Facebook
Google+
http://kaplanskorner.com/category/ripped-from-the-headlines/">
Twitter

Archive for the ‘“Ripped from the headlines”’ Category

 

JML Update, November 14, 2017

Posted on: November 14th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan No Comments

The winter meetings begin today so it might not be too much longer before we learn the fates of players like Ian Kinsler, Craig Breslow, Danny Valencia, and perhaps even Ryan Braun.

I’m not looking for an immediate move re: Kinsler; neither are the Tigers, apparently.

Could Braun and Toronto Blue Jays super-defender Kevin Pillar be swapping team colors?

Alex Bregman continues to enjoy the adulation that comes with being on a world championship team. As a celebrity, he gets to weigh in on some strange issues.

lsuarkansas.111217 HS 946.JPG

Alex Bregman, right, at a recent LSU football game.

Joc Pederson isn’t doing so badly himself either, even if there are some who think the Los Angeles Dodgers’ outfield is too crowded and he’s the one who should be traded.

In fact, what a great week it was during the World Series for past and present Jewish ballplayers and their fans, according to Steve Wulf on ESPN.

Big fish, small pond? Max Fried is the ninth-best prospect for the Atlanta Braves, the organization that is ranked second-best in the game.

Brad Ausmus “passed” on interviewing for the Yankees slot and reports indicate he wants to take some time off from managing. Sorry, but if no one invites you, can you decline an invitation?

And finally, guess who’s back in the Fuld. Our boy, Super Sam. (oooh, sorry) who joins fellow MOT Gabe Kapler on the Philadelphia Phillies. Fuld, who has been out of action for the past couple of seasons due to injury, decided to retire as an active player. He’ll be working on analytics for the Phillies front office.

 

 

JFL, Week 10

Posted on: November 13th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan No Comments

Nate Ebner played 22 downs on special teams (76 percent) for the New England Patriots in their 41-16 win over the host Denver Broncos. He made one tackle. He had been nursing a sore shoulder. The Pats are 7-2, first in the AFC East.

Marpet_Cleats for a Cause.pngAli Marpet played at 71 snaps at center for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their 15-10 win over the visiting NY Jets. The Bucs improve to 3-6 but are still last in the NFC South. Here’s an example of Marpet as mensch.

Mitchell Schwartz and the KC Chiefs (6-3, first in the AFC West) had their bye week.

Given the woeful performance of the NY Giants, would it be that far flung a notion to give offensive lineman Adam Bisnowaty a chance to play in a regular game, as opposed to burying him on the practice squad?

Josh Rosen update: The UCLA QB has come under fire for his mental and physical toughness. Of course, his team rushes to defend him so I don’t know — not following college football — how much of the whispers are true or false. but things are looking up: in his latest game, Rosen led the Bruins to a 44-37 win over the visiting Arizona State Sun Devils, throwing for 381 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. He also scored on a one-yard run. Is there a bowl game in Rosen’s future? And what, if anything, would that do for his chances in the NFL draft?

JML Update, Nov. 8, 2017

Posted on: November 9th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan No Comments

In case you’re wondering where I was, I had the honor of participating in the St. Louis Jewish Book festival’s “Sports Night” program on Monday, returning home last night. Almost didn’t make it. Somehow I managed to miss my 6:55 a.m. flight — despite the fact I was sitting right at the gate. Can’t explain how in the world that happened. Also couldn’t get on standby for the next flight. Fortunately, I was able to make a 3:20 flight that arrived in Missouri at around five, their time. Unfortunately, I missed the dinner with my co-presenters, John Florio and Ouisie Shapiro, authors of One Nation Under Baseball: How the 1960s Collided with the National Pastime. More on all that in a separate post. Suffice it to say, it was a great experience.

So, back to bidness…

Did you see Saturday Night Live? There was baseball to be found therein, specifically Jewish baseball, although a lot of people might have missed it. Leslie Jones was doing a bit about her love of the game on the Weekend Update segment, specifically mentioning Jose Altuve and George Springer. And all of a sudden, who do you think walks onto the set? Altuve and Springer. But they’re also joined by Alex Bregman. But you wouldn’t know it because his name is never mentioned! (Could it really be that he didn’t know SNL was, in fact, live?)

http://ww1.hdnux.com/photos/67/22/20/14492676/3/920x920.jpg

Years ago, players would go on the post-season “rubber chicken circuit,” so named because chicken seemed to be the dinner of choice served at these affairs. That’s why they needed spring training: to lose all the weight they had gained. And players certainly continue to make their appearances these days. Enjoy it while you can, Alex; these things can be pretty fleeting.

Jewish media are also jumping on the Bregman bandwagon, as evidenced by this trivia quiz from the San Diego Jewish World. Stay tunedNot to throw cold water on the situation, but you know the champions of any sport usually have the opportunity to visit the White House. But under this administration, some of the athletes have expressed their reluctance. So what would Bregman do? Stay tuned.

