Archive for the ‘Jews and baseball’ Category


Where has the time gone: Kevin Youkilis

Posted on: December 27th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

I don’t know what I’m having a harder time wrapping my head around: that Kevin Youkilis has been retired for five years or that his name appears on this year’s Hall of Fame Ballot?

Here’s his capsule bio from the HoF Ballot page:


1st year on the ballot…Played 10 seasons with Red Sox, White Sox and Yankees…Three-time All-Star (2008-09, 2011) and 2007 Gold Glove Award winner at first base who twice finished in Top 10 of the American League MVP voting (2008: 3rd; 2009: 6th)…Hit better than .300 in three seasons (2008-2010) and recorded an on-base percentage of .400 or better in two seasons (2009-10)…Topped 20-home run mark twice (2008-09) and reached the 100-RBI mark once (2008)…Led AL in sacrifice flys in 2006 with 11…Played in seven Postseason series over four seasons, hitting .306 with 22 runs scored and 17 RBI in 29 games…Member of Red Sox World Series championship teams in 2004 and 2007.

This writer thinks the mistakenly nicknamed “Greek God of Walks” should be inducted just because of his unique batting stance, but let’s be real here: Most likely Youkilis — who appears on the ballot with 34 other former major leaguers — will not get enough votes to return for the 2020 voting.

Youk ranks seventh all-time among JMLs in home runs (150); seventh in RBIs (618); seventh in runs scored (653); and ninth in hits (1,053). None of those numbers are Hall-worthy.

The Baseball Writers Association of America will announce the results on Jan. 22. Any electees will be inducted on Sunday, July 21, at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown.

If he can make it there (Ryan Lavarnway)

Posted on: November 9th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

Welcome to the Big Apple, Ryan Lavarnway.

The 31-year-old catcher signed with the NY Yankees today. He is expected to serve as “insurance” for Gary Sanchez, who underwent surgery on his non-throwing arm yesterday.

Lavarnway made his debut with the Boston Red Sox in 2011 (Kevin Youkilis was a teammate). He has also played for the Baltimore Orioles, Atlanta Braves, Oakland A’s, and the Pittsburgh Pirates where he went 4-for-6 with a double. On Sept. 18, Lavarnway drove in the winning run with a pinch-hit single in the 11th inning, giving Pittsburgh a 2-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals.

Over seven years, Lavarnway has a .208 batting average with seven home runs and 43 runs batted in. He was a member of the Israel National Team at the 2017 World Baseball Classic where he was named the Pool MVP for the group that included Israel, Korea, Chinese Taipei, and the Netherlands.

Image result for ryan lavarnway Israel

Sanchez is expected to be all right for opening day 2019, so don’t get all excited about Lavarnway getting the starting assignment.

JML Update, World Series Edition: That was quick.

Posted on: October 29th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

Mazel tov to the Boston Red Sox, who took the Fall Classic, four games to one.

I must admit, my early work hours made it impractical to watch any game in its entirety. Even on my day off, I did not watch the 18-inning marathon. (Major props to my daughter, Rachel, however, who did.)

Sadly, neither of our boys had much to do with their team’s results. In fact, Ian Kinsler was the goat on Friday. He entered the game as a pinch-runner in the 10th and had a tough time of it, almost getting picked off at first base then oversliding third on a hit and just getting back in time before finally being thrown out at home trying to score on a fly ball. Then after the Red Sox had taken a 2-1 lead in the top of the 13th, he made a bad throw to first, allowing the host LA Dodgers to tie the game again. Looking at the replay, you could understand the cause of the errant toss as his footing gave way as he field the ball to his right. Still, it was an error and the Dodgers won in the record-setting 18th on a walk-off home run.

By the way, Joc Pederson homered in the third inning to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead. It was his only hit in seven at-bats in the game.

Not only did Kinsler not start either of the final two games, he didn’t even appear in the final two games, won by the Sox 9-6 on Saturday and 5-1 yesterday. It kind of reminded me of the 1973 World Series when Mike Andrews — also a second baseman — made two errors for the Oakland A’s in a loss to the NY Mets. A’s owner Charley Finley tried to force Andrews to sign a document stating he was injured so he could be replaced on the roster. Andrews’ teammates threatened to boycott the next game and Finley changed his mind, Andrews became a folk hero, even earning a standing ovation from Mets fans. For a moment I took that attitude towards the Red Sox’s treatment of the veteran Kinsler. But, to be honest, he hadn’t done much the whole post-season. In the Series, he was just 1-for-10 with one RBI.

Ove on the other side, Pederson’s homer was his only hit in 12 trips to the plate.

So that’s all she wrote for baseball in 2018, chaverim. What do you think, Alex Bregman for MVP?

I’ll be working on a recap of the whole JML season over the next few days; stay tuned.



JML Update, World Series Edition: Game Two

Posted on: October 25th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

Ian Kinsler‘s two-out RBI single in the second inning put the Boston Red Sox on the board first en route to a 4-2 win over the visiting LA Dodgers, giving them a 2-0 lead in the Fall Classic.

Joc Pederson flied out as a pinch-hitter in the eighth. He remained in the game as the left-fielder and did not have another turn at bat.

The teams take a break tonight before resuming action tomorrow in Los Angeles.

