio)

Moe Berg: Athlete, Scholar, Spy, by Louis Kaufman (the first)

Moe Berg: The Spy Behind Homeplate, by Vivien Grey (for younger readers)

My Time with the Catcher Spy, Morris Moe Berg, by Neil Farkas (perhaps the most personal)

Amazing Life Of Moe Berg, The, by Tricia Andryszewski (another young reader’s book)

My brother Morris Berg : The Real Moe, by Ethel Berg (Moe’s sister. A used copy on Amazon with set you back $25,000. Just sayin’.)

• Berg also plays a prominent role in Robert Fitts’ new book, Banzai Babe Ruth: Baseball, Espionage, and Assassination during the 1934 Tour of Japan. (Review here.)

 

Courtesy JewishMajorLeaguers.org

 

Auschwitz Survivor's grandson plays for Germany's national hockey team

Posted on: February 9th, 2012 by Ron Kaplan

A guest column from Rabbi Jason Miller

One year ago today I waited in line to enter the Reichstag. The moment wasn’t lost on me. Almost seventy years prior, the Nazi government made every effort to wipe my people off the face of this earth. And there I was, with a dozen other American rabbis, about to walk into the historic Berlin building that is the seat of the current German government as Chancellor Angela Merkel was addressing Parliament. I smiled as I handed my passport to the German officer and placed my watch and wallet into the bin before walking through the metal detector. What an interesting world we live in.

Evan Kauffman, right, of the DEG Metro Stars (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Several people asked me how I was able to travel to Berlin and spend money in the same country in which the Holocaust was conceived and planned. I’m sure those same people are asking how American-born hockey player Evan Kaufmann can represent the German national team this weekend. Several of Evan Kaufmann’s relatives perished in the Nazi Holocaust. His grandfather Kurt survived Auschwitz before fleeing to the United States.

Kaufmann moved to Germany in 2008, but word is just getting out about this Jewish hockey player whose great-grandparents perished in the Holocaust playing for the German National Hockey Team (DEG Metro Stars of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga). The 28-year-old forward hopes to bring Germany a victory in the Belarus Cup in Minsk this weekend. Kaufmann, who is married to Danielle, received German citizenship in order to play for the national team, and is among the top scorers in the German ice hockey league. Kaufmann admits his teammates are very curious about him being Jewish and often ask him questions. Kaufmann told the UK’s Daily Mail, “I didn’t have to think hard about it. It is a great honour but it will also be a very emotional moment for me when I hear the national anthem played.”

Evan Kaufmann’s bio on the DEG Metro Stars website explains:

Kaufman, left, battles for the puck.

Evan Kaufmann joined the team in the summer of 2008. He was the great unknown to the team of DEG Metro Stars. A college player with had no experience in professional hockey made​​, received a German passport has in a very short time captured the hearts of the audience. His technical finesse and his speed made ​​him a major player in the third line of attack in Dusseldorf. So it was no surprise that his contract was extended for a few months ahead of schedule for two more years. It should be worth it. In the 2010-11 season Kauffman became the second-leading scorer behind Patrick Reimer. Together with Tyler Beechey and James Connor, he made a splendid swirling storm formation, which has established itself as the second offensive series and was instrumental in moving into the playoff semi-final. Kaufmann, whose grandfather came from Germany, began his career in the American Junior League for the River City Lancers. After a very strong year Kaufmann moved to the University of Minnesota to study and play Hockey. After his four years at the University of Minnesota, he devoted himself entirely to hockey.

While Kaufmann isn’t the first Jewish individual to compete for Germany in the post-Holocaust era (a Jewish man swam for Germany in the 1952 Olympics and a Jewish woman swam for Germany in the 2004 Olympics), he is the most notable. It is certainly an interesting story that seven decades after his great-grandparents and other relatives were murdered by the Nazis, Kaufmann is proud to represent Germany on the ice. This is just one more way in which the Jewish community will come to view Germany differently. Never forgetting the massive tragedy of the Holocaust, we understand that this is a new Germany… A Germany we can cheer for proudly in this weekend’s Belarus Cup. Good luck to Evan Kaufmann and his DEG Metro Stars.

Rabbi Jason Miller is on Twitter @rabbijason. He blogs at blog.rabbijason.com

 

ESPN Science: Class is in session

Posted on: February 8th, 2012 by Ron Kaplan

Because everyone knows that Jews are all about education.

Sure the all-sports network can be blamed for countless wasted hours (how many times can you watch basically the same episode of Sports Center?) But give them credit for ESPN Science, which combines sports with, well, science (duh), plus a lot of math.

These brief segments feature high profile players such as basketball players Dwight Howard and Kevin Love, NY Giant Jason Pierre-Paul, golfer Bubba Watson, and Arizona D’backs, Mrk Reynolds, among many more. It’s great that so many athletes are willing to participate.

Among my favorites: Prince Amukamara and his coverage area of 176 square feet; Amar’e Stoudemire vs. a piano to see who can break an unbreakable backboard first; and whether ’tis easier to hit a baseball of a cricket ball.

The program throws out a lot of physics terms that are beyond me and, cynically speaking, questionable; who’s going to refute any of this. Still it’s educational and entertaining. There are a lot of them on Youtube; check ’em out.

   
 

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