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

 

JML Update: The rest of the story

Posted on: October 23rd, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Still haven’t found the time for a comprehensive recap of the 2017 season, but here’s the latest about the JMLs:

Shalom, Luke Kunin

Posted on: October 20th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Image resultSince “shalom” means both hello and goodbye…

Welcome the newest MOT to the NHL: Luke Kunin, who briefly joined Jason Zucker on the Minnesota Wild.

Kunin, 19, was the Wild’s first-round pick in 2016. He was called up due to injuries to several of the team’s forwards. He made his debut on Oct. 14 in the Wild’s 5-4 home opener overtime loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. He played 13:53 in that one. He was reassigned to the American Hockey League right after the game, but he’ll be back.

Some stories on Kunin:

  • Minnesota Wild Prospect Camp 2017: Green Offense — Luke Kunin leads the charge on a team that features current Gopher Leon Bristedt and High School phenom Sam Huff
  • What Luke Kunin brings to the Minnesota Wild
  • Luke Kunin’s versatility excites Wild: Forward prospect ‘can play 200-foot game,’ had 19 goals for Wisconsin last season
  • From the September/October issue of the Jewish Sports Review: “After two seasons at Wisconsin, Luke Kunin, 191, 1 wing from Chesterfield, MO, signed with the Minnesota Wild and was assigned to the Iowa Wild (AHL) where he rifled in 5 goals with three assists for 8 points, endured 16 PMs [penalty minutes] and was assigned a +2 rating in 12 games.”

HT to Korner chaver Ken Cutler for the news about Kunin.

And just a quick catch-up on the rest of the Jice-men…

Jason Demers, Arizona Coyotes (0-6-1, eighth/last in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference): seven games, one goal two assists

Jason Zucker, Minnesota Wild (1-1-2, last in the Central Division of the Western Conference): four games, two goals, two assists

Zach Hyman, Toronto Maple Leafs (6-0-1, second in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference): seven games, three goals, two assists

Michael Cammalleri, LA Kings (5-0-1, first in the Pacific Division): four games, two goals, two assists

Brendan Leipsic, Vegas Golden Knights (5-1-0, second in the Pacific Division): six games, no goals, four assists

Josh Ho-Sang, NY Islanders (3-3-1, seventh in Metropolitan Division of Eastern Conference): six games, no goals, four assists

 

Pardon the Interruption but there’s a now almost Daily (Show) of politics into sports

Posted on: September 26th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

A brilliant performance last night by Trevor Noah on The Daily Show. Not surprisingly, he took on the whole Trump-NFL business in great detail and biting wit. Here’s a sample:

The opening monologue was even better:

One of the comments that really stuck out for me: “Just so we’re on the same page, when Nazis were protesting in Charlottesville, Trump said, ‘some of these were very fine people, very fine people. And aren’t we all Nazis really? Aren’t we all, huh, in some way?’ But then when black football players protest peacefully by taking a knee during the anthem, he calls them sons of bitches who should be fired?” Noah also pointed out that if Trump was really upset about disrespecting the flag, why wasn’t he outraged by the Confederate flag waved at rallies?

In addition, the Sept. 25 episode of Pardon the Interruption began with a four-minute segment about . It’s not unusual for co-hosts Tony Kornheiser (Jewish) and Michael Wilbon (African-American) to differ on issues. Wilbon said he was amazed that players should feel the need to protest in 2017. Kornheiser — citing his own heritage — noted that Wilbon’s ancestor probably came to America as slaves while “his people” came willingly, most likely because other countries did not want them. Kornheiser said he thought the flag and anthem should be respected but fully agreed that the tenets of the United States say that we have the right to free speech and it’s our right to protest.

I heard about this Facebook post by Dan Rather on PTI and thought it was worth pasting in its entirety.

It’s football Sunday, and I have a pit in my stomach, and a sickening sense of deja vu. Who knows what the day will bring?

I do know the source of my disquiet. It is the stench of bigotry as a demagogue stirs the potent cauldron of racial division. I want to say, this is so unnecessary. We have so many other things we should be worrying about. But of course now this is real, and it must be called out. This is an age when no one can be neutral. To remain silent in the face of race-baiting is to be complicit. And I have seen the cost of complicity. It is ugly.

