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Archive for the ‘“Who is as Jew?”/Jewish identity’ Category

 

Cleaning out my inbox

Posted on: June 12th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan No Comments

So I have a bunch of Google alerts set up to bring me the latest news on what the MOTs are up to in various sports. Unfortunately, I’ve been letting time slip away and it’s been building up. So in an effort to get clean again, here goes…

NFL

Hard to believe training camps are close to opening again. Should be an interesting season, if for no other reason than to see what the players and teams will do about the whole National Anthem business. It’s not within the purview of this blog to get deep into politics; if you want to know my feelings you can find them on Facebook, where I probably spend too much time.

Suffice it to say the biggest news on the field as far as we’re concerned will center around new Arizona Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen. Maybe we’re just being overly sensitive, but there already seems to be a lot of attention — relatively speaking, of course — paid to his religion, in a way that other players do not have to face, even the Jewish ones who are already in the league. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, here are a few items on Rosen to chew on:

Of course, Rosen is not the only MOT in the NFL. There’s Nate Ebner, a special teams specialist for the New England Patriots who’s coming off a season-ending injury sustained in the ninth game last season. There’s Ali Marpet, an offensive lineman for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, now entering his fourth season (“Bucs union rep Ali Marpet questions legality of the NFL’s new anthem policy“). There Adam Bisnowaty, who signed with but never played for the NY Giants last season. They placed him on waivers and the Detroit Lions picked him up last month. And, arguably the best of the bunch, Mitchell Schwartz, another O-Man for the Kansas City Chiefs.

David Tepper became the ninth current Jewish NFL owner when he bought the Carolina Panthers in May, joining Arthur Blank (Atlanta Falcons), Malcolm Glazer (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Robert Kraft (New England Patriots), Jeffrey Laurie (Philadelphia Eagles), Stephen Ross (Miami Dolphins), Daniel Snyder ( Washington Redskins), Steven Tisch (NY Giants), and Zygi Wilf (Minnesota Vikings). Last month, Blank was named Sports Executive of the Year by The Sports Business Journal.

By the way, in case you were wondering, former Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman returned to the Canadian Football League where he led the Toronto Argonauts to the Grey Cup, Canada’s equivalent to the Super Bowl.

NHL

If you consider Andre Burakovsky to be Jewish, then fine, there was a Jew on the Stanley Cup-winning Washington Capitols.

Other Jews in the League during the 2017-18 season included

  • Jason Zucker (Minnesota Wild) who enjoyed career highs in goals (33) and points (64)
  • Josh Ho-Sang (NY Islanders) who had more than his share of issues with his team
  • Brendan Leipsic, (Vancouver Canucks), who missed his chance to appear in the Cup finals when the Vegas Golden Knights traded him away
  • Jacob Chychrun (Arizona Coyotes), who missed time due to injuries.
  • Jason Demers (Arizona Coyotes)
  • Michael Cammalleri (Edmonton Oilers, the dean of Jewish hockey players with more than 900 games in the NHL
  • Zach Hyman (Toronto Maple Leafs), who may have a career in children’s literature waiting for him when he retires

And mazel tov to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, who celebrated his 25th anniversary in that office.

NBA

I think we can all agree that the Golden State Warriors really screwed Omri Casspi when they released him with just two games remaining in the regular season. Yeah, yeah, I know: it’s a business. Here’s hoping the first Israeli to play in the NBA will find a new home. For awhile it looked as though that would be in Portland with the Trailblazers, but now I’m not so sure.

The other football

Sigh. Soccer.

In the MSL, we have

  • Steve Birnbaum, Defender, DC United (2-6-3, 11th — last — in Eastern Conference)
  • Benny Feilhaber, Midfielder, Los Angeles Football Club (7-4-3, third in Western Conference)
  • Zac McMath, Goalkeeper, Colorado Rapids (2-9-2, 12th — last — in West)
  • Daniel Steres, Defender, LA Galaxy (6-7-2, eighth in West)

Sadly, most of the international soccer news seems to be anti-Semitic and/or anti-Zionist in nature.

