Posts Tagged ‘Gabe Kapler’


JML Update, Nov. 8, 2017

Posted on: November 9th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

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?)


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.





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


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.


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?)


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.


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


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.




In other JML news

Posted on: October 30th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Baseball does not live in the vacuum of the World Series. So here are some tidbits on some of the other fine fellows…

Image result for Gabe KaplerCongrats to Gabe Kapler, right, the latest MOT to be named manager in the majors. He will take the reigns of the Philadelphia Phillies in 2018. Kapler — who appeared in 1,104 games during his 12-year big league career — was a member of the Boston Red Sox when they had four Jews on the roster at the same time, back in 2006. Can you name the other three? (Answer below)

Where might Brad Ausmus end up, if anywhere? There are a number of teams still looking for new on-field leadership, including the NY Yankees, but I really doubt that will happen.

Ian Kinsler and Kevin Pillar were named Gold Glove finalists for second base and outfielder, respectively. Kinsler won the honors last year but Pillar has yet to match the feat. And it doesn’t look like he’ll do so this year, at least according to Jays Journal blogger Clayton Richer.

I would ask if Danny Valencia might join Kinsler on the Tigers but lots of wagging tongues don’t think Kinsler will be on the squad come spring training. If Valencia does change flannel, it will be his eighth team in nine seasons.

Atlanta Braves rookie pitcher Max Fried continues to impress in the Arizona Fall League.

(The other three were Kevin Youkilis, Adam Stern, and Craig Breslow.)


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.

Gabe Kapler's "kup"

Posted on: August 26th, 2013 by Ron Kaplan

Former JML Gabe Kapler is more than just a pretty face (and a brawny body). If there’s anyone who looks like he might have benefited from pharmaceutical assistance, well:




But Kapler, who spent 12 years playing for six teams (not all at the same time, but perhaps he could have), has always denied. He contributed this piece on “Giving Up the PED Guessing Game” to the Baseball Prospectus website a few weeks ago. Since then, he’s been a guest on Keith Law’s Behind the Dish podcast on ESPN (you can hear it here) and been the subject of numerous blog posts, including this one by Rob Neyer on Baseball Nation. Neyer noted that the erudite Kapler might be wasting his talent by signing on to new Fox Sports 1 network. From Slate:

Launching a 24-hour network in sports’ sleepiest season and being perfectly passable is no small accomplishment, but still, everything on FS1 is acceptable without being remarkable. Fox Sports Live is nearly indistinguishable from SportsCenter, except that its scroll of superflous information—this day in sports history!—runs down the right side of the screen and not the left. Onrait and O’Toole do a solid Olbermann and Patrick impersonation, but the most interesting part of their shtick is their Canadian pronunciation of the word “Out,” which, for a limited time only, turns every baseball segment into a nationality crisis. Will Americans accept their baseball news if it’s delivered by a Canadian?? Onrait and O’Toole are doing what they can to squash their native vowel sounds, so in a week or two, no viewer will be prompted to ponder this question.

Fox Sports Live, like FS1 more generally, shows an interest in Ultimate Fighting that ESPN does not. For now, UFC makes up the bulk of FS1’s programming, and this weekend’s bouts were the lead segment on Live. (I admit to disliking UFC for the very reason many people, presumably, like it—the fighting—but I’m impressed by any sport that lets its players wear light-pink boxer briefs.) Onrait and O’Toole also regularly throw to Charissa Thompson, who oversees a panel of retired professional athletes, including Donovan McNabb, Andy Roddick, Ephraim Salaam, and, sometimes, Gary Payton and Gabe Kapler, opining on the sports news of the day. The retired journeyman Kapler had apparently not gotten the memo about jockularity, citing some statistics from Baseball Prospectus about the Dodgers’ and Tigers’ respective chances of making the World Series. I imagine he was forced to sit in front of the studio’s massive scoreboard in a dunce cap repeating to himself, “I will be more jockular.” [My emphasis]

On this week’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell me, Fox’s newest enterprise was the subject of this entry on the “Who’s Carl this time?” segment:

PETER SAGAL: For your last quote, Stephen, we have an anchor on a new TV network responding to criticism he was trying too hard.

CARL KASELL: I’d like to correct you. We do not try hard. We put zero effort into the show.


SAGAL: That anchor was – Carl, you’re not supposed to be confessing. You’re supposed to be reading from the script.


SAGAL: Never mind. No, that anchor was on a new sports channel taking on ESPN. It’s brought to you by what name in entertainment?


