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Archive for the ‘Jewish identity’ Category

 

Talking about Hank Greenberg at SABR Day

Posted on: January 29th, 2019 by Ron Kaplan

Posted this to my blog about baseball books, so rather than reinvent the wheel, I’m simply offering the link for the event which featured fellow MOT authors Howard Megdal (The Baseball Talmud) and Lincoln Mitchell discussing their work.

The entry includes the nearly one-hour video of the panel.

Omri Casspi Update

Posted on: November 28th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

Yeah, yeah, I know. It’s been awhile since I wrote about Omri Casspi. You expect me to post with consistency? As Emerson said, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall.”

So now that I’ve shown off a bit, let’s get to the heart of the matter.

Casspi has appeared in 14 of the Memphis Grizzlies’ 20 games, which is pretty good for him. Means he hasn’t sustained any serious injuries, although he did miss five straight games earlier this month with a knee problem. One of those included a visit from the Golden State Warriors, who presented Casspi with a championship ring. It certainly was a source of pride for the MOT community. And it’s the least the Warriors could have done, considering the shabby way they let him go with just two games left in the regular season. Not only did he miss out on playing on that victorious squad, but who was going to sign him with just a couple of contests remaining? But business is business, I suppose.

Casspi scored 10 points in last night’s 122-114 loss to the visiting Toronto Raptors but the Grizzlies are still doing well at 12-8, good for a fifth-place tie in the Western Conference and just a game and a half out of first. His return to the lineup came at an opportune time.

Here are Casspi’s season highs:

Minutes: 24, 10/19 vs. Atlanta Hawks
Points: 11, twice, 10/19 vs. Atlanta Hawks and 11/21 vs. San Antonio Spurs
Rebounds: 6, 11/21 vs. San Antonio Spurs
Assists: 3, 10/27 vs. Phoenix Suns
Steals: 1, three times
Blocked Shots: 2, 11/21 vs. San Antonio Spurs

So fingers crossed, Casspi will remain healthy, the Grizzlies will continue to stay in the hunt, and he’ll get that post-season chance denied to him last year.

Maccabiah Update

Posted on: November 27th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

It’s been a while since I posted any news about the Maccabi sports movement, including the Maccabiah Games. Here’s an attempt to remedy.

You can see that the Maccabi movement in Great Britain is very active. One of my regrets during my recent trip to England was not being able to visit them, as well as missing out on the British Baseball Federation. Oh, well, maybe next time.

Finally, On December 9…

 

You can’t click on the image to access the page, so just drop them an email or call ’em up.

Here’s a piece from the NJ Jewish News I wrote about Jeff Bukantz and other locals who participated in the 2013 Games. I know there are other stories about JB, including a discussion of his book about his dad, Daniel, himself a fencing legend, but unfortunately they don’t appear to be on the NJJN website.

And finally, finally, some shameless self-promotion: if you are interested in having me speak to your synagogue or group about my book, The Jewish Olympics: The History of the Maccabiah Games (or any of my other books for that matter), drop me a line and let’s chat.

Image result for kaplan, jewish olympics

 

Welcome back, Brad

Posted on: October 22nd, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

Image result for brad ausmusBrad Ausmus returns to the ranks of field generals in baseball. He was named as skipper of the LA Angels, replacing long-time manager Mike Soscia who had ben with the team since 2000.

Ausmus, 49, led the Detroit Tigers for four seasons (2014-17). He took the team to the post-season in his rookie year, but was eliminated in the LDS series. Some say that his initial campaign was a success (90-72) because he inherited a good squad from his predecessor, Jim Leland. Ausmus finished under .500 in two of the next three years. He served in the front office of the Angels as a special assistant to the general manager.

As a player, Ausmus — primarily a catcher — enjoyed an 18-year career with the Houston Astros, LA Dodgers, Tigers, and San Diego Padres. He appeared in a JML-leading 1,971 games and finished with marks of .251 batting average, 80 home runs, and 607 runs batted in.

Ausmus was inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2004. In a 2009 article published by the Jewish Journal  of Greater Los Angeles, Ausmus — who also managed the Israeli National Team in the World Baseball Classic qualifiers in 2013 — said, “I have had quite a few young Jewish boys who will tell me that I am their favorite player, or they love watching me play or they feel like baseball is a good fit for them because it worked for me, or it worked for Shawn Green or other Jewish players at the Major League level. It has been a sense of pride. If you can have a positive impact on a kid, I’m all for it.”

Image result for brad ausmus israel

YKD 2018

Posted on: September 12th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

As in “Yom Kippur Dilemma”…

It happens every year. We wonder if/hope that any of the Jewish Major Leaguers will mimic ancient heroes like Hank Greenberg and Sandy Koufax and refuse to play on the Day of Atonement which this year runs from Tuesday night, Sept. 18, through Wednesday, the 19th.