Moving on…

Ian Kinsler did not win the Gold Glove Award for his play at second base. Same news for Kevin Pillar in center. Still hearing about the scenario where Kinsler might join fellow MOT Ryan Braun on the Milwaukee Brewers. Could the Toronto Blue Jays be looking to move Pillar?

Could Brad Ausmus wind up managing the Yankees, give us two Jewish skippers now that Gabe Kapler is at the helm of the Philadelphia Phillies?

Is it really so noteworthy that Max Fried had his first bad outing of his Arizona Fall League season? Come on, people; give the kid a break.

Jewish free agents include Scott Feldman, Danny Valencia, and Craig Breslow.

 

 

Save

Save

JML Update, November 3, 2017

Posted on: November 3rd, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Good-bye, World Series. Hello, black void of baseball until the spring.

That’s not actually true. These days there’s always something going on, whether it’s award season or Hall of Fame announcements, or trade rumors. A very calculated effort to remain in the public eye and not lose to many fans to other sports.

Many of those rumors will have to do no doubt to the slew of Jews who might be on different teams in 2018, including Ian Kinsler, Ryan Braun, Danny Valencia, Scott Feldman,… indeed, at least half of the MOTs might be wearing different unis next year.

Alex Bregman might never get elected to the Hall of Fame, but his glove will be there, at least for the foreseeable future. There was a thread on Facebook asking whether he should be included among the 10 best Jewish players of all time. Child, please. He hasn’t even played two full seasons. How many phenoms have we seen, destined for a plaque in Cooperstown, that bottomed out after a year or two? Does the name Joe Charboneau ring a bell?.

So for what it’s worth, these are my suggestions for the top ten JMLs, not necessarily in order:

  • Sandy Koufax
  • Hank Greenberg
  • Al Rosen
  • Shawn Green
  • Ken Holtzman
  • Ryan Braun
  • Ian Kinsler
  • Brad Ausmus
  • Kevin Youkilis
  • Jason Marquis

Discuss.

Image result for joc pederson, alex bregmanMoving on, It’s understandable that we’re proud of both Bregman and Joc Pederson, the second-year outfielder for the LA Dodgers who went through a rather hellish season. But let’s not fall back into the sentiment that we’re still underdogs when it comes to perceptions (stereotypes?) about our athletic abilities. Pederson had three home runs in 18 World Series at-bats. Compare that with 11 in 273 during the regular season. In fact, he was doing so poorly that the Dodgers demoted him to the minor leagues for a time. So the fact that he was even on the roster for the Fall Classic was an accomplishment. Pederson led his team in just about every offensive category. And he did it with his brother, Champ, by his side the whole time. Sure, Pederson shows a lot of “youthful exuberance,” but so what? He’s a youth (or in the parlance of My Cousin Vinny, a yoot). I think it’s very sweet the way the brothers hang out and how much Champ is a part of Joc’s life.

*

People should remember that Feldman was having a fairly decent — if typically uneven — season before he succumbed to a season-ending injury. (Does anyone even remember Jon Moscot?)

*

So how do you think Gabe Kapler will fare as the newest manager for the Philadelphia Phillies? He seems pretty serious about getting the team out of its recent doldrums. Brad Ausmus took over the reigns of a powerful Detroit Tigers club but never really enjoyed success with them.

*

Speaking of “phenoms,” Atlanta Braves pitcher Max Fried was named pitcher of the week in the Arizona Fall League.

*

Finally, a reminder that I’ll be at the St. Louis Jewish Book Festival on Monday evening at 7 p.m. at the JCC Staenberg Family Complex, Arts & Education Building. Had a great time there when 501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read before They Die came out and expect the same this time around.

 

 

 

Lest we forget: Ray Robinson

Posted on: November 2nd, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Ray Robinson was among the last of his generation of sportswriters and authors. I had the pleasure of speaking with him on several occasions in my capacity as sports editor for the NJ Jewish News. He passed away yesterday at the age of 96.

Among his many books, Robinson published High and Tight: Hank Greenberg Confronts Anti-Semitism in Baseball in 2012.

Marty Appel, shown with Robinson (right) at the dedication of a plaque at Lou Gehrig’s birthplace, was kind enough to allow me to use his tribute, posted on Facebook yesterday.

A special friend….and a New York treasure, author/editor Ray Robinson passed away at 5 pm today at New York Hospital, a day after suffering a stroke at his apartment on East 90th Street, where he lived for 63 years. As some of you may recall, his wife Phyllis died on March 13 at 92. Ray’s devotion to her care as she suffered through Alzheimer’s Disease was perhaps his finest hour. They were married for 68 years. Ray would have turned 97 on December 4.