On Friday night, and then in a chain of tweets (what else) President Trump targeted African American athletes for provocation and ridicule. He has called into question their Americanness, as he called into question the Americanness of his predecessor President Obama. Perhaps what is saddest about this moral cowardice is that Mr. Trump may derive some political gain from these attacks amongst his supporters, but he fails in the test of leadership. Big time. For a President to be doing this – pouring gasoline on the embers of racial resentment – is really unspeakable. Instead of trying to reduce the potentially explosive emotions about race, he is trying to exacerbate them for his own gain.

I have seen this game plan before. My mind is transported across the decades. I hear the adjective “uppity”, and much worse. I see the mouths of authority curl with disdain and mutter “what do you think you’re doin’, boy?” – the last word spit out in disgust.

I feel time click into rewind, to when African Americans weren’t thought of as being “smart” enough to play quarterback, to when there was a “gentlemen’s agreement” amongst college basketball coaches to the total number of African American players on the court. Backwards still to all-white teams, and all-white leagues. I remember Jackie Robinson, and a time before someone of his skin color dared to think he could earn a living as an athlete in the United States.

I know this history. And so does Donald Trump. He understands how salient the trope of the “angry black man” is. It was said of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other now-revered leaders of the civil rights struggle. It is so ingrained in our history that it can become resonant even in those who say they aren’t bigoted. So Mr. Trump plucks at it. He knows that he can use the American flag as a symbol of division and not unity. So he sows that thought.

I grant that there are many who are offended by players taking a knee during the National Anthem. That is their right, as it is the right of those who protest to have their speech protected. This is how we discuss our differences peacefully in a democracy. But calling out these players as S.O.B.s (but using the actual profane words) who should be fired, that’s a pointed attack on our Constitutional rights. And it is summoning the dark shadows of centuries of racial stereotyping. Let’s just say I have seen plenty of white S.O.B.s in sports who have been given awards rather than pink slips.

President Trump is not trying to win over the majority of the American people. He wants to animate his base and bask in its approval. Will his supporters in Congress continue to stand by in tell-tale silence? Will his donors, including some of the owners of professional sports teams?

We are not a nation of majority bigots. The strident ranks of the intolerant can be overwhelmed by enough people agreeing that this is not who we are, or who we want to be. Mr. Trump’s cheers can be drowned out by a chorus of justice.

And one final thought, we have seen these distractions before. As Mr. Trump dominates the news cycle over race, as he issues bellicose threats to North Korea, one wonders what bombshells may be brewing in the Russia investigation, which seems to be gaining speed and scope.

Here’s how events were covered by the Jewish press:

By the way, among the Jewish owners who showed solidarity with the players by linking arms during the Anthem that I know of: Brad Snyder (Washington Redskins) and Arthur Blank (Atlanta Falcons). Did I miss anyone?

JML Update, Weekend Edition (Games of 8/4-8/5, 2017)

Posted on: August 7th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Stats courtesy JewishBaseballNews.com

Kevin Pillar was 3-for-9 in two games (he missed Friday’s opener) with two runs scored as the Toronto Blue Jays (52-59) lost two of three to the host Houston Astros (71-40). Alex Bregman had one hit in each game, all for extra bases: his 13th home run on Friday, 28th double on Saturday, and third triple yesterday. The homer — a two-run shot to the opposite field — was part of a nine-run eruption by the ‘Stros in the fourth inning. Bregman’s record for the weekend included three walks, two runs scored, and four RBIs.

Danny Valencia also hit lucky #13. His two-run bomb opened the scoring in the first game of a doubleheader yesterday which was necessitated by a rainout on Saturday against between his Seattle Mariners (57-56) and the host KC Royals (he sat out the nightcap). He also had his third triple and a single in this one, so he was just one double shy of a cycle. On Friday, Valencia was 0-for-2 with two sac flies. Is he in danger of losing playing time now that the Mariners have acquired Yonder Alonso?

Ian Kinsler was 4-for-12 with a double and a run scored as the Detroit Tigers (51-59) lost two of the last three games in a four-game set to the host Baltimore Orioles (55-56). Three of those hits came in yesterday’s 12-3 loss. Richard Bleier had another scoreless outing in that one, going 2.1 innings and allowing two hits. In his last 10 appearances, Bleier has given up just two earned runs (three total) in 17 innings.