Image result for yom kippur , baseball  Image result for yom kippur , baseball

There are several teams in the hunt for a post-season berth. That could conceivably have an impact on yea-or-nay. Here’s the breakdown. All times are local:

The Boston Red Sox seem like a lock to finish in first place in the AL East so Ian Kinsler could take the time off. But wait: the Sox are scheduled to play the Yankees in New York at 1 p.m. Deference to the holiday? The Wednesday game takes place at 7:05 the next night. So his decision, if any, seems moot.

The first-place (AL West) Houston Astros play host to the Seattle Mariners at 8-ish on both Tuesday and Wednesday. The ‘Stros are currently three up on the second-place Oakland A’s. What will MVP candidate Alex Bregman do?

Ryan Braun and the Milwaukee Brewers are close in the NL Central. They host a night game on Tuesday against the visiting Cincinnati Reds.

Joc Pederson has seen limited playing time of late, so he could sit when the second-place LA Dodgers host a Tuesday night game against the Colorado Rockies, currently in front of them in the NL West.

The Philadelphia Phillies are still in contention for the top spot in the NL East (barely). Would manager Gabe Kapler consider handing the reigns over to a coach for the Tuesday night game against the visiting NY Mets?

With the expanded rosters, the Atlanta Braves — tops in the NL East — could do without the services of Max Fried for their games against the visiting St. Louis Cardinals.

The Toronto Blue Jays are out of it so their exciting rookie, Rusty Tellez, and wily veteran, Kevin Pillar, could get the time off without upsetting anything. Same for back-up catcher Ryan Lavarnway (Pittsburgh Pirates) and reliever Robert Stock (San Diego Padres).

Of course, none of the JMLs has shown any evidence of religious observance in the past, so there’s no need to get too excited. But it’s nice to dream.

Philly Jewish Sports Hall announces new inductees

Posted on: May 17th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

The Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame will induct six new members in its next class, according to a story in the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. They include Lou Scheinfeld, a “longtime executive who now serves as president and CEO of the in-the-works Museum of Sports”; former University of Pennsylvania basketball standout Bruce Lefkowitz; the late boxer-turned-trainer Marty Feldman; former MLB catcher Jesse Levis; former field hockey and lacrosse star and coach Lauren Becker Rubin; and longtime Maccabi youth basketball coach Brian Schiff.

Holocaust survivor photo exhibit to be part of Super Bowl week

Posted on: January 28th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

While there are no Jewish players in this year’s Super Bowl, that doesn’t mean there is no Jewish content. The game will be held at the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, home of the Minnesota Vikings, which are owned by The Wilf family. I did a piece on Zygi Wilf shortly after he acquired the team in 2005.

Now, with the help of the Minnesota Vikings, Wilf Family Foundations, and Delta Airlines, the MSP International Airport will be the site of a photo exhibition of local Holocaust survivors living. “Transfer of Memory” is a joint venture of The Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC) and the Airport Foundation MSP and the Metropolitan Airports Commission.

The exhibition is on display at both Terminals 1 and 2 at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, located near gate C18 in the film screening room (“See 18”) at Terminal 1, and at the Arts@MSP Gallery, across from gate H3 at Terminal 2. Since exhibits at both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 are located post-security, those planning to see the exhibits will need a boarding pass to get through security.

From the press release:

“The Wilf family is proud to help support the Transfer of Memory exhibit at MSP Airport. We hope that travelers visiting Minnesota for the upcoming Super Bowl will pause for a few moments to learn and reflect on this time in history that is deeply ingrained in the life of our family and world history,” said Mark Wilf, Owner and President of the Minnesota Vikings and Co-Chair of the Jewish Federations of North America’s National Holocaust Survivors Initiative.

Each Holocaust survivor in Transfer of Memory shares a story of survival during exceedingly difficult circumstances, yet as a collection, these images focus on life and hope. From Europe to Minnesota, it was here they fashioned their dreams, their futures, and their families – their lives are a constant reminder of the value of freedom and the enduring human spirit. Photographer David Sherman and writer Lili Chester, in partnership with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, created this photography exhibition.

“This exhibition has enabled the JCRC’s Holocaust education program to bring lessons of the Shoah (Holocaust) to communities in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota who otherwise might not receive firsthand accounts from Holocaust survivors. We thank everyone at the MAC and the Airport Foundation MSP for their leadership and tireless work to bring Transfer of Memory to MSP,” said Steve Hunegs, JCRC executive director.

Exhibition photographer David Sherman added, “The urgency for this project is so clear. Our survivor community is aged and aging. The number of living Holocaust survivors is becoming fewer and fewer. It is important for me to ensure that survivors are remembered in a respectful and beautiful way – by face, by name, and by story. Today we stand at a critical time in regard to the Holocaust. After 70 years since the end of the war, we are in the midst of a ‘transfer of memory.’ The witness to the horrors, hardships, and brutalities of the Holocaust is shifting from those who saw and survived, to a retelling of their testimony. We are shifting our focus from the power and reliability of sight and personal experience to the trustworthiness and importance of hearing.”