Ray was sharp to the end, and he looked forward to every phone call that kept his mind alert and active. Loved to talk politics, media, and of course, baseball. He was a Columbia graduate and graduation day was the day Lou Gehrig died in 1941. Gehrig was special to him — he met Lou, and wrote a classic biography of him, as well as books about Knute Rockne, Will Rogers, Yankee Stadium, Christy Mathewson, Tim McCarver, and many more. He was the editor of the great annual paperback, “Baseball Stars of 19XX” which were must-have books back in the day. There, he employed the likes of Jimmy Breslin, Dick Schaap, George Vecsey, Al Silverman, Arnold Hano, Al Silverman, Charles Einstein, and many more – often for $20 an article! He was, improbably, the editor of Seventeen and Good Housekeeping magazines for many years, as well as the long defunct Pageant and Coronet.

He was an EIGHT DECADE author, published from the 1940s to the 2010s. He did an ebook on baseball and US Presidents in this decade. Everyone wanted a column from him each year on Gehrig — he was in the bleachers on Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day in 1939. (He probably wrote a dozen Gehrig guest columns for the Times). He was on the Board of Directors for the New York (Lou Gehrig) Chapter of the ALS Association.

I knew him for some 45 years. We used to have lunch at Billy’s (no longer there) on First Avenue. He was a vital part of our monthly “Larry Ritter Lunch Group” which is now in its 26th year and we have met in recent years near his home — so he wouldn’t be away from Phyllis for long. Otherwise he was always happy to walk to wherever we met.

We did events at Columbia together and attended a plaque dedication at Lou Gehrig’s birthplace some years ago. Ray was old enough to have lived through and experienced the Great Depression, Pearl Harbor, World War II, the Kennedy assassination, a few more wars, 18 presidents, and the computer/internet age (which he managed to ignore, still working his typewriter).

I take pleasure in believing that there were no questions I neglected to ask him. Remarkable to get first hand accounts of almost everything that has mattered in the US for the last century.

Bob Costas texted me today: “What a life. What a good man.”

Ray and Phyllis had three children – Nancy, Tad and Steve ….. plus his family of admirers who had the pleasure of his company on a monthly basis — at least — for all these years.

We have a winner!

Posted on: November 2nd, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Congrats to Alex Bregman and the Houston Astros, baseball’s 2017 world champions after they beat the host LA Dodgers, 5-1.

Both Bregman and Dodgers’ outfielder Joc Pederson figured prominently in their team’s offense.

George Springer led off the game for Houston with a double and Bregman did the proper thing, hitting behind the runner to advance him to third. But Springer scored on a wild throw to first and Bregman wound up on second. He then stole third and crossed the plate on an infield out to give the Astros a 2-0 lead. That was all they would need, so in a way Bregman was responsible for the win from an offensive point of view. He also struck out three times and was in the on-deck circle when the last out was made in the top of the ninth. Bregman finished the Series with two homers, five RBIs, and a .233 batting average.

It was his glove as much as his bat that made Bregman a standout in the series

Pederson — who established the new “Jewish record” for  most home runs in a single fall classic with three — had the chance to be the hero in the bottom of the first, coming up with the bases loaded and two outs; he grounded out to second to stem any rally. Pederson led off the sixth with a single to center and scored the Dodgers’ only run. He also struck out twice.

Pederson was the offensive spark plug for his team, leading the Dodgers in hits (six), doubles (tied with two), home runs (three), RBIs (five), batting average (.333), slugging (.944), and OPS (1.344). Fun fact: Pederson hit 11 home runs in 273 at-bats during the regular season; he had three in 18 during the World Series.

Prior to the game, Sandy Koufax, 81, shared ceremonial first-pitch honors with former Brooklyn Dodgers’ teammate Don Newcombe, 91, as a commemoration of the franchise’s first World Championship in 1955.

It was the 39th time the Series went to a seventh game, but from my point of view, it was a relatively dull affair.

The Dodgers may have lost, but Pederson and Jewish baseball fans will always have this great memory:

Mazel tov to the winners, and rachmones for the losers.

Move over, Robert Downey Jr. There’s a new Iron Man

Posted on: October 31st, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Image result for mitchell schwartz chiefsImage result for iron manAccording to this UPI.com story, when Cleveland Browns tackle Joe Thomas had to come out of a loss to the Tennessee Titans last week, that made Mitchell Schwartz of the KC Chiefs the “Iron Man”at that position. Thomas, an 11-year veteran for former Teammate of Schwartz’s,  left the game with a torn triceps. Thomas played every offensive snap of his NFL career before the injury, spanning 10,363 snaps over 167 games since 2007.

Schwartz has played every snap of the first 87 games of his career for the Browns and Chiefs. His streak of 5,891 snaps puts him a little more than halfway toward Thomas’ mark. That pace puts Schwartz about 66 games away from matching the streak, or about four-plus seasons. Here’s hoping he stays healthy in general (unfortunately his brother Geoff suffered several injuries that eventually ended his career), but the record would be nice, too.

