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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:

KEVIN YOUKILIS

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.

 

Big Deal, Little Deal, No Deal?

Posted on: December 25th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

The good folks at Pardon the Interruption have a regular segment by this name in which they rate the importance of certain issues that pop up in sports, Usually it’s something like social media comments by athletes or arguments bewteen players and officials, but here’s one I’m tossing in (disclosure: I have not watched the show lately to see if they reported on it, although they have been on holiday hiatus recently).

So here’s the deal: LeBron James tweeted about a song he likes that has what many believe to be anti-Semitic overtones.

Some —  like Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind — think it’s a big deal.

https://thenypost.files.wordpress.com/2018/12/dov-hikind-lebron-james.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=618&h=410&crop=1

Others — and I won’t get into whom they might be — think it’s no deal. I fall in the middle. I’m not as outragd as some, but rather a bit annoyed.

Should we take it on faith that a grown man like James didn’t realize the lyrics might be offensive? I don’t think so. He’s been a round long enough to know the score.

Should we accept that he’s sincere in his apology? I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on that one.

That’s all I have to say on the matter.

 

JFL Update, Week 16

Posted on: December 25th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

Josh Rosen completed 12 of 23 pass attempts for just 87 yards as the Arizona Cardinals (3-12, fourth in NFC West and worst in the league) were crushed by the visiting Los Angeles Rams, 31-9. On the bright side, he did lead the team in rushing with 49 yards on four attempts. The Cardinals’ only touchdown pass came from Larry Fitzgerald, the first of his career. Although Rosen has obviously been having his problems, Fitzgerald believes he has the goods to make it with the team.

Free safety Nate Ebner appeared in 25 special team plays (86 percent) as the New England Patriots (10-5, first in AFC East and clinched the division) beat the host Buffalo Bills, 24-12. He made an assist on one tackle.

Strong safety Jordan Dangerfield appeared on three defensive plays (3 percent) and another 19 (66 percent) on special teams as the Pittsburgh Steelers lost on a late fourth-quarter touchdown by Drew Brees and the host New Orleans Saints, 31-28. According to ESPN, the Steelers, at 8-6-1, “have almost no chance to be a wild-card team. Their best path to the playoffs is with a Week 17 victory against Cincinnati, combined with a Ravens loss. They could theoretically be a wild-card team if they win, and the Colts and Titans tie.”

Mitchell Schwartz and the host Kansas City Chiefs (11-4, T-first AFC West) dropped their second straight, losing to host Seattle Seahawks, 38-31. Schwartz once again appeared on every offensive down (61) plus another five (15 percent) on special teams, even though he had missed practice sessions due to a knee injury. Brother (and former JFLer) Geoff contributed this piece to SB Nation, suggesting on ways the system needs to improve when it comes to picking offensive linemen for the Pro Bowl. I wonder if he would have done so had not Mitchell been snubbed?

Ali Marpet also appeared on every offensive play (80) for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-10, fourth, NFC South) plus another 5/19% on special teams in a 27-20 loss to the host Dallas Cowboys.

Greg Joseph connected on two field goals to help the Cleveland Browns beat the visiting Cincinnati Bengals, 26-18. With their 7-7-1 record (third, AFC North), the Browns have their best mark since they were 10-6 in 2007.

 

JFL Update, Week 15

Posted on: December 19th, 2018 by Ron Kaplan

Free safety Nate Ebner appeared in 18 special team plays (90 percent) as the New England Patriots continued their less-than-usually-dominating season with a 17-10 loss to the host Pittsburgh Steelers. The Pats are still atop the AFC East with their 9-5 record. String safety Jordan Dangerfield was in on 13 plays (65 percent) for the Steelers, who lead the AFC North with a record of 8-5-1.

Not a great day for Josh Rosen and the Arizona Cardinals, pummeled by the host Atlanta Falcons, 40-14. Once again, Rosen was without a touchdown, hitting on 13 of 22 passing attempts with two interceptions (one of which was brought back for a touchdown, the fourth time he has done that in his rookie year) and a rating of just 38.4. He ran twice for eiight yards, was sacked six times, and lost a fumble. The loss dropped the Cardinals’ record to 3-11, last in the AFC West.

Mitchell Schwartz and the host Kansas City Chiefs. The teams are tied for first in the AFC West with 11-3 records. Schwartz once again appeared on every offensive down (60) plus another four (17 percent) on special teams. Some fans are upset that he was not selected for the 2019 Pro Bowl.

Ali Marpet also appeared on every offensive play (50) for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-9, T-third, NFC South) plus another 3/13% on special teams in a 20-12 loss to the host Baltimore Ravens.

If one were being generous, one might say that Greg Joseph‘s only field goal of the day — 40 yards in the second quarter — was the difference in the Cleveland Browns’ 17-16 win over the host Denver Broncos. At 6-7-1, the browns still have a shot at a post-season slot.

 

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.

 
 
   
 

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