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Posts Tagged ‘Ryan Lavarnway’

 

JML Update, Games of 8/8/17

Posted on: August 9th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan No Comments

 

Stats courtesy JewishBaseballNews.com

Welcome to the club: Max Fried made his major league debut last night, tossing the final two innings in the Atlanta Braves’ 5-2 loss to the visiting Philadelphia Phillies. He walked two and gave up two hits while striking out one. Mazel tov, Max!

Alex Bregman had a two-out, game-tying, three-run triple (#4) for the Houston Astros (71-41) but the host Chicago White Sox (42-68) came back for an 8-5 win. Bregman, batting in the leadoff spot, was 1-for-3 with two walks. According to RotoBaller, he has 13 extra-base hits over his last 14 games. He wasn’t so great on the basepaths, however, getting picked off as well as caught stealing. Brad Goldberg did not appear for the Sox.

Ryan Braun, still batting in the second slot in the order, hit his first three-bagger of the year to go along with his 17th double and a single, but the Milwaukee Brewers (59-56) lost to the host Minnesota Twins, 11-4.

Danny Valencia hit a game-tying, pinch-hit sacrifice fly in the eighth inning as the Seattle Mariners (58-56) beat the host Oakland As, 8-7, in 10 innings. Ryan Lavarnway, whom the As had designated for assignment, cleared waivers and was outrighted to AAA Nashville.

Ian Kinsler was 1-for-4 with a run scored but the Detroit Tigers (51-61) lost to the host Pittsburgh Pirates, 9-3. Here’s an interesting take on how players market themselves from FanGraphs.com:

MLB players haven’t become ubiquitous in popular culture the way stars in other sports have. While the players themselves have remarkable talent, and fans already watching the game will know the names Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, and Miguel Cabrera, but a casual observer or non-fan on the street would be hard pressed to pick those players out of a lineup. Whether it’s the structural problems the sport presents — star players are involved in a fraction of a Major League game, unlike in other sports, where teams can make sure their best players are involved on nearly every play — or the failings of the teams and the league itself to market their stars, baseball players just aren’t the marketing behemoths that basketball and football players often are.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities out there for players interested in marketing themselves, rather than leaving the heavy lifting to the league or their organization. What former Cubs catcher David Ross and Detroit Tigers second-baseman Ian Kinsler have done recently is demonstrate what happens when a player takes control of their own story, and uses the power of social media, television, and a bounty of available resources to help sell themselves (and perhaps a few products as well).

Kinsler has done well for himself on the field over the last several years, but has the kind of skills that often fly under the radar. He’s a career .275/.343/.448 hitter, a four-time All-Star, and a 2016 Gold Glove winner, but he’s not usually been regarded as a franchise player, despite performing like one. He’s precisely the kind of player who is beloved on his own team but gets little notice beyond that, in spite of turning highlight-reel double plays, or textbook perfect ball-drops.

Ian Kinsler is not a typical magnet for marketers. Because his appeal doesn’t have the same reach as bigger-name guys on the team like Miguel Cabrera or Justin Verlander, Kinsler is not the first choice for most companies. In spite of that, he has managed to craft an image for himself that mirrors his on-field persona.

In 2016, Warstic, the baseball bat company Kinsler co-owns with Ben Jenkins and White Stripes frontman Jack White, were approved for use in the MLB. Soon the bats were being sported by Kinsler and teammate Nick Castellanos in Tigers games and their popularity spread to other teams. Leading into the 2017 season, Kinsler and White loaned their individual talents to the promotion of Warstic by putting out a series of videos featuring Kinsler preparing for games as if he were a warrior heading into battle, while White’s music accompanied in the background. Kinsler, Tigers pitcher Daniel Norris, and Ben Jenkins were also featured in a short film ahead of the season in which the men learned sniper rifle techniques from Navy SEALs as a means to find their focus in the pressure of a game.

Even in a commercial where Kinsler promoted Beats by Dre headphones, his persona was the same. He is always careful about how he is portrayed, manipulating the medium to create a brand for himself. In every one of these ads he is the serious, contemplative warrior, preparing himself to face off against his enemies. The image crafted is that of a man who takes his sport and himself seriously. It is an effective method to maintain the image of a fierce competitor on the field, and a man whose life beyond the baseball diamond is a mystery, but one can almost picture him climbing onto a horse after the game and riding off into the sunset now that the battle is over.