Miscellaneous

Finally, here are a few items that fall under the general heading of “Jewish sports”:

There, all caught up. Now that there’s only baseball to worry about, things should be a little easier.

And now, the rest of the story (UPDATE)

Posted on: May 16th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

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.

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 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.

Where have you gone, Hank Greenberg (and Sandy Koufax)?

Posted on: September 19th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

http://www.loc.gov/loc/lcib/0409/images/haven_14.jpgThe baseball-loving Hebrew nation turns its lonely eyes to you (woo-woo-woo).

Over/under: Zero JML will not play on Yom Kippur, which begins the evening of September 29. That means just one would have to take the day off specifically for that reason to make the cut. Very doubtful, although teams could easily rest some players since it’s the last series of the regular season. On the other hand, you want to please your fans by having your stars in the lineup.

The breakdown: The Houston Astros, Cleveland Indians, and LA Dodgers are all in. The only regular on those clubs is Alex Bregman, who’s battling a hamstring issue so the Astros might want to rest him for the playoffs. Joc Pederson has played sporadically and might not even be on the post-season roster. Craig Breslow hasn’t pitched in almost two weeks for the Indians and might not be in the Tribe’s plans.

Wild card issues: The Milwaukee Brewers are still in the hunt so they might require the services of Ryan Braun if it comes down to the wire. The Toronto Blue Jays and Kevin Pillar still have an outside shot. Danny Valencia has not been a regular since the Seattle Mariners acquired Yonder Alonso. Ryan Sherriff is a rookie and probably doesn’t figure in the St. Louis Cardinals’ plans.

Ian Kinsler and the Detroit Tigers are toast so he might he on his farewell tour.

Naturally, I’ve written on all this before. Here are a couple of items for your amusement

 

Jice update: Welcome to the NHL, Josh Ho-Sang

Posted on: March 16th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Josh Ho-Sang was brought up by the NY Islanders on March 2. Although he’s played just eight games, the 21-year-old right-winger from Toronto already has three goals and three assists, including one of each in his last two appearances; his assist in Tuesday’s contest came on the game-winning goal in a 3-2 overtime decision against the host Carolina Hurricanes. The Isles are 33-25-11, fifth in Metropolitan Division and currently in the eighth spot in the East. According to a March 13 story in The New York Times, “Ho-Sang, who grew up in suburban Toronto, also brings an unusual family lineage to Brooklyn. His father, Wayne, is from Jamaica, and his great-grandfather was from Hong Kong. Ho-Sang’s mother, Ericka, was born in Chile, and her parents were Russian and Swedish. Ho-Sang was raised Jewish.”

I contacted the team’s PR staff to see about an interview and was told , “Right now, we are trying to make sure Josh can settle in with the team and not overburden him….  If there is an opportunity moving forward that works, we will keep you in mind.”

Stay tuned.

Josh Ho-Sang

As for the rest of the crew, in their most recent games…

Michael Cammalleri and the NJ Devils saw their Tuesday game against the visiting Winnipeg Jets postponed because of the snow in the area (I even had my weekly tennis game cancelled!).  He missed the previous contest  — a 5-4 loss to the host Arizona Coyotes — because of an upper body injury. (Can someone tell me why the NHL deals in such vague terms? Every other sport is pretty specific as to the injury that prevents someone from playing.) In fact, Cammalleri last appeared in a game on March 2, a 1-0 loss to the Washington Capitals in which he crashed awkwardly into the boards. He had not scored a goal since Jan. 3, a streak of 22 games without putting one between the pipes. For the season, Cammalleri has 10 goals and 20 assists and rumor has it he might be gone after the season. The Devils are 25-31-12, eighth in Metropolitan Division and last in the Eastern Conference.

