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Posts Tagged ‘Alex Bregman’

 

JML Update, Nov. 17, 2017

Posted on: November 17th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan No Comments

I mistakenly said these were the winter meetings. In fact, their the general manager meetings. I guess it’s like spring training; they’re getting a feel for what the real WM portend.

Like the WM, there’s no shortage of rumors. Now it seems the LA Angels are interested in Ian Kinsler, who was included in this list of the 15 Tigers most and least likely to be traded. Fifteen? That’s more than half the team. Seems they can’t make up their minds though: ”

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.

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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.

 

 

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?)

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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.

 

 

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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.

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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?)

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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.

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

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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.

 

 

 

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.

JML Update, World Series Game Six

Posted on: November 1st, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

We have a record!

With his third home run of the Series, Joc Pederson becomes #1 in that category, taking over the top spot from Hank Greenberg, who slugged two in the 1934 fall classic. Hammerin’ Hank still holds the mark for RBIs in one Series — at least for now — with seven; Pederson has five.

His latest blast came as an insurance run in the LA Dodgers’ 3-1 win over the visiting Houston Astros for force Game Seven. It was Pederson’s only hit in three at bats (after the 13-12 slugfest the previous game, both teams combined for just 11 hits.)

In this clip, Pederson shares his thoughts with his brother, Champ. Sweet.

Alex Bregman was 1-for-4 for the Astros and made another sparkling play in the field.

JML Update: World Series wows

Posted on: October 30th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Who would have though that it would be two Jews among the leading hitters in the World Series in home runs?

That was the outcome by the end of Game Four in which Joc Pederson‘s three-run shot in the ninth put the icing on the cake in the LA Dodgers’ 6-2 win over the host Houston Astros. This was followed in the bottom of the inning by Alex Bregman‘s blast for his team’s final score. Both batters have two home runs, which is all the more remarkable when you think that it was a long shot that Pederson would even be on the roster.

Pederson’s three-run bomb gave the Dodgers the 6-1 lead.

Bregman answered with one of his own, but too little, too late. And it was one of only two hits his team could muster.

And for the piece de resistance, Bregman notched the first walk-off hit by a Jewish player in the World Series when his RBI single drove home Derek Fisher with the winner in a 13-12 extra inning wild one last night with the Dodgers scoring three runs in the first and holding a 4-0 lead going into the bottom of the fourth. The Astros tied it, then fell behind, 7-4. Then tied it again, 7-7. Then fell behind , 8-7. Then took the lead, 11-8. Then lost it when the the game was tied 12-12 after nine innings before Bregman’s heroics. He also singled and walked in six plate appearances, scoring twice. That walk — which too 10 pitchers — knocked Dodgers’ starter Clayton Kershaw out of the game.

The Astros lead three games to two as they head back to California.

Lots of clips…

Pederson walked as a pinch-hitter in the sixth last night and hit a towering one-out double in the eighth. He took a little heat for it for watching the shot to see if it would be another home run. He’s batting .364 with two doubles, two homers, and four RBIs. Bregman is now at .273 with a double and two home runs. He’s driven in one run in each of the five games so far.

Both of “our boys” are making us proud. Mazel tov. I wonder how they’ll do on the rubber chicken circuit (kids, ask your parents) in the off-season.

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.

JML Update: World Series, Game One

Posted on: October 25th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

He’s beginning to talk like a man. On the other hand, what kind of a match would that be with a poor tailor?

On the other hand, he is an honest, hard worker.

But on the other hand, he has absolutely nothing.

On the other hand, things could never get worse for him, only better.

Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof regarding a marriage proposal for one of his many daughters.

This is what I thought of when I learned that the LA Dodgers had beaten the Houston Astros, 3-1. On the one hand, the Houston Astros lost to the LA Dodgers. On the other hand, Alex Bregman was the standout player for his team, relatively speaking. Not surprised that Clayton Kershaw was on his game, striking out 12 in seven innings while holding the opposition to the lone run on just three hits. But one of those hits — and the run — came courtesy of  Bregman, who parked one over the fence in the fourth inning to temporarily tie the game at 1-1.

 

Bregman also started this double play in the fifth inning…

And Sandy Koufax was in the house!

Joc Pederson did not appear in the game for the Dodgers.

Fun facts: Bregman became the youngest player since 1995 to hit a home run in the fall classic. Let’s hope this pronouncement by Dayn Perry doesn’t turn out to be a curse of the Astros’ third baseman. The last Jew to hit a home run in the World Series was pitcher Ken Holtzman as a member of the 1974 Oakland As. His blast came in the fourth of the five-game series, won by the As over the LA Dodgers. He hit only two in the regular season in his 15-year career. According to my quick research, the only other MOT to homer in the World Series was Hank Greenberg, who hit five: one each in 1934, 1935, and 1940, and two in 1945.

   
 

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