Back to business…

Joc Pederson was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts as the LA Dodgers (79-33) lost to the host Arizona Diamondbacks, 6-3.

Kevin Pillar was 0-for-4 as the Toronto Blue Jays (53-59) beat the visiting NY Yankees, 4-2.

Richard Bleier did not appear for the Baltimore Orioles (56-57) who lost to the host LA Angels, 3-2.

Conflicting info re: Scott Feldman‘s return. One source says the Cincinnati Reds’ starter should be back by Saturday while another says he’s not as far along in his progress as had been hoped.

Correction: Yesterday I said that early 20th-century Pittsburgh Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss was the only Jew besides Hank Greenberg and Sandy Koufax to have a plaque in Cooperstown. Add former commissioner Bud Selig to the list. Selig was among the latest batch of inductees to go into the Hall. HT to Bob Wechsler for the reminder.

 

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JML Update, Weekend Edition (Games of 8/4-8/5, 2017)

Posted on: August 7th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan No Comments

Stats courtesy JewishBaseballNews.com

Kevin Pillar was 3-for-9 in two games (he missed Friday’s opener) with two runs scored as the Toronto Blue Jays (52-59) lost two of three to the host Houston Astros (71-40). Alex Bregman had one hit in each game, all for extra bases: his 13th home run on Friday, 28th double on Saturday, and third triple yesterday. The homer — a two-run shot to the opposite field — was part of a nine-run eruption by the ‘Stros in the fourth inning. Bregman’s record for the weekend included three walks, two runs scored, and four RBIs.

Danny Valencia also hit lucky #13. His two-run bomb opened the scoring in the first game of a doubleheader yesterday which was necessitated by a rainout on Saturday against between his Seattle Mariners (57-56) and the host KC Royals (he sat out the nightcap). He also had his third triple and a single in this one, so he was just one double shy of a cycle. On Friday, Valencia was 0-for-2 with two sac flies. Is he in danger of losing playing time now that the Mariners have acquired Yonder Alonso?

Ian Kinsler was 4-for-12 with a double and a run scored as the Detroit Tigers (51-59) lost two of the last three games in a four-game set to the host Baltimore Orioles (55-56). Three of those hits came in yesterday’s 12-3 loss. Richard Bleier had another scoreless outing in that one, going 2.1 innings and allowing two hits. In his last 10 appearances, Bleier has given up just two earned runs (three total) in 17 innings.

Ryan Braun split his time between left field and DH as the Milwaukee Brewers (59-54) took two of three from the host Tampa Bay Rays. Braun had two singles in 11 at-bats with two Ks and a walk. The two teams combined for just eight runs over the three meetings with the Brewers winning the first two by shutouts.

Joc Pederson was 0-for-6 as the LA Dodgers (79-32) swept the host NY Mets, a series that also included two shutouts. He walked twice in the Friday game and stole just his second base of the season. Pederson is hitless in his late eight games.

Brad Goldberg did not appear for the Chicago White Sox (41-68) who suffered a four-game sweep at the hands of the host Boston Red Sox .

Used to be, years ago, that we would read about these things in the “agate” section of the sports page, the tiny fonts that gave us information about who was traded or injured or released. In the on-line version we have the Oakland As designated Ryan Lavarnway for assignment late last week. Lavarnway — a pillar of Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic — had two cups of coffee for  the As: 11 at-bats over six games with two singles, a double, and two RBI. Here’s hoping he lands somewhere soon, especially since today is his 30th birthday!

Looks like Craig Breslow may have found a new home: The Cleveland Indians signed him to a minor league contract over the weekend. Mazel tov! And Scott Feldman will supposedly be returning soon to the Cincinnati Reds.

In another agate move, the Atlanta Braves called up pitcher Max Fried, one of those “highly touted” prospects who finds himself struggling in the pros. The 23-year-old lefty was just 2-11 with a 5.32 ERA in 19 starts for the team’s Mississippi affiliate in the Southern League (AA) where he walked 43 and struck out 85 in 86.2 innings. Fried has yet to appear in a major league game and until he does he’s not official.

