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Archive for the ‘Jews and basketball’ Category

 

Philly Jewish Sports Hall announces new inductees

Posted on: May 17th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan No Comments

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.

And now, the rest of the story (UPDATE)

Posted on: May 16th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan No Comments

To take a page from Paul Harvey (no relation to major Mets disappointment Matt)…

I have been majorly remiss in not reporting on anything but baseball. So let’s address that now.

NBA

Omri Casspi has laid up his final shot for the Warriors. (Photo: Facebook)Omri Casspi was waived by the Golden State Warriors just before the end of the regular season, thereby terminating his chance to make it into the playoffs. It’s not a stretch to say that the timing sucked. Casspi — the first Israeli to make it to the NBA — was a pretty good guy to have coming off your bench, regardless for whom he played. Obviously it was too late in the season for another team to pick him up, but here’s hoping we’ll see hime again next season. By the way, T.J. Leaf may be the first Israeli to make it to the post-season, but he’s not a MOT.

NHL

At this point, Andre Burakovsky (Washington Capitols) and Brendon Leipsic (Las Vegas Knights) are the only two Jice-men still active.

Burakovsky — whose connection with Judaism has been an issue over the last couple of years (he claims he’s not Jewish but the Jewish Sports Review stands by their “ruling” that he is based on their qualifications) —  appeared in 56 games for the Caps (49-26-7, third in the Eastern Conference), putting 12 pucks in the net and assisting on a baker’s dozen. Washington leads the Tampa Bay Lightning two games to one in their conference matchup. They beat the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round, four games to two. In the next round, they put away the Pittsburgh Penguins, also 4-2.

Leipsic, a 23-year-old rookie, had five goals and 17 assists in 58 games for the amazingly successful expansion Knights, who ended their inaugural season with a mark of 51-24-7, good for third place in the West. They are tied with the Winnipeg Jets in the Conference Finals at 1-1, having knocked out Jason Zucker and the Minnesota Wild in the first round. The Knights then ousted the San Jose Sharks, 4-2, in round two to move to the next-to-last step.

Zucker had an outstanding season for the Wild (45-26-11, fourth in the Western Conference). He appeared in all 82 games and led all Jewish players in goals (33) and assists (31). Zucker did not put up a point in the series with the Jets. He is also a finalist in the running for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, given to “the NHL player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community.” According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune,

Zucker and his wife, Carly, raised funds for the Zucker Family Suite and Broadcast Studio at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, a space that allows children and their families to watch Wild games in a game-like setting. They donated $160,000 to start the project, and also contributed $1,600 for each goal Zucker, who wears No. 16, scored (33) this season. In seven months, the project has raised more than $900,000.

Zach Hyman and the Toronto Maple Leafs made great leaps over the last two seasons. They came in at 49-26-11, fourth in the East. Compare that with 29-42-11 in 2015-16 and 40-27-15 last year. They were eliminated in the first round of this year’s playoffs by the Boston Bruins.

Michael Cammalleri — at 35 the senior statesman among Jewish NHLers — appeared in a total of 66 games, split between the LA Kings (15 games, three goals, four assists) and Edmonton Oilers (51 games, 4/18), to whom he was traded in mid-November. The Kings finished in the seventh spot in the West with a record of 45-29-8. They were swept by the Knights in the first round. The Oilers were pretty awful, however, 36-40-6, eighth in the West.

Jason Demers appeared in 69 games for the Arizona Coyotes  (29-41-12, last in the West), contributing six goals and 14 assists.

Jakob Chychrun, also a member of the Coyotes, had his share of injuries, appearing in just 50 games with four goals and ten assists.

Josh Ho-Sang was a lightning rod for the NY Islanders this year. For some reason, he was constantly in the news, an indicator of why the team was doing poorly, even though he scored twice and assisted on 12 in just 22 games. He spent most of the year with the AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Some said he had a bad work ethic, a bad attitude, etc. Others say he was injured and didn’t want to let on. Let’s just hope for better times ahead. The Isles finished 11th in the East at 35-37-10.