Ryan Braun split his time between left field and DH as the Milwaukee Brewers (59-54) took two of three from the host Tampa Bay Rays. Braun had two singles in 11 at-bats with two Ks and a walk. The two teams combined for just eight runs over the three meetings with the Brewers winning the first two by shutouts.

Joc Pederson was 0-for-6 as the LA Dodgers (79-32) swept the host NY Mets, a series that also included two shutouts. He walked twice in the Friday game and stole just his second base of the season. Pederson is hitless in his late eight games.

Brad Goldberg did not appear for the Chicago White Sox (41-68) who suffered a four-game sweep at the hands of the host Boston Red Sox .

Used to be, years ago, that we would read about these things in the “agate” section of the sports page, the tiny fonts that gave us information about who was traded or injured or released. In the on-line version we have the Oakland As designated Ryan Lavarnway for assignment late last week. Lavarnway — a pillar of Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic — had two cups of coffee for  the As: 11 at-bats over six games with two singles, a double, and two RBI. Here’s hoping he lands somewhere soon, especially since today is his 30th birthday!

Looks like Craig Breslow may have found a new home: The Cleveland Indians signed him to a minor league contract over the weekend. Mazel tov! And Scott Feldman will supposedly be returning soon to the Cincinnati Reds.

In another agate move, the Atlanta Braves called up pitcher Max Fried, one of those “highly touted” prospects who finds himself struggling in the pros. The 23-year-old lefty was just 2-11 with a 5.32 ERA in 19 starts for the team’s Mississippi affiliate in the Southern League (AA) where he walked 43 and struck out 85 in 86.2 innings. Fried has yet to appear in a major league game and until he does he’s not official.

I wonder if the Mets will bring up Cody Decker? The heart and soul of Team Israel is with their AAA affiliate, the Las Vegas 51s after spending some time with their AA club in Binghamton. Don’t know how I feel about this description from AmazinAveue.com, announcing a recent accomplishment in a game against the Oklahoma City Dodgers on Saturday: “The new pitcher, Jacob Rhame, left a big fat one for Cody Decker down and away, and the Jew bid adieu to that miscue, socking it over the left field wall for a game-tying three-run homer.” Between the two teams, Decker has 10 doubles and 10 homers in 68 games.

JML update, Games of July 27, 2017

Posted on: July 28th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Stats courtesy JewishBaseballNews.com

I’ll make this simple because of the very late posting time: Kevin Pillar was the only MOT active last night. He had a double (#25) in four at-bats as the Toronto Blue Jays (48-54) beat the visiting Oakland A’s, 8-4. It was an inetresting game as evidenced by these two clips:

The only other “major” news is that the A’s (44-48) recalled catcher Ryan Lavarnway earlier in the day after putting catcher Josh Phegley on the 10-day disabled list.

Lest we forget: Margaret Bergmann-Lambert

Posted on: July 26th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Margaret Bergmann-Lambert, the champion high-jumper who was banned by Hitler’s Germany from competing in the 1936 Olympics, died yesterday at the age of 103.

She achieved new notoriety several years ago when the Olympics were held once again in Germany

Ira Berkow, the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, wrote her obituary for The New York Times which noted “Ms. Lambert’s story was also told in a 2004 HBO documentary, “Hitler’s Pawn,” and, in partly fictionalized form, in the 2009 German film “Berlin 36.” A memoir, “By Leaps and Bounds,” was published in 2005.”

 

Deutschland Leichtathletik Gretel Bergmann (picture-alliance/dpa)

Good show, old chap

Posted on: July 7th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

I don’t follow his career enough to know, but I’m guessing yesterday’s performance at Wimbledon was one of the highlights of Dudi Sela’s career. The 32-year-old Israeli upset the USA’s John Isner — ranked #23 in the world — 6-7, 7-6, 5-7, 7-6 and 6-3 to advance in the prestigious tournament.

Sela — one of three participants from Israel — faces  Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria tomorrow morning. In the meantime, here’s a picture for you. Sela stands 5’9″, compared with Isner’s 6’10”. He also faced (if that’s the right word),  another towering opponent, 6’11’ Ivo Karlovic at the Claro Open in 2014.

john isner dudi sela 2

 

This just in: Oakland A’s call up Ryan Lavarnway

Posted on: July 5th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

It may only be for a few days while Josh Phegley goes on paternity leave, but Ryan Lavarnway — who was a steadying influence on Team Israel for the World Baseball Classic — gets at least a cup of coffee in the bigs.