I wonder if the Mets will bring up Cody Decker? The heart and soul of Team Israel is with their AAA affiliate, the Las Vegas 51s after spending some time with their AA club in Binghamton. Don’t know how I feel about this description from AmazinAveue.com, announcing a recent accomplishment in a game against the Oklahoma City Dodgers on Saturday: “The new pitcher, Jacob Rhame, left a big fat one for Cody Decker down and away, and the Jew bid adieu to that miscue, socking it over the left field wall for a game-tying three-run homer.” Between the two teams, Decker has 10 doubles and 10 homers in 68 games.

JML Update, Games of 8/1/2017

Posted on: August 2nd, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Stats courtesy JewishBaseballNews.com

August already? Where did the time go?

Alex Bregman cracked home run #12, a solo shot, and drove in another run but the Houston Astros (69-37) still lost to the visiting Tampa Bay Rays, 6-4.

Ryan Braun was 1-for-4 and drove in the first run of the game on a ground out to help the Milwaukee Brewers (56-52) beat the visiting St. Louis Cardinals, 3-2. He also had an assist to throw out a runner at the plate in the top of the third to keep the Cards off the scoreboard for the moment.

Kevin Pillar was 1-for-3 with two walks as the Toronto Blue Jays (50-57) beat the host Chicago White Sox (41-63), 8-4. Pillar also stole a base (#13), was caught stealing (#5), and had an assist on a play at the plate. Brad Goldberg did not appear for the Sox.

Danny Valencia singled twice in five at-bats, scored one, and drove in another as the Seattle Mariners (55-53) outlasted the host Texas Rangers, 8-7.

Joc Pederson was 0-for-2 with a walk and was hit by a pitch as the LA Dodgers (75-31) held off the host Atlanta Braves, 3-2.

Ryan Lavarnway singled as a pinch hitter in the Oakland As’ (47-60) 10-4 loss to the visiting San Francisco Giants.

Ian Kinsler was 1-for-4 as the Detroit Tigers (47-58) edged the host NY Yankees, 4-3. He’s the only laggard still in single-digit home runs.

Richard Bleier did not appear for the Baltimore Orioles (52-54) in their 7-2 win over the visiting KC Royals.

Nothing new to reports on Cincinnati Reds’ starter Scott Feldman.

 

JML Update, Weekend Edition (Games of July 28-30)

Posted on: July 31st, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Stats courtesy JewishBaseballNews.com

Kevin Pillar hit his 12th home run on Sunday in one of the great comebacks in memory as the Toronto Blue Jays scored seven times in the bottom of the ninth to beat the visiting LA Angels, 11-10. Pillar’s long knock came with one man on base and decreased the deficit to 10-6. The Jays (49-56) pulled of the accomplishment with a walk-off grand slam by Steve Pearce, his second walk-off grand salami in four days. It was Toronto’s only win in three games. Pillar had one other hit in the game and the pair accounted for his weekend total in seven at bats (he appeared as a defensive substitute in Saturday’s meeting).

Alex Bregman‘s solo shot (#11) accounted for the only run for the Houston Astros (68-36) in their 13-1 loss to the host Detroit Tigers. He was 2-11 for the three games, two of which were won by the Tigers (46-56). Bregman is recouping from a recent hamstring injury but managed to avoid going on the DL.

Ian Kinsler was 2-9, missing yesterday’s finale, including his 17th double, 29th RBI, and eighth stolen base.

Ryan Braun just missed a two-run homer in the Milwaukee Brewers’ 2-1 win over the visiting Chicago Cubs on Friday. He singled, doubled (#14), walked twice, and drove in the Brewers’ only run the next day in a 2-1 loss and was 0-for-4 yesterday in another defeat. The Brewers  (55-52) have lost seven of their last ten games and are 14-15 since Braun returned from the disabled list on June 27, falling out of first place and trailing the Cubs by two and a half.

Ryan Lavarnway got the start on Friday and responded by going 2-for-3 including a two-run double in the Oakland As’ 6-3 loss to the visiting Minnesota Twins. He appeared in the other two games as well, hitless in two at-bats with a walk. The As — 46-59 — took two of the three games.

