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Omri Casspi Update

Posted on: December 12th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

OKC ThunderHere’s the rundown:

  • Wed, Dec 5, a 96-86 win over the visiting LA Clippers: Casspi scored seven points with four rebounds and a steal in 20 minutes off the bench,
  • Fri, Dec 7, a 107-103 win over the host New Orleans Pelicans: four points, three rebounds, one steal, one blocked shot in 11 minutes.
  • Sat, Dec. 8, a 111-88 loss to the visiting LA Lakers: two points, one rebound, one assist, two steals, one blocked shot in 13 minutes.
  • Mon, Dec. 10, a 105-99 loss top the host Denver Nuggets: a season-high 12 points, six rebounds, two assists in 19 minutes.

Could Casspi — who has played for seven teams (including just one game for the Pelicans in 2017 before getting hurt) in his 10 NBA seasons — be on the trading block once again?

 

JFL Update, Week 14

Posted on: December 12th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

What a cool ending to the game between the host Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots (9-4, first in AFC East) on Sunday. In case you missed “The Miracle in Miami,” here it is:

Almost an afterthought, but Nate Ebner appeared in 25 plays (78 percent) on special teams and had an assist on a tackle.

Mazel tov to Mitchell Schwartz and the 11-2 Kansas City Chiefs. They clinched a playoff berth with their 27-24 overtime win over the visiting Baltimore Ravens. Schwartz once again appeared on every offensive down (86) plus another seven (24 percent) on special teams.

No miracle for Josh Rosen and the Arizona Cardinals (3-10, T-third, NFC West) in this Hanukkah week. They were crushed — relatively speaking — by the visiting Detroit Lions, 17-3. Rosen completed 26 of 41 passes for 240 yards (tied for second for season-high) with no touchdowns and one interception. He also ran twice for three yards.

Ali Marpet also appeared on every offensive play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-8, third, NFC South) plus another 4/15% on special teams) as the visiting New Orleans Saints scored 17 fourth-quarter points to take the contest, 28-14.

Greg Joseph‘s two field goals proved to be the difference in the game, giving the Cleveland Browns (5-7-1, third, AFC North) a 26-20 win over the visiting Carolina Panthers. Joseph connected from 49 yards with less than a minute left in the second quarter to tie the game at 17-17 and 41 in the fourth to seal the deal.

Safety Jordan Dangerfield appeared on 16 special team plays (64 percent) as the Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5-1, first, AFC North) lost a tough one to the host Oakland Raiders, 24-17.

 

Speaking up, speaking out

Posted on: December 4th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

Following the attack at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh, the Steelers adjusted their logo to reflect their solidarity with the Jewish community. This has become a part of the social media culture, much like the “((( )))” was actually adopted by Jews as a self-identifying “in four face” against on-line antisemitism, as reported by Jonathan Weisman in his riveting book (((Semitism))): Being Jewish in America in the Age of Trump.

The Steelers also honored the victims prior to their game against the Browns on October 28 with a moment of silence. And a number of them came to some of the funerals.

I can’t watch these things without welling up.

As we all know, there aren’t a whole lot Jewish athletes out there, and even more rare is the standout, a Hank Greenberg or a Sandy Koufax who has a major impact. But there are some who were quoted in this AP story, “Jewish Athletes Making Their Voices Heard,” that has appeared in several newspapers around the country. Among them are Brad Ausmus, newly-appointed manager of the Los Angeles Angels; Omri Casspi of the Memphis Grizzlies in the NBA; and the NFL’s Josh Rosen (Arizona Cardinals) and Julian Edelman (New England Patriots), whose actual Judaism continues to be a sticking point.

 

Omri Casspi Update, Dec. 4, 2018

Posted on: December 4th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

Image result for omri casspi, grizzliesSince the last entry about the Israeli import, Omri Casspi has appeared both of the Memphis Grizzlies contests: a 131-125 double-overtime win over the host Brooklyn Nets on Nov. 30 and a 103-95 loss to the host Philadelphia 76ers on Dec. 2.

Casspi played 15 minutes off the bench against Brooklyn, scoring just one point with three rebounds and one assist as the Grizzlies broke a three-game losing streak in the former.

The next game, Casspi again played 15 minutes but this time with eight rebounds and zero points.

Memphis is 13-9, sixth in the Western Conference and tops in the Southwest Division, 1.5 games ahead of Mark Cuban’s Dallas Mavericks.

On a more serious note, Casspi was quoted in this Associated Press story about Jewish athletes following the anti-Semitic at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

“There’s crazy people out there, and it is what it is,” Casspi said. “The notion is that anti-Semitism is dead — it’s always going to be (around). Some people are just like that. There’s going to be racist people, there’s going to be anti-Semites.”