Jason Demers played 17:07, taking two shots on goal for the Florida Panthers in their 7-2 win over Zach Hyman and the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday. Demers has nine goal and 13 assists for the 30-27-11 Panthers who are sixth in the Atlantic Division and 12th in the East. Hyman, meanwhile, took three SOG in 13:47 in that one and is 9/16. The Leafs are enjoying their best season in a long time: 31-23-14, fifth in the Atlantic and 10th in the East. Both teams have 14 games left, so there’s still a time — with a little luck — to grab a playoff spot.

On he other hand, Jason Zucker and the Minnesota Wild are sitting pretty: second in the Western Conference by one point with a record of 43-18-6. He took one SOG in Tuesday’s 4-2 loss to the host Washington Capitals and has 21 goals and 24 assists for the season.

 

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Could Jason Kipnis play for Team Israel in WBC?

Posted on: January 23rd, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Jason Kipnis as a member of Team Israel? Technically, perhaps. But it strikes me as a murky situation.

According to a recent article in the Cleveland Jewish News,

Under WBC rules, athletes can play for Team Israel as long as they are eligible for Israeli citizenship. That means having at least one Jewish grandparent or being married to someone Jewish. Nearly all the players on Israel’s roster personally identify as Jewish.

(Note the use of the word “nearly.” Very telling. I think people, including those in the media, make a lot of (wrong) assumptions that you have to be Jewish to be on the team. I know I’m confused. Those who fall into the criteria above are automatically considered citizens, but there are a number of citizens of the Jewish state who are not Jewish; couldn’t they play as well?)

Kipnis may very well fall into the category of having the requisite ancestral connections to qualify, but as far as I know he does not identify as Jewish, which again, isn’t the final yardstick.

Orange may be the new black and 60 may be the new thirty, but I doubt crosses are the new stars of David. Here’s the official stance as per the  Jewish Baseball News site.

Jason Kipnis

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Jewish Sports Review review

Posted on: January 18th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

The Jewish sports fan’s best friend arrived recently: The January/February issue of the Jewish Sports Review.

Among the topics covered:

  • http://jewishsportsreview.com/images/jsr.jpgA hockey preview, including the NHL, minor, Canadian and European League, as well as men’s and women’s hockey. It’s interesting to note that the editors continue to list Washington Capitals’ left-winger Andre Burakovsky. Your might remember from previous entries on the Korner that there’s been a bit of “identity crisis” over his inclusion.
  • JSR‘s women’s and men’s college All-America soccer teams for Di and D2 and 3 schools.
  • Jews in professional basketball for 2016-17, including Jews playing international basketball professionally and foreign Jews playing in Israel.
  • Sports shorts, a hodge-podge of snippets of Jewish sports news.
  • A list of Jewish athletes enshrined in American sports Halls of Fame.
  • A Jews in Sports quiz by Neil Keller

I can’t think of a better gift for the hard core sports enthusiasts. So why not get them a subscription? Six bi-monthly issues full of information you won’t find anywhere else for $36. For more, visit Jewishsportsreview.com.

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The White Shadow had one Jew; did he have to be a stereotype?

Posted on: January 3rd, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Some TV shows hold up well over time, others don’t.

I recently read David Bianculli’s The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to The Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific and am currently going through TV (The Book): Two Experts Pick the Greatest American Shows of All Time, by Alan Sepinwall and Matt Seitz. Both feature the seminal cop show Hill Street Blues. I happened to catch an episode the other day and marveled at how it doesn’t hold up. Mind you, this came out in the 1980s and at the time was a giant leap forward. But in retrospect, with the advent of cable TV, it is woefully lacking in good writing, good acting, and believability, IMO.

What the heck are you talking about, you might ask? What does this have to do with Jewish sports?