NFL

Not much to report since the Arizona Cardinals selected Josh Rosen as their No. 1 pick (10th overall) in the NFL draft, much to the former UCLA QB’s annoyance. And that annoyance has stirred up something that may or may not be there, as far as anti-Semitic sentiments go. Tablet Magazine took a tongue-in-cheek approach in this piece.

Image result for josh rosen, anti-semitism

Despite the JSR’s declaration that Rosen meets their requirements, this piece from The New Yorker would seem to go against the one about not identifying with another religion. According to the article by Zach Helfand, “Rosen is the son of a Jewish father and a Quaker mother. He had a bar mitzvah but attended a Catholic high school, where he went to weekly mass and gave confession twice a semester.” So unless that confession thing was just going through the motions…

BTW, the question of religious identity is always tricky. A Jewish lad might have a bar mitzvah (although I guess “having” one is a moot point since it’s automatic) but later decide to convert. A Nazi might say, once a Jew, always a Jew. I leave this issue to more enlightened and educated minds.

As for the handful of other JFLers:

  • Ali Marpet preparing for a new position on the O-Line?
  • The NY Giants waived Adam Bisnowaty, who never made it to the official roster. UPDATE: Since posting this earlier today, news came down that he was claimed off waivers by the Detroit Lions.
  • Also around: Mitchell Schwartz, KC Chiefs, of whom great things are expected next season; and Nate Ebner (New England Patriots), who will be coming back from a season-sending injury.

MSL

Soccer. Ugh.

If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you know my antipathy for the sport. Too much running around with nothing to show for it. Too much moving back and forth of players between teams and leagues. Too much time between games. Zzzzzz. But in the interest of fair play, I should mention the few Jews in the Major Soccer League. Thanks to the folks at JSR and Bob Wechsler for doing the leg work on this.

According to their calculating, these are the Jews of the MSL (standings as of this writing):

  • Steve Birnbaum, Defender, DC United (1-5-2, 11th — last — in Eastern Conference)
  • Benny Feilhaber, Midfielder, Los Angeles Football Club (6-2-2, second in Western Conference)
  • Zac McMath, Goalkeeper, Colorado Rapids (3-6-1, ninth in West)
  • Daniel Steres, Defender, LA Galaxy (2-5-2, 11th — but not last — in West. That’s another thing: 23 teams in the league? They couldn’t have found one more to make things easy?)

Wechsler added in his email on the topic:

  • Andrew Jacobson of Vancouver and Zach Pfeffer of Colorado have retired.
  • Jonathan Spector of Orlando does not identify as Jewish. His Jewish grandfather was Art “Speed” Spector, was the first player ever signed by the Boston Celtics.
  • Kyle Beckman of Real Salt Lake is listed as Jewish in many sources. He recently married a woman in a Greek Orthodox ceremony. From what I hear, you must be willing to be ID’d as Greek Orthodox in order to participate in its wedding ceremony.

So there you have it, folks. I know there are several items I’ve neglected, such as Soren Thompson‘s upcoming induction into the USA Fencing Hall of Fame, and for that my apologies. I hope to do better in the future.

In the meantime, don’t forget about my most recent book, Hank Greenberg in 1938: Hatred and Home Runs in the Shadow of War, in this, the 80th anniversary of that special season.

Warriors deal Casspi unkindest cut of all

Posted on: April 9th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

Haven’t been dealing with the non-baseball sports for the past few weeks but figured to catch up now that the hockey and basketball (almost) post-seasons are upon us. But when I saw that the Golden State Warriors released Omri Casspi with two games left on the season, I had to post now.

From today’s New York Times piece by Marc Stein:

… Casspi signed a one-year deal for the league-minimum $2.1 million, spurning interest from the Nets, who were poised to pay him closer to $5 million this season. A product of the perennial Israeli power Maccabi Tel Aviv, Casspi mostly wanted to win again, having played for only one playoff team in his first nine seasons in the N.B.A. (Houston in 2013-14) and appearing in precisely zero playoff games.