Image result for ryan lavarnway, craig breslowHe was last on the Major League scene as a member of the Atlanta Braves in 2015. He has a lifetime slash mark of .227/.311/.394 over 134 games in parts of five seasons. Lavarnway made his debut with the Boston Red Sox in 2011 and also played very briefly for the Baltimore Orioles to begin the 2015 campaign. he and Craig Breslow formed an All-Yale battery when they were teammates with the Sox from 2012-14.

He was batting .274 with four home runs and 20 RBI in 62 games with Oakland’s AAA affiliate, the Nashville Sounds.

 

Image result for ryan lavarnway, Israel

 

Catching up

Posted on: July 5th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

As you no doubt know, there has been a marked drop-off in posts here in the past few months as I looked for a job. Finally got one, which also impacted the time I have for blogging. I won’t go into details now, but suffice it to say it’s not a normal nine-to-five, Monday-to-Friday schedule. I could be working 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. on day and 4 to midnight the next. Basically all I have time for is the Jewish Major Leaguer updates but I hope to get a handle on all this soon.

Actually let’s start now with a bit of catching up.

Probably the biggest news of the off-seasons is that the NJ Devils parted ways with Michael Cammalleri, who holds the record among Jewish NHLers in terms of points scored. The 35-year old left-winger made his debut in 2002 with the Los Angeles Kings so it’s fitting that he has rejoined them for what might be his last hurrah, signing a one year-$1 million contract. In between, Cams has played for the Calgary Flames, Montreal Canadiens, Flames again, and Devils. In 890 regular season contests, he has 287 goals and 326 assists for 613 total points, so that 600 plus a bar mitzvah.

Right to PlayIn other hockey news, Zach Hyman kept himself busy with author appearances for his kids’ books, The Bambino and Me and Hockey Hero. The center is entering his third season with the Toronto Maple Leafs; perhaps, as he is a restricted free agent.

Jason Zucker, the Minnesota Wild’s star forward, co-hosted the ninth annual Champions for Children Celebrity Golf Classic with Vikings’ tight end Kyle Rudolph late last month.

Let’s just keep going, shall we?

In the NFL, Nate Ebner got this season review on the New England Patriots website. he’s still getting mileage for his rugby performance at the last Olympics. The Pats Pulpit portion of the SB Nation family deemed him the best tackle on special teams last year (although they might be a wee bit biased). A similar portion of SBN that focuses on the Arizona Sun Devils posted this article about former QB Mike Bercovici, now a member of the LA Chargers (wow, does that sound strange). The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are expecting a bigger role from newly-designated center Ari Marpet, but Adam Bisnowaty isn’t getting that kind of love from the NY Giants as he prepares for his first camp.

Over on the hard court, Omri Casspi gets his big break? He signed with the world championship Golden State Warriors for what Ha’aretz, one of the leading newspapers in Israel, described as “only a modest $2.1 million.” Wish I could be so modest. Casspi split time between three teams last year, so four clubs in two seasons has to be some kind of record, at least for Jewish players.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Gal Mekel‘s “career has been on a downward spiral since he was cut by the Dallas Mavericks.” He was recently dismissed by Maccabi Tel Aviv.

I think that about gets us caught up on the recent older news. I’ll be posting about the Maccabiah Games, of course, and whatever is going on in Wimbledon in the days ahead. Stay tuned.
 

The next biggest (Israeli) thing in the NBA?

Posted on: June 26th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Mazel tov to T.J. Leaf.

With their first pick, the Indiana Pacers selected the Israeli-born Leaf — “a fierce but quiet competitor” — in the recent NBA draft.

Leaf, a 6’10” power forward, averaged 16.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game in his only season for UCLA. He was the 18th overall pick.

Omri Casspi, the first Israeli taken by an NBA team back in 2009, is currently with the Minnesota Timberwolves after debiting with the Sacramento Kings in 2009. he also played for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets, returned to the Kings, and the New Orleans Pelicans before arriving in Minny. He has endured his share of injuries and disappointments; last year he split time between three franchises, all the while being praised as a heady player. So what gives?

Gal Mekel is the third Israeli to play in the NBA, albeit very briefly.

   
 

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