Well, another show of the era was The White Shadow (1978-81), about a former pro basketball player who whose career was cut short by injury. With little to fall back on, he turns to teaching in an inner-city school in Los Angeles (if I recall correctly). The team is the usual conglomeration of urban youth: Most of the team is black, with an Italian, a Mexican, and a Jew tossed in for good measure.

http://i.ytimg.com/vi/3YNQ-fxpzjQ/0.jpgThe Jewish kid is Abner Goldstein (why not just name him Jewy McJew?). He is basically a bench-warmer and is considered the outsider. He’s socially awkward, a good student, and very sensitive; I’ve even seen one source which referred to him as having Aspbergers. Even the coach seems to have no patience for the poor schlub.

Goldstein, as played by Ken Michelman, was given two episodes as the central character. One of these was “Little Orphan Abner.” You see Abner lives with his very Jewish grandparents for some reason that’s never explained. I’m not sure if they were supposed to be survivors, but the were obviously European in origin. They are decidedly old-world and old-school and very unhip but Abner, being the nice Jewish boy, doesn’t mind it at all and seems perplexed when the guys make jokes about the situation.

Abner is a “good boy” — he has Shabbos dinner every Friday night and all that stuff — but he wants to be one of the cool kids. Naturally, it doesn’t work out. From the IMDB blurb for the episode: “Goldstein’s shyness makes him the forgotten man on the team. When his grandfather takes ill, the players show him partial compassion. But only til his grandfather comes home. Goldstein must grow out of his shell and command respect.” The “partial compassion”

http://a.espncdn.com/media/pg2/2002/1004/photo/shadow6_i.jpgOf course, everything is nearly resolved within the 48-minute confines of the show. Here, watch it for yourself.

My main problem is, why can’t a Jew be cool? Why does he have to wear glasses, live a quiet life, be the brunt of jokes because he loves his family? Why can’t a Jew be the star of the team and get the girl? To be fair, Goldstein did end up joining the Marines in the Season Two finale, turning down a scholarship. But even so, did they have to make him such a nebbish?

The same thing could be said for another portrayal of a Jewish athlete: Rudi Stein. You may or may not recall him from the original Bad News Bears. Like Goldstein, he was an outcast on a whole team of outcasts. This kid was basically the guy who kept the score book. Because he was such a poor batter, his coach ordered him to get hit by a pitch in order to get on base. Needless to say, Stein didn’t appreciate his role.

On the other hand, there were a couple of Jewish athletes who were actually good. There was an episode of the old Bill Cosby show, where he played a phys ed teacher in — wait for it — an inner city school in Los Angeles. In one episode he was the coach of another lousy youth baseball team. A new kid who just moved to town joins and is immediately the star. The problem is that he’s Jewish and can’t play in the games because they take place on Saturdays. Here, the life lesson is, there are more important things than sports. (I wrote about that episode a few years ago.)

They used to cost a penny…AND you got free gum

Posted on: December 19th, 2016 by Ron Kaplan

This story from The New York Times about the baseball card hobby goes from A (Jeff Aeder, aka the prospective buyer) to Z (Guy Zinn, the rare item in question).

http://www.spikerfamily.com/files/resized/244181/500;688;f3852d84bd695a624f23a948954a1edbf9174ef9.jpgIt also comes on the heels of a discovery I had in my attic while looking for books to donate to the nearby Yogi Berra Museum: a box of 1969 Topps cards. It’s not a complete set — it’s missing about 10 cards — but the nostalgia is more important to me.

Long story short: “Aeder offered $125,000 for the card in 2014 and nearly claimed it. But the deal went sour at the last minute. Aeder balked because, he said, he received a poor appraisal of the card’s condition. The owner, Dan McKee of Baltimore County, refused to renegotiate.”

“If Zinn was not a Jewish player, this card is probably worth $10,000,” Aeder said. “If you talk to any dealer or collector, they’ll say McKee’s idea of value is the most overblown, crazy valuation of all time.”

So why was Aeder willing, at one point, to pay $125,000? “It really is something that if you have the means and the obsession, then someone pays a lot more than it’s worth,” he said.

Aeder is the founder of the online Jewish Baseball Museum. No doubt this would add gravitas to his project. Although as a “virtual” entity, does it really matter? It’s like listening to a ventriloquist on the radio.

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