Ending that humbling playoff drought would be a lock alongside stars like Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, which made Kerr’s pitch even more attractive. But very little, in the end, went right for Casspi in the Bay Area.

With the start of the playoffs a week away, Casspi was summoned by team officials Saturday night after the 80th of 82 games and informed that he was being waived to make roster room to convert the reserve guard Quinn Cook’s two-way developmental contract into a full-fledged N.B.A. contract before the postseason began.

This year, Casspi appeared in 53 games, averaging an even 14 minutes per. The other numbers — points, assists, rebounds — are inconsequential given such a short span and so I’ve omitted them.

Do you think the Warriors should have treated him better? Do you think they should have given him more of a chance? Probably. But don’t ever think this is not a business.

Jewish sports update, January 31, 2018

Posted on: January 31st, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

NBA

Omri Casspi and the Golden State Warriors (40-11) suffered a rare blowout loss, dropping this one by 30 points to the host Utah Jazz, 129-99. Casspi showed signs of rust, playing 11 minutes, scoring two points, but committing three turnovers and two personal fouls.

NHL

Jason Zucker scored his 20th goal of the year, connecting on one of the four shots he took as the Minnesota Wild (27-18-5) beat the host Columbus Blue Jackets, 3-2, in a shootout. It was the seventh consecutive game with a goal or an assist for Zucker, who played 16:31 and served a two-minute penalty for delay of game. The Wild host Brendan Leipsic‘s Vegas Golden Knights on Friday. Leipsic took one SOG in 10:29 as the Knights (33-12-4) beat the host Calgary Flames, 4-2.

David Warsofsky was a scratch as his Colorado Avalanche (27-18-4) fell to the host Vancouver Canucks, 3-2.

Tonight, Zach Hyman and the Toronto Maple Leafs host the NY Islanders while Andre Burakovsky and the Washington Capitols entertain the Philadelphia Flyers.

MLB

Alex Bregman is proud of his days at LSUis and vice versa.

The Jays Journal blog asks, “Is Kevin Pillar the next domino to fall to clear the outfield clutter?”

Ryan Braun is clearly on board with the direction his Milwaukee Brewers have taken.

Cardinals Brewers Baseball

MLB Commissioner Emeritus Bud Selig will explore the integration of America’s pastime and diversity in the game from 1945 through today during a discussion on Wednesday, Feb. 7, at the Jewish Museum Milwaukee. The program will be part of the museum’s new exhibit, “Allied in the Fight: Jews, Blacks and the Struggle for Civil Rights,” which is on view until March 25.

Misc.

JTA posted this piece on “5 Jewish storylines to watch” at the 2018 Winter Olympics, one to which the Jewish state will be sending its largest contingent to date.

 

 

Jewish sports update, January 30, 2018

Posted on: January 30th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

NBA

Omri Casspi and the Golden State Warriors visit the Utah Jazz tonight.

NHL

After the All-Star break, action resumes tonight with Jason Zucker and the Minnesota Wild visiting the Columbus Blue Jackets; Brandon Leipsic and the Vegas Golden Knights visiting the Calgary Flames; and David Warshofsky and the Colorado Avalanche visiting the Vancouver Canucks.

Jason Demers is listed as day-to-day with an upper body injury as the Arizona Coyotes prepare for their Thursday game against the Dallas Stars.

MLB

Kevin Pillar, aka “Superman” to his Toronto Blue Jay fans, “wants to fly higher than ever before.”

Ryan Braun will indeed start working out at first base for the Milwaukee Brewers to help with their overcrowded outfield situation.

Alex Bregman served as the keynote speaker for LSU’s First Pitch Banquet this past Sunday.

I guess you get stories like this one regarding Gabe Kapler during the off-season.

The Cleveland Jewish News weighs in on the local team’s decision to retire the Chief Wahoo logo. Next year.

Misc.