The Twins made it official, releasing veteran lefty reliever Craig Breslow after designating him for assignment recently. Here’s hoping someone picks him up.

Danny Valencia was 2-for-11 with an RBI as the Seattle Mariners ( ) took two of three from the visiting NY Mets.

Joc Pederson was 2-for-6 with a double (#16) as the LA Dodgers (74-31) swept the visiting San Francisco Giants. And here’s another example of why Pederson is a mensch.

Richard Bleier struck out three batters and gave up a hit in two scoreless innings of work on Friday as the Baltimore Orioles (50-56) lost to the host Texas Rangers, 8-2. They took the series two games to one but the big news was Rangers’ third baseman Andre Beltre becoming the 31st player to get 3,000 hits. Mazel tov, Andre.

Brad Goldberg did not appear for the Chicago White Sox (40-62) who lost two of three to the visiting Cleveland Indians.

According to this report, Cincinnati Reds pitcher Scott Feldman is coming along nicely and may not need any rehab games.

 

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JML update, Games of July 27, 2017

Posted on: July 28th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Stats courtesy JewishBaseballNews.com

I’ll make this simple because of the very late posting time: Kevin Pillar was the only MOT active last night. He had a double (#25) in four at-bats as the Toronto Blue Jays (48-54) beat the visiting Oakland A’s, 8-4. It was an inetresting game as evidenced by these two clips:

The only other “major” news is that the A’s (44-48) recalled catcher Ryan Lavarnway earlier in the day after putting catcher Josh Phegley on the 10-day disabled list.

JML Update: A “Mid-Season” Review

Posted on: July 11th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Put in quotes because it’s technically not the midseason, but close enough for government work.

First of all, a correction: there have been 11 MOTs in the Majors this year, not 12. I had inadvertently counted names rather than players in included Scott Feldman twice since he appears on the JewishBaseballNews box score as a pitcher and a batter.

So, on with the show. Stats courtesy Baseball-Reference.com.

If you don’t have your health…

Ryan Braun has missed more than half of the Milwaukee Brewers’ 91 games so far. All things being equal — a phrase I love to use — he could be among the league leaders in home runs. If nothing dramatic happens in the second half, he’ll join Hank Greenberg and Sean Green as the only Jews with 300 or more home runs. A bit tougher will be the 40 RBIs he needs for 1,000. He was placed on the 10-day DL (which is a misnomer, since he spent a lot more than 10 days there the second time) twice in May for a calf strain that stills bothers.

 

 

Alex Bregman is going through some growing pains for the Houston Astros. You may recall he got off to a horrendous start as a rookie before catching fire. This season, he’s probably been somewhat of a disappointment to himself and the team. Fortunately, the Astros are doing so well, few seem to be worried about him. And with a good second half he could wind up with 20 homers and 20 stolen bases. Knock wood, he’s been one of the healthy ones.

 

 

Ian Kinsler spent some time on the DL with a hamstring issue. His absence was more notable because the Tigers are doing so poorly. His name has popped up in trade rumors. Always a streaky guy, he had a little string of three games with home runs (June 20-22) and only one since. He has a way to go before joining Greenberg, Ryan, and, presumably, Braun, in the 300 club.

Last but least, there’s Brad Goldberg of the Chicago White Sox. he made his only Major League appearance — maybe for his career — on June 3 against the Tigers in which he gave up four runs on a walk and three hits (including a home run) in just one-third of an inning for an ERA of 108.00 and a whip of 12.000.
 

 

Ryan Lavarnway, one of the favorites for Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic, got a brief call-up by the Oakland A’s when catcher Josh Phegley went on paternity leave. Lavarnway was 0-for-2 in his only game and was designated for assignment on July 8.

 

 

Joc Pederson was a head case for the LA Dodgers, placed on the DL for a concussion he suffered when he collided with Yasiel Puig on a play in the field. Despite his obvious power and superior defensive skills, he’s missed a fair amount of games for righty-lefty reasons.