SAGAL: No, get ready for the new show “Bill O’Reilly Yells At Sports.”



SAGAL: Fox, yes.



SAGAL: Fox News, or rather Fox, having already become one of the big entertainment networks dominating cable news, they’re going after ESPN’s audience, with the debut of Fox Sports One, a national all-sports channel. And what’s the secret weapon they’re using to defeat ESPN? Regis Philbin.




SAGAL: The 82-year-old host, who began his entertainment career shouting the news from the market square in medieval London…


SAGAL: Will host a…

FELBER: Hear ye, hear ye.

SAGAL: Will host a daily talk show called “Crowd Goes Wild.” We assume Fox’s traditional, male, older-audience viewers will tune in, hoping of course they’ll see, you know, crowd goes wild. They’re hoping to see various athlete lift their shirts. Big surprise for them: It’s going to be Regis.


SAGAL: Hey, look at my appendectomy scar.

PAULA POUNDSTONE: They’re changing the name to “Crowd Goes Ew.”



JML update, Aug. 8

Posted on: August 8th, 2013 by Ron Kaplan

Ike Davis had a double, a walk, and scored two runs as the NY Mets beat the visiting Colorado Rockies, 5-0 on a masterful complete-game by rookie “phenom” Matt Harvey. Josh Satin did not appear in the game, but he’s still keeping busy.

Nate Freiman lined out as a pinch-hitter in the Oakland As’ 6-5 loss to the host Cincinnati Reds. I was listening to a Behind the Dish podcast, hosted by Keith Law of ESPN, on which former JML Gabe Kapler (the taller chap in the photo at right) was the guest. The main topic of discussion was the use of “new” stats, one of which is how many pitches a batter sees per plate appearance. The theory goes the the more pitches he sees — balls, fouls, etc. — the better as his team gets to see the pitchers’ repertoires and drives up the hurlers’ pitch counts, conceivably getting them out of the game faster. Well, if that’s the case, Freiman failed. He swung at the first pitch.

By the way, you can here the Kapler interview here. [audio:http://njjewishnews.com/kaplanskorner/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/behindthedish_2013-07-30-132308-7744-0-0-0.48b.mp3|titles=behindthedish_2013-07-30-132308-7744-0-0-0.48b]

Sam Fuld hit a two-run pinch single in the seventh inning to give his Tampa Bay Rays an 8-7 lead over the host Arizona Diamondbacks. Unfortuynately for them, the D’backs scored twice in the bottom of the eighth to earn a 9-8 win.

Ian Kinsler was 1-6 as the Texas Rangers beat up the host Los Angeles Angels, 10-3. Teammate Nelson Cruz was one of the players suspended by MLB in their PED scourge. Here’s what Kinsler had to say on the matter.

Well, you didn’t expect it to last forever, did you? All it took was one bad pitch (and, heck, it might have even been a good one), and Houston Astros reliever Josh Zeid‘s brief scoreless streak goes out the window. He gave up a two-run homer to the visiting Boston Red Sox’s Jonny Gomes as the Astros blew a one-run lead in the ninth to lose, 7-5.  Zeid’s earned run average jumps top 3.38. Neither Craig Breslow nor Ryan Lavarnway appeared for Boston.

DNP: Scott Feldman in the Baltimore Orioles’ 10-3 win over the host San Diego Padres.

Disabled list: Kevin Youkilis, NY Yankees; Jason Marquis, San Diego Padres

Suspended: Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers

WBC good new/bad news

Posted on: September 19th, 2012 by Ron Kaplan

The bad news is that Gabe Kapler sustained an injury and has taken himself off the active roster for Team Israel.

The good news: Adam Greenberg gets his spot. Follow Greenberg on Twitter at @adamgreenberg5.


Re-play (clap-clap-clap)! Re-play (clap-clap-clap)!

Posted on: June 27th, 2012 by Ron Kaplan

There was a situation in last night’s New York-Cleveland game in which third umpire Mike DiMuro credited Yankees leftfielder Dewayne Wise with catching a foul pop off the bat of Jack Hannahan for the third out of the seventh inning.

Problem was, Wise never caught the ball; it ended up in the hands of a fan.

Your browser does not support iframes.

(In case the video can’t be viewed on your browser, you can watch the clip here.)

Don’t you just love how the announcers are so sure of themselves? First they credit Wise (who did make one of the great catches of all time to protect Mark Buehrle’s perfect game as a member of the White Sox in 2009 (on a ball hit by MOT Gabe Kapler, no less)). Then they say that some kid must have stuck another ball in his glove, then they acknowledge a second fan had possession.