Quarterback Josh Rosen, who decided not to return to UCLA so he can go into the next NFL Draft, will participate in the 2018 State Farm All-Star Football Challenge this week. The competition will feature 24 players from the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC. The athletes will be divided into six teams based on their college conference. Each team will consist of four players from the same conference who will compete for conference supremacy in a series of skills competitions. The event will be televised on Friday, Feb. 2, at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

Former NFLer Geoff Schwartz on “Why everyone loves the underdog Eagles, especially the Eagles”

Soccer clubs across Germany pay tribute to Holocaust victims

Kenyan soccer kids receive Maccabi kits from the Australian contingent

Jewish sports update, January 29, 2018

Posted on: January 29th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

NBA

No game for Omri Casspi and the Golden State Warriors. Maybe the extra time off — their next game is tomorrow night at the Utah Jazz — will help him in his post-flu recovery.

NHL

No games; All-Star break. Action resumes tomorrow with Jason Zucker and the Minnesota Wild visiting the Columbus Blue Jackets; Brandon Leipsic and the Vegas Golden Knights visiting the Calgary Flames; and David Warshofsky and the Colorado Avalanche visiting the Vancouver Canucks.

MLB

If I were scheduled to make $20 million this year, I’d be a good sport, too. Ryan Braun says he’ll play anywhere his Milwaukee Brewers want him to. Including second base (?).

Golf

Laetitia Beck of Israel placed 10th in the LPGA Pure Silk Bahamas Classic for her second career top-10 finish. She placed eighth in the same event last year. Beck finished at 3-under par, seven strokes behind winner Brittany Lincicome.

Alexander Levy of France finished fourth in the European PGA Tour Dubai Desert Classic. He finished at 19-under par, four strokes behind winner Li Haotong of China.

Thanks to Bob Wechsler for the linx info.

Misc.

The South African Minister of Sports boycotted the Davis Cup match between his country and Israel Boo-hoo.

 

 

Jewish sports update, January 28, 2018

Posted on: January 28th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

NBA

Omri Casspi, still recovering from the aftereffects of the flu, played just four minutes for the Golden State Warriors (40-10), making one steal which led to a Stephen Curry three-pointer.

NHL

No activity over the weekend because tonight is the NHL All-Star Game. No MOTs on the rosters, not too surprisingly.

MLB

Mazel tov to Alex Bregman, who was named “Headliner of the Year” by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association.

Could the Brewers be moving Ryan Braun to first base? Seems a shame as he looks like a pretty decent outfielder (to one who doesn’t watch him on a regular basis).

Will Craig Breslow return to the Cleveland Indians? The LOOGY has had two stints with the Tribe, the first in 2007 and the most recently last season. Overall, he’s appeared in 14 games, tossing 12.2 innings with no won/loss record or saves.

Kind of funny, some of the questions asked about teams. For example “Who will be the next Blue Jay to get 20 steals?” I mean, 20 is a pretty low bar to set. Kevin Pillar was the last Toronto player to swipe that many, by the way.

And FYI, pitchers and catchers start reporting for Spring Training on Feb. 12, although some teams haven’t officially set their dates yet.

 

 

 

Where’s Casspi?

Posted on: January 28th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

Omri Casspi: 'That was the worst pain I've ever had'What’s been with Omri Casspi‘s minutes lately? In the past four games for the Golden State Warriors he’s played, respectively, zero, two, zero, and four last night in a 109-105 win over the visiting Boston Celtics? Turns out it was the residual effects of the flu which led to back spasms.

From Yahoo Sports:

Casspi caught the flu just before the Warriors’ five-game road trip — which ultimately led to terrible back spasms, which led to him finding himself out of Golden State’s rotation right now.

“I’ve had surgeries, all kinds of stuff. This was the worst pain I’ve ever had,” Casspi told The Athletic on Wednesday. “That night (in Milwaukee), it was awful. Really bad. Couldn’t sleep. Couldn’t walk.