There is something of a resemblance, don’t you think?

In other JML news

Posted on: October 30th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Baseball does not live in the vacuum of the World Series. So here are some tidbits on some of the other fine fellows…

Image result for Gabe KaplerCongrats to Gabe Kapler, right, the latest MOT to be named manager in the majors. He will take the reigns of the Philadelphia Phillies in 2018. Kapler — who appeared in 1,104 games during his 12-year big league career — was a member of the Boston Red Sox when they had four Jews on the roster at the same time, back in 2006. Can you name the other three? (Answer below)

Where might Brad Ausmus end up, if anywhere? There are a number of teams still looking for new on-field leadership, including the NY Yankees, but I really doubt that will happen.

Ian Kinsler and Kevin Pillar were named Gold Glove finalists for second base and outfielder, respectively. Kinsler won the honors last year but Pillar has yet to match the feat. And it doesn’t look like he’ll do so this year, at least according to Jays Journal blogger Clayton Richer.

I would ask if Danny Valencia might join Kinsler on the Tigers but lots of wagging tongues don’t think Kinsler will be on the squad come spring training. If Valencia does change flannel, it will be his eighth team in nine seasons.

Atlanta Braves rookie pitcher Max Fried continues to impress in the Arizona Fall League.

(The other three were Kevin Youkilis, Adam Stern, and Craig Breslow.)

 

JML Update, Game Three scouting report

Posted on: October 27th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Joc Pederson will start Game Three for the LA Dodgers, as the venue moves to Houston Astros’ home. Now that he homered, how many will jump on the Jewish geography bandwagon?

Robert Wechsler, author of the new release, The Jewish Baseball Card Book, sent me an email noting the accomplishments of Peterson and the Astros’ Alex Bregman:

This was the first time two Jewish players drove in runs in a World Series game.

It’s rare that two Jewish players even appeared in the World Series together — the last time was 2011 when Ian Kinsler and Scott Feldman both got into a game for Texas. Kinsler drove in two runs in Game 6, but Feldman did not bat.

Teammates Sandy Koufax and Larry Sherry both pitched for the Dodgers in 1959. Another pitcher, Barry Latman, was on the White Sox roster, but did not to appear in the Series.

Jason Marquis of St. Louis and Gabe Kapler of Boston played in the 2004 Series, but neither one had an RBI. (Kapler only had two at-bats.)

Hank Greenberg‘s Tigers faced Cy Block‘s Cubs in 1945 and Morrie Arnovich‘s Reds in 1940. Both Block and Arnovich only appeared as pinch runners in games in which Greenberg had RBIs.

Joc Pederson smashes a solo home run in the fifth inning to tie the game at 1–1.

Kevin Youkilis had two doubles in nine at-bats for the Red Sox in the 2007 WS, too.

JML Update: World Series, Game Two

Posted on: October 26th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Well, that was exciting: the visiting Houston Astros came back from a 3-1 deficit in the ninth inning to tie Game two at 3-3. They scored twice in the 10th, but so did the Dodgers, so 5-5. Then George Springer hit a two-run homer in the top of the 11th and the Astros held off the hosts for a 7-6 win to tie the fall classic at one game apiece.

Home runs galore. The Astros hit two in the top of the 10th for a two-run lead. The Dodgers tied it up again on a lead-off homer by Yasiel Puig and a single by Enrique Hernandez before Springer’s capper in the final frame. History: the game set a record for most home runs in a WS game (eight) and it was the first WS win for the Astros; they were  swept by the Chicago White Sox in 2005.

So we go 43 years without a home run by a Jew in the World Series, then we have them in back-to-back games? Wild. On Wednesday it was Alex Bregman going long. Last night it was Joc Pederson, crushing Justin Verlander to tie the game in the fifth inning after Bregman had given the Astros a 1-0 lead in the third.

Bregman — 2-for-6 with a run scored and an RBI — lined a single with men on in the third that bounced off the cap of the diving center-fielder Chris Taylor that took lucky a lucky careen right to Pederson, playing left, to prevent additional runs from scoring.

Two innings later with two down, Pederson ended Verlander’s no-hitter and shut out with one swing of the bat. Think he was a little pumped? He struck out in his other two trips to the plate and came out of the game on a defensive switch in the eighth.

With the Astros down 3-1 in the eighth, Bregman led off with a ground rule double which bounced off the glove of a diving Puig and into the stands. Bregman came around to score two batters later.

Bregman also made an error on a throw, but then there was this play for the second out in the bottom of the 11th.

Next game: tomorrow night in Houston.

   
 

©2017 Kaplan's Korner | Designed by Access Computer Technology