To add insult to injury, DiMuro tossed Hannahan out of the game for having the temerity to tell the umpire he had blown the call.

The Indians were trailing 4-0 at the time but had a runner on third. Who knows if the batter had had a second chance off that foul ball, if he might not have stroked a hit to keep the inning going? And the Indians might have won the game. And used this as a launch point. And won the division. And won the Championships. And won the World Series. And inspired some poor kid to achieve great things. Damn umpires. Damn Yankees.

From Yahoosports:

With the benefit of video replay, it’s easy to see the ball fall out of Wise’s glove and roll down the row to a fan in a red shirt, who picked it up and held it aloft as DiMuro came over to investigate. Some investigation it was, too. DiMuro didn’t even ask for Wise to show him the ball. He simply assumed he caught it and signaled as such. Wise, not about to argue his team out of an out, instead kept his glove closed, collected himself and ran off the field — canary in mouth, if not ball in glove.

So how could DiMuro, a veteran of 12 seasons (not to mention the son of long-time umpire Lou DiMuro) not have asked to see the ball. Heck, the umpires in my senior softball league do that as a matter of course.

I was listening to the Boomer and Carton show on WFAN this morning and Carton noted how the Yankees seem to catch all the breaks: The Jeffrey Maier-assisted home run for Derek Jeter in the 1996 American League Championship Series (which ushered in a mi i-dynasty for the Yankees who were in four of the next five World Series); the post-season calls that went against the Minn. Twins… Of course it probably jut seems that way to Yankee haters. These things have a habit of evening out. It’s just like the recent R.A. Dickey – CC Sabathia event on Sunday. You knew Dickey would have a mediocre game at some point, but because it came against the Yankees, it was magnified.

Of course, all this adds fuel to the fire of those who are barking for the use of instant replay/video in overturning such rulings.

"Israel at WBC" mash-up

Posted on: May 25th, 2012 by Ron Kaplan

With Brad Ausmus in Israel on a “good will” tour, numerous outlets have been coming out with stories abut how an Israeli team, stocked with American-Jewish current and former pros might just surprise at the qualifiers to be held in Jupiter in November.

This, from the Times of Israel, notes that active players might be reluctant to commit since the dates for the tourney, which includes teams from France, Spain, and South Africa (not exactly bastions of baseball either). Certainly Ian Kinsler and Scott Feldman of the Texas Rangers have a good possibility of playing into the post-season and who knows about other teams that feature JMLs, especially with the opportunities an extra wild card offers. There’s still plenty of time for the Red Sox (Kevin Youkilis), Brewers (Ryan Braun), and  — dare I say it — even the Mets (Ike Davis) to turn things around. And don’t forget, Israel is not looking to put together an All-Star team, just players who fill the requirements, so there are several in the minors who would do nicely.

Tablet Magazine conducted this e-mail interview with Ausmus, who’s over in Israel taking the “temperature.”

From left: Brad Ausmus; President Shimon Peres; Ambassador Shapiro. (Photo courtesy Ambassador Dan Shapiro/Facebook)


A story from Foxsports.

One thing to consider, especially for the higher-profile players: what if they’re asked to play on Team USA? Uh-oh, there goes that “divided loyalties” issue.

Things getting serious for Israel's WBC team?

Posted on: May 22nd, 2012 by Ron Kaplan

If The Sporting News takes note, it must mean something.

“World Baseball Classic: Israel squad could be dangerous with stars Ryan Braun, Ian Kinsler available,” reads the headline for an article on the TSN website. But I guess the thing is if, Kinsler and Braun are available. The Rangers are a favorite to make it into the post-season; the Brewers, not so much. The “Israeli” team plays its qualifying round in Florida in November, so if Kinsler’s Rangers make it back to the World Series for a third straight year, that would make him one tired doggie.

You don’t have to be Jewish to qualify for the team, just a “citizen.” Anyone who has at least one Jewish grandparent qualifies as an Israeli citizen, so that would take care of those matralineal descent issues, like Braun, whose father is Jewish, but not his mother.

According to TSN, “Israel can tap into the formidable pool of Jewish-American baseball talent that includes about 15 major leaguers” (this includes several athletes like the injured Sam Fuld (Tampa Bay Rays) and minor leaguers like Ryan Lavarnway, Michael Schwimer, and Danny Valencia, who made their ML debuts but are currently in the minors and recently retired players like Shawn Green, Gabe Kapler, and Ausmus.)


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