 

 

Kevin Pillar didn’t miss time because of a physical injury he received, but rather an emotional and societal one he inflicted when he uttered a homophobic remark at an opposing player. That caused quite a reaction outside the normal baseball rank and file, as one might expect. The Toronto Blue Jays have no questions about his glovework, but his offense is extremely inconsistent. At one point before his suspension, Pillar was hitting .303; now it’s .256. The team has shuffled him all over the lineup, mostly in the leadoff spot where he had an on-base percentage of just .306, but also sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth. That’s a big difference in responsibilities. Pillar has a good shot at the “20/20” club … if he can stay healthy.

 

 

Danny Valencia has been brilliant and disappointing. He’s enjoyed several multi-hit games for the Seattle Mariners — his seventh team in eight seasons — including four each of four and three hits. And his 43 RBIs leads all Jewish players. Knock wood, he hasn’t been on the DL and could set career-highs in most offensive categories.

 

 

So quickly summing up the batters, apart from Lavarnway, every one of the batters should reach 10 home runs easy, maybe even 15. Twenty might be asking a lot.

Richard Breier has to be the most pleasant surprise among the JMLs. The lefty reliever for the Baltimore Orioles has appeared in 25 games and has acquitted himself most admirably. Okay, so he’s not blowing anyone away with just 14 strikeouts, and yes he does have a relatively high WHIP (walks + hits per inning pitched), but he gets the job done much more often than not.

 

 

Craig Breslow was going along swimmingly until his last few games when he just seemed to fall apart. On May 28, he had an ERA of 1.47. The next day it rose to 2.89 after he gave up three runs in just one-third of an inning. A blip, perhaps, since he pitched scoreless ball in his next two outings. But since June 11, Breslow as given up 11 earned runs in just eight innings. And he ended up on the disabled list. Here’s hoping for a full recovery and a trip to his usually reliable self.

 

 

Scott Feldman has always been an anomaly to me. One game he’s great, the next he’s terrible. He’s always given up his share of home runs (153), so there’s little margin for error, especially with a team like the Cincinnati Reds who are last in the NL Central. As the saying goes, he pitches just well enough to lose. As the only pitcher who gets to bat on a regular basis, Feldman is just 1-for-31 with 15 strikeouts, a far cry from his season with the Cubs in which he hit .176 with two doubles, his only home run, and eight RBIs. He also could wind up being trade bait.

JML Update, Weekend Edition (Games of July 7-9, 2017)

Posted on: July 10th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Stats courtesy JewishBaseballNews.com

Ryan Braun served as the designated hitter in the Milwaukee Brewer’s 9-4 win over the host NY Yankees on Friday. Evidently his calf is still give him problems and the Brewers probably didn’t want to tax him too much right before the All-Star break. Braun hit his 11th double, walked, and scored two runs. He did play left field in the following game, going 0-for-4 at the plate as the Yankees won on a walk-off home run. And sure enough, he came out of that one with a cramp. Braun was excused from Sunday’s rubber game, won by the Brewers (50-41), 5-3.

Alex Bregman had two hits in 11 at-bats for the Houston Astros in their weekend against the host Toronto Blue Jays (the two teams began their series on Thursday) and both went for doubles, giving him 21 on the year. The latter came in the Astros’ 19-1 laugher. He also walked twice and scored three runs. Kevin Pillar was also 2-for-11, but only one of those was a double, his 23rd. He did make another nifty catch on an otherwise dismal Sunday. The Astros, at 60-29, how have the second-best record in the Majors (see below).

Danny Valencia stroked three hits —  a double (#12) and two singles — on Friday for the Seattle Mariners in a 7-2 win over the visiting Oakland As. They were his only hits in 10 at-bats over the weekend. He scored four times as the Mariners (43-47) split their four-game series with the A’s (39-50). Ryan Lavarnway started Friday’s game behind the plate and went 0-for-2 before coming out for a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning. He was designated for assignment the next day.

Joc Pederson hit a two-run homer on Saturday (his ninth) to get the LA Dodgers — who sport baseball’s best record at 61-29 — on the scoreboard in their 10-inning, 5-4 win over the visiting KC Royals. He also nailed a runner at the plate in a Statcast-worthy clip. It was one of two hits he had on the day. He had gone 1-for-4 on Friday and did not play in Sunday’s game, as the Dodgers completed the sweep.