“This is a deeply moving and powerful exhibit that links Minnesota to an important chapter in world history,” said Robyne Robinson, Arts@MSP Director for Airport Foundation MSP. “We’ve been working for some time to bring the exhibit to MSP Airport and we’re pleased to have the opportunity to host it for the traveling public.”

The exhibition features 44 portraits of survivors living – or who lived – in Minnesota. The color images depict the survivors as living full and fulfilled lives – full of life and vitality – not defined by victimhood. Each survivor was photographed in their home and everyone was interviewed and videotaped prior to making their portrait. Lili Chester’s text, distilled from the survivor interviews, accompanies each portrait and provides background and a short history in the survivors’ own words. “It is my hope and prayer that these images add an important visual proof to accompany the oral testimony,” added Sherman.

This exhibition is curated by JCRC staff members, Laura Zelle and Susie Greenberg, and is a collaboration between David Sherman, Lili Chester, and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas. The exhibit will be on display at MSP Airport through February 5, 2018. For more information about the exhibition, please visit http://transferofmemory.org. Follow @TransferMemory on Twitter, @TransferofMemory on Instagram, and @TransferofMemory on Facebook.

Here’s some additional coverage from KARE 11 (NBC affiliate) and the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Jewish sports update, January 11, 2018

Posted on: January 11th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

In last night’s action…

NBA

Omri Casspi played 24 minutes of the bench, scoring six points with three rebounds, three assists, and two steals, but the Golden State Warriors (33-9) dropped this one to the visiting LA Clippers, 125-106.

NHL

Just two games last night, both involving MOTs. No such similar circumstances tonight.

Jason Zucker had an assist on the Minnesota Wild’s first goal in their 2-1 win over the host Chicago Blackhawks. It was the 16th on the year for Zucker, who took three shots on goal in 13:33. The Wild improve to 23-17-4. Nice to see he’s making a difference off the ice as wellZucker of the Wild and his wife Carly are partnering with University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital to build a family suite and broadcast studio. That’s Zucker on the left with Michael  E. Jordan and Alex Fenner of the sports apparel firm UNRL.

Former Bear goalie’s firm donates to hospital project planned by Wild player

Zach Hyman took one shot in 19:11 as the Toronto Maple Leafs (25-17-3) lost to the visiting Ottawa Senators, 3-2.

Breaking (?) Jice news: There’s evidently still some dispute over the Jewish identity of Andre Burakovsky of the Washington Capitols. You may recall there was a bit of discrepancy a couple of years ago as to whether he denied being Jewish. But he’s still listed as such in the latest edition of the Jewish Sports Review and that’s good enough for me. To recap his season, Burakovsky has three goals and five assists in just 21 games due to a combination of injury and healthy scratches. The Caps are first in the Metropolitan Division/ second in the Eastern Conference with a record of 27-13-3.

Image result for jakob chychrunA “new” Jice-man, according to JSR, is Jakob Chychrun, a 19-year-old, 6-2, 200 pound defenseman for the Arizona Coyotes. He has appeared in 16 games this season with one goal and five assists. According to Bob Wechsler, author of Day by Day in Jewish Sports History and The Jewish Baseball Card Book, “His mother must be Jewish, because his father [Jeff] played in the NHL.” Chychrun the younger actually made his NHL debut last year.

NFL

Fair or not, one ESPN contributor picked Adam Bisnowaty as the most disappointing rookie for the NY Giants: “This is probably nitpicking a bit. Bisnowaty was a sixth-round pick out of Pittsburgh. He wasn’t supposed to make an immediate impact. He was, however, supposed to make the roster. Instead, he sat on the practice squad for the first 16 weeks of the season and looked overmatched in pass protection during his one appearance in the finale against the Redskins.”

MLB

Legendary sports writer Irwin Cohen contributed this piece on Jews and baseball to the Brooklyn-based Jewish Press.

MISC.

Sports sandals, anyone? These come from the Israeli firm, Naot.

Source by Naot sandals

 

 

Jewish sports update, January 10, 2018

Posted on: January 10th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

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

 

Jewish Sports Review review

Posted on: September 26th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Image result for jewish sports reviewAs I mentioned in the previous entry, recently received the latest issue of JSR which includes:

  • College Football Previews (D-I, II, and III)
  • NFL Preview
  • Pro Hockey Review (2016-17)
  • College Soccer Reviews (men and women)
  • Sports Shorts
  • A recap of the 2017 Maccabiah Games
  • A list of women’s top performances in track& field

The Jewish Sports Review is a must for any true fan of, well, Jewish sports and is only available in print edition. I keep hoping that will change. Can you imagine an outlet that keeps track of these people and issues on a daily basis? If you look at an issue and see how many athletes that would include, you’d understand what a Samson-ish undertaking that would be. I tried to make Kaplan’s Korner that kind of source when I was working at the NJ Jewish News (did I mention it was named blog of the year by the New Jersey Press Association in 2015?), but since that was only a portion of my job description, it was impractical. These days it’s even more difficult, since I actually have to work for a living now.

For further information about JSR, call 310-838-6626 or send an e-mail to shel@jewishsportsreview.com.

   
 

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