 

JFL Update, Week 13

Posted on: December 4th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

Josh Rosen led the Arizona Cardinals (3-9, third in NFC West) to an improbable 20-17 win over the host Green Bay Packers. Rosen was 11-26 for 149 passing yards with no TDs or interceptions. He rushed for 33 yards on one play, but also had a -1 on anther for a total of 32 yards. Depending on whose stats you go by Rosen is either 30th out of 31 qualifying quarterbacks in Total QBR (ESPN) or 30th among all QBS (NFL). Either way, it’s not very good, but given his rookie status, you hope he’s learning and that the Cardinals will provide him with a better supporting cast in years to come.

Getty Images

Mitchell Schwartz played all 71 offensive downs for the KC Chiefs and another seven (22 percent) as the KC Chiefs (10-2, first in AFC West) held off a late charge by the host Oakland Raiders for a 40-33 win.

Nate Ebner returned to action after missing last week’s game for the New England Patriots. He appeared on 20 special teams plays (80 percent) as the Pats (9-3, first in AFC East)  beat the visiting Minnesota Vikings, 24-10.

Ali Marpet appeared on all 65 offensive plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-7. third in NFC South) plus another four (17 percent) as his crew beat the visiting Carolina Panthers, 24-17.

Safety Jordan Dangerfield appeared in 19 special teams plays (63 percent) and recovered one of the team’s own fumbles as the Pittsburgh Steelers (7-4-1, first in AFC North) gave up 18 fourth quarter points to the visiting LA Chargers to lose, 33-30, the winning score coming on a field goal with 4:10 left to play.

Greg Joseph did not attempt a field goal for the Cleveland Browns (4-7-1, fourth in AFC North) in their 29-13 loss to the host Houston Texans. he made one PAT, the browns failing on a two point conversion following their second TD.

It was pointed out to me during the NY-Chicago game that the Bears have two players with apparently Jewish surnames (Tarik Cohen and Eddie Goldman), neither of whom are MOT. “A rose by any other name…”

 

Omri Casspi Update

Posted on: November 28th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

Yeah, yeah, I know. It’s been awhile since I wrote about Omri Casspi. You expect me to post with consistency? As Emerson said, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall.”

So now that I’ve shown off a bit, let’s get to the heart of the matter.

Casspi has appeared in 14 of the Memphis Grizzlies’ 20 games, which is pretty good for him. Means he hasn’t sustained any serious injuries, although he did miss five straight games earlier this month with a knee problem. One of those included a visit from the Golden State Warriors, who presented Casspi with a championship ring. It certainly was a source of pride for the MOT community. And it’s the least the Warriors could have done, considering the shabby way they let him go with just two games left in the regular season. Not only did he miss out on playing on that victorious squad, but who was going to sign him with just a couple of contests remaining? But business is business, I suppose.

Casspi scored 10 points in last night’s 122-114 loss to the visiting Toronto Raptors but the Grizzlies are still doing well at 12-8, good for a fifth-place tie in the Western Conference and just a game and a half out of first. His return to the lineup came at an opportune time.

Here are Casspi’s season highs:

Minutes: 24, 10/19 vs. Atlanta Hawks
Points: 11, twice, 10/19 vs. Atlanta Hawks and 11/21 vs. San Antonio Spurs
Rebounds: 6, 11/21 vs. San Antonio Spurs
Assists: 3, 10/27 vs. Phoenix Suns
Steals: 1, three times
Blocked Shots: 2, 11/21 vs. San Antonio Spurs

So fingers crossed, Casspi will remain healthy, the Grizzlies will continue to stay in the hunt, and he’ll get that post-season chance denied to him last year.

 

Maccabiah Update

Posted on: November 27th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

It’s been a while since I posted any news about the Maccabi sports movement, including the Maccabiah Games. Here’s an attempt to remedy.

You can see that the Maccabi movement in Great Britain is very active. One of my regrets during my recent trip to England was not being able to visit them, as well as missing out on the British Baseball Federation. Oh, well, maybe next time.

Finally, On December 9…

 

You can’t click on the image to access the page, so just drop them an email or call ’em up.

Here’s a piece from the NJ Jewish News I wrote about Jeff Bukantz and other locals who participated in the 2013 Games. I know there are other stories about JB, including a discussion of his book about his dad, Daniel, himself a fencing legend, but unfortunately they don’t appear to be on the NJJN website.