Ian Kinsler drove in the first run for the Detroit Tigers (39-48) who held off the host Cleveland Indians for a 5-3 win on Sunday. Overall, Kinsler was 3-for-11 with a walk and a run scored as the Tigers lost two of their three-game set.

Richard Bleier finally gave up a run in 2.2 innings as the Baltimore Orioles (42-46) beat the Minnesota Twins (45-43), 11-5, on Sunday. It was the first run he’s allowed first since June 22 and it was unearned. In fact, Bleier  has given up just one earned run in his last 20 appearances. According to TwinsDaily.com, “Craig Breslow made his first rehab appearances and saw a runner score after he gave up a walk and a double with two outs.”

Scott Feldman did not appear for the Cincinnati Reds (39-49) who took two of three from the host Arizona Diamondbacks.

As we head into the All-Star break, there have been a dozen MOTs who have appeared in a Major League game this season. Unfortunately, many of them have spent time on the disabled list for one reason or another. I’ll go into that in more detail in tomorrow’s entry. Shalom, y’all.

This just in: Oakland A’s call up Ryan Lavarnway

Posted on: July 5th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

It may only be for a few days while Josh Phegley goes on paternity leave, but Ryan Lavarnway — who was a steadying influence on Team Israel for the World Baseball Classic — gets at least a cup of coffee in the bigs.

Image result for ryan lavarnway, craig breslowHe was last on the Major League scene as a member of the Atlanta Braves in 2015. He has a lifetime slash mark of .227/.311/.394 over 134 games in parts of five seasons. Lavarnway made his debut with the Boston Red Sox in 2011 and also played very briefly for the Baltimore Orioles to begin the 2015 campaign. he and Craig Breslow formed an All-Yale battery when they were teammates with the Sox from 2012-14.

He was batting .274 with four home runs and 20 RBI in 62 games with Oakland’s AAA affiliate, the Nashville Sounds.

 

Image result for ryan lavarnway, Israel

 

Now that that’s over with: MLB update

Posted on: March 20th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

With Israel’s elimination from the World Baseball Classic, it’s time to refocus on the rest of the regular MOT/MLB stuff.

 

http://www.khou.com/img/resize/content.khou.com/photo/2017/03/15/Bregman%20USA%20Today%20Sports_1489636088066_8978608_ver1.0.jpg?preset=534-401Team USA is in the Final Four of the WBC. They beat the Dominican Republic on Saturday, 6-3 to move into the  semi-finals. Ian Kinsler was 0-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Alex Bregman (left) did not appear in the game. Overall, Kinsler is batting just .222 with five hits and none for extra bases in six games. Bregman has appeared in two games and is 2-4. That’s not to say that he’s been quiet.

Ryan Braun

Ryan Braun (right) is known for taking things really easy at the beginning of spring training, including not playing in too many early games. On the one hand, that’s a smart move. There’s a consensus that ST is too long, that these days players don’t need as much time to get ready for the regular campaign. On the other hand, what kind of message does it send when you separate yourself from the rest of the team that way? Such behavior doesn’t change minds of those who are already not too happy with Braun nor does it win over too many fans who are on the fence about you.  Speaking of first at-bats

The other Ryan — Lavarnway — returned as a non-roster invitee to the Oakland As’ camp. he was the star of the WBC for Team Israel, going 8-for-18 with a homer and six RBIs, and five walks in their six games.

The sports media has been generally very complimentary towards Kevin Pillar of late. They are praising his leadership, his hitting (as well as hos his patience at the plate, and, of course, his defense. Here’s hoping he has an injury-free season (and the same to all the players, MOT or not).

Richard Bleier never did make it onto Team Israel’s roster, but he’s using his time well, settling in with the Baltimore Orioles.

Scott Feldman also declined to play for Israel in order to get into step with a new team. Looks like it paid off: he under consideration as the Cincinnati Reds’ opening day starter. In three games, Feldman is 0-1, allowing four earned runs in eight innings.

The LA Dodgers renewed Joc Pederson‘s contract. he has four home runs and eight RBI so far this spring.

 

 

 

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Dare to dream? Israel beats Cuba, 4-1, in World Baseball Classic

Posted on: March 13th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Jason MarquisEditor’s note: I knew I should have posted this yesterday…

Well, roll me in sugar and call