“Kind of got nervous there for a moment. I’ve never felt anything like it. I was able to sleep for like two, three hours after that. I was kind of laying on my side. Found a comfortable situation so I could sleep. I saw them at 9.”

Casspi was inactive in Milwaukee, Toronto or Cleveland.

He returned against Chicago, but did not play in the Warriors’ loss in Houston — despite being active.

Against the Knicks on Tuesday, he only saw action in garbage time.

“It’s hard to get everybody out there. So I think (the back spasms) set him back in terms of the rotation,” Steve Kerr told The Athletic. “The next time we have a game where we are dead in the water, I’m going to throw Omri out there and he’s going to cut to the rim, generate more pace and we’re going to go: ‘Man, we gotta play this guy more.'”

Considering the severity of the flu season this year, here’s wishing Casspi and everyone else else suffering a speedy and complete recovery.

 

 

 

Jewish sports update, January 24, 2018

Posted on: January 24th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

Missed the last couple of days, but rather than backtrack, we’re just going to pretend I’m current.

Just a quick congrats to the Robert Kraft-owned New England Patriots and Jeff Lurie-owned Philadelphia Eagles, who will face each other in Super Bowl LII on February 4.

In other football news:

As for the games played on Jan. 23:

NBA

Omri Casspi played just two minutes in last night’s 123-112 win for the Golden State Warriors (38-10) over the visiting NY Knicks.

NHL

Brandon Leipsic played 13:47 without taking a shot on goal for the Vegas Blue Knights in their 6-3 win over the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets.

Michael Cammalleri was a scratch for the Edmonton Oilers in their 5-0 loss to the visiting Buffalo Sabres.

David Warsofsky was a scratch for the Colorado Avalanche in their 4-2 loss to the host Montreal Canadiens.

And the “latest” on…

And lest we forget, Red Fisher, widely considered one of the best hockey writers in the game, who died last Friday at the age of 91.

MLB

The Pittsburgh Pirates signed catcher Ryan Lavarnway to a minor league contract. Lavarnway, 30, appeared in six games for the Oakland As in 2017. He made his debut with the Boston Red Sox in 2011. According to MLBTradeRumors.com, “The Pirates announced a slate of non-roster invitees to Spring Training today, including catcher Ryan Lavarnway, whose minor league deals had not been previously reported. Lavarnway, 30, has appeared in parts of six big league seasons with the Red Sox, Orioles, Braves and Athletics. He spent the 2017 campaign in the Oakland organization, though he appeared in just six games at the Major League level. Lavarnway is a career .201/.262/.318 hitter through 420 MLB plate appearances, but he’s logged a much more palatable .274/.365/.421 slash in parts of seven seasons at the Triple-A level.” HT to Bob Wechsler and Jeff F. for the news.

More on…

I have to get a screener of this film about the Israeli National Team at the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

Remaining Jewish free agents: Craig Breslow, Scott Feldman, Danny Valencia

Tennis

Long story short, no Jewish players are still active at the Australian Open.

 

 

 

 

Jewish sports update, January 19, 2018

Posted on: January 20th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

NBA

No game for Omri Casspi and the Golden State Warriors last night. In fact, they’re off until tomorrow night when the visit the Houston Rockets.

NHL

Zach Hyman had his 16th assist but the Toronto Maple Leafs still lost in OT to the host Philadelphia Flyers, 3-2. He took two shots on goal in 18:46 and served a two minute penalty for tripping.

Jason Demers had his 12th assist for the Arizona Coyotes, who lost to the host Nashville Predators in a 3-2 shootout. He took two SOG in 24:48. Jakob Chychrun was a scratch.

Brandon Leipsic was a scratch for the Las Vegas Knights, who beat the hos Tampa Bay Lightning, 4-1, in a battle of the two top teams in the league.

The Washington Capitols’ Andre Burakovsky did not play in last night’s 4-3 overtime loss to the host NJ Devils due to illness.

Tonight the Knights visit the Florida Panthers and the Caps host the Montreal Canadiens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

   
 

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