And finally, finally, some shameless self-promotion: if you are interested in having me speak to your synagogue or group about my book, The Jewish Olympics: The History of the Maccabiah Games (or any of my other books for that matter), drop me a line and let’s chat.

Image result for kaplan, jewish olympics

 

 

JFL Update, Week 12

Posted on: November 27th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

It looked good for a little while at least: Arizona Cardinals (2-9, T-third, NFC West) quarterback Josh Rosen threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Larry Fitzgerald four minutes into the first quarter. That was followed by a field goal a little bit later for a 10-0 lead. But that was it for the Cardinals’ scoring and it all went downhill from there as the host LA Chargers roared back for a 45-10 win. Rosen ended the day completing 12 of 19 passes for 105 yards with that TD plus an interception and was sacked for an 11-yard loss. He also rushed twice for negative one yard. And, to add insult to non-injury, there was this.

Kicker Greg Joseph did not attempt any field goals but hit on five PATs as the Cleveland Browns (4-6-1, fourth, AFC North) beat the host Cincinnati Bengals, 35-20.

Safety Jordan Dangerfield appeared on three defensive plays (5 percent) and another 18 on special teams (67 percent) as the Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3-1, first AFC North) fell to the host Denver Broncos on a fourth quarter touchdown, 24-17.

Ali Marpet appeared on all 73 offensive plays plus another five (18 percent) on special teams for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7, T-third NFC South) in a 27-9 win over the visiting San Francisco 49ers.

Nate Ebner was not active for the New England Patriots (8-3, first, AFC East) in their 27-13 win over the host NY Jets. From CBSSports.com on Nov. 23, “Ebner was a surprise addition to Friday’s injury report, logging a limited participation in practice after having been unlisted to begin the week. The veteran safety appears to have suffered a knee injury of undisclosed severity during practice.” But at least he won his bet with Tom Brady over the Michigan-Ohio State game.

Mitchell Schwartz and the KC Chiefs (9-2, first AFC West) were in their bye week.

 

 

JFL Update, Week 10

Posted on: November 14th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

In a meeting of the MOTs, Mitchell Schwartz and the host KC Chiefs came out on top, beat Josh26-14. Schwartz  appeared on all 59 offensive plays plus 4 (16 percent) on special teams. Rosen was 22 of 39 on passing with one TD and two interceptions. The Chiefs are on top of the AFC West with a 9-1 mark, tied with the LA Rams for best in the NFL. The Cardinals, on the other hand, are 2-7, third in the NFC West.

A November 9 article in the KC Star took note of Schwartz’s durability:

Image result for mitchell schwartzSchwartz, now in his seventh NFL season and third as starting right tackle for the Chiefs, has the longest current streak of consecutive snaps (6,934) of any player in the NFL, and his 102 consecutive games started ranks first among offensive tackles. He could reach the 7,000-consecutive snaps milestone at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday.

“That doesn’t happen very often,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “You saw the other guy (Joe Thomas) there Sunday (in Cleveland), he was doing a show or something on the sidelines. It is quite a feat. You go back to the Denver game (last year) where I sat a bunch of the guys and he wanted to be out there. If sat (Schwartz) down, he would have done that too, but he wanted to be out there.”

The 59 plays puts Schwartz just short of the mark.Finger crossed for next Monday’s meeting with the Rams, which is also in the news. The two teams were scheduled to play in Mexico City. Not gonna happen. According to a press release from the NFL:

The NFL announced today that it will move the Monday, November 19, Kansas City Chiefs-Los Angeles Rams game originally scheduled for Estadio Azteca in Mexico City to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles.

The decision is based on the determination – in consultation with the NFLPA and following a meeting and field inspection this afternoon by NFL and club field experts as well as local and independent outside experts – that the playing field at Estadio Azteca does not meet NFL standards for playability and consistency and will not meet those standards by next Monday.

Safety Jordan Dangerfield appeared on four defensive plays (7 percent) and another 19 on special teams (61 percent) as the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2-1, first AFC North) crushed the visiting Carolina Panthers, 52-21. Dangerfield made one tackle and was also credited with a “combination” tackle.

Kicker Greg Joseph did not attempt any field goals but hit on four PATs as the Cleveland Browns (3-6-1, fourth, AFC North) beat the visiting Atlanta Falcons, 28-16.

Nate Ebner appeared on 27 special teams plays (90 percent) with two tackle assists as the New England Patriots (7-3, first, AFC East) were beat up by the host Tennessee Titans, 34-10.

Ali Marpet appeared on all 69 offensive plays plus another three (15 percent) on special teams for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-6, fourth NFC South) in a 16-3 loss to the visiting Washington Redskins.

 

 

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.

 
 
   
 

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