JML Update, World Series, Game 1

Posted on: October 24th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

Unless you’re a Red Sox fan, this one was pretty ho-hum. Boston beat the visiting LA Dodgers, 8-4. Neither of our boys were involved in the highlights.

Ian Kinsler started for the home team and went 0-for-4.

Joc Pederson entered the game for the Dodgers as a pinch-hitter in the seventh, leading off that inning by grounding out sharply to second, although not Kinsler, since the Sox were in a shift. He remained in the game and again grounded out to second to lead off the ninth, this time to his co-religionist.

In an ESPN ranking of both teams by Sam Miller, Pederson was listed at #28:

We really can’t stress enough how incredible the Dodgers’ platoon system is this year — with two guys at almost every position who would start on the vast majority of teams — but here it is again: Pederson is a pretty good defensive center fielder who slots in between Giancarlo Stanton and Joey Votto on the 2018 OPS+ leaderboard, and he is going to end up starting fewer than half the Dodgers’ postseason games. Fun fact: When I was drawing up the list of 50 players in this World Series, he was the last name I recalled, after Dylan Floro and Blake Swihart, because you actually can forget that Joc Pederson, near star, is even on this team.

Kinsler was ranked #33:

This might be overly optimistic, considering the man just had easily his worst offensive season and some extremely humbling at-bats against Gerrit Cole in the American League Championship Series. But Kinsler’s defense is still fantastic, he still usually puts the ball in play, he’s got great awareness and I’ve just got a weird hunch he’s worth watching in this series.

Game Two starts tonight at 8:09.

JML Update, World Series Edition: Pre-Game One

Posted on: October 23rd, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

One’s in, one’s not.

Ian Kinsler is projected as the starting second baseman for the host Boston Red Sox, while Joc Pederson is not among the opening nine for the LA Dodgers.

This marks the second straight year that two MOTs have opposed each other in baseball’s final showcase. You may recall that Pederson created quite a story in the 2017 Fall Classic, belting three home runs and a couple of doubles in a losing cause against the Houston Astros. Alex Bregman had a couple of long balls himself in that one for the ‘Stros.

Kinsler has appeared in two World Series, 2010 and 2011 while with the Texas Rangers, in which he batted .293 (12-for-41) with no home runs and two RBIs.

Image result for ian kinsler, world series



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

JML Update, World Series Edition

Posted on: October 22nd, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

Congrats to Joc Pederson and the LA Dodgers. By beating the host Milwaukee Brewers, 5-1, on Saturday, they return to the Fall Classic where they will take on Ian Kinsler and the Boston Red Sox beginning tomorrow night at famed Fenway Park.

Pederson started in left field came out for a pinch hitter in the third inning after grounding out in his only at-bat leading off the game. Overall, he had three singles in 13 official plate appearances.

Ryan Braun was 0-for-4 in the deciding game. He had seven hits, including two doubles, in 29 at-bats and drove in four runs. The New York Times ran a nice feature on him on Saturday.

By the way, in case no one else mentions it among the hundreds of pre-Series background stories and fillers, Fenway — which opened in 1912 — and Dodger Stadium — 1962 — are two of the oldest ballparks in the Majors; only Wrigley Field (1916) is older than the Dodgers’ home field.

Another “fun fact” — the last time these two teams faced off in the World Series was back in 1916 when the Dodgers were known as the Brooklyn Robins (named after their beloved manager Wilbert Robinson). The Sox took the championship that fall, four games to one.


JML Update, LCS Edition (Game of October 18, 2018)

Posted on: October 19th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

Congrats to the Boston Reds Sox. Their 4-1 win over the host Houston Astros puts them back into the World Series. Ian Kinsler  was 2-for-4 as the starting second baseman, including a double and a run scored. Ales Bregman, once again at the top of the Astros’ lineup, was once again hitless, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.

Between the two MOTs, Bregman giveth…

And Bregman taketh away…

Now Boston has to await the winner of the Milwaukee Brewers (Ryan Braun) – Los Angeles Dodgers (Joc Pederson) NLCS with the former trailing the latter three games to two. That could be over tonight.

JML Update, LCS Edition (Games of October 17, 2018)

Posted on: October 18th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

It took a circus catch by Andrew Benintendi to prevent Alex Bregman from being a hero once again for the Houston Astros.

The home team had the bases load with two out in the ninth and trailing the visiting Boston Red Sox, 8-6. If the ball drops, two runs would have scored, and if it got by Benintendi, the game would have been over. As it was, the Sox took a three-games-one advantage with the victory.

Perhaps it’s because he’s been so selective at the plate (11 walks in the post-season), but the Astros moved Bergman into the lead-off spot where he went 0-for-5.

Ian Kinsler appeared as a defensive replacement for the Sox in the ninth.

The fifth game takes place tonight.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers took a 3-2 lead over the visiting Milwaukee Brewers with a 5-2 win. Joc Pederson came on as a defensive replacement in the fourth inning and was 1-for-2 over the rest of the game.

Ryan Braun was 0-for-3 with a walk for the Brewers.

Game Six will have to wait for the teams to return to Miller Park tomorrow.



©2019 Kaplan's Korner | Designed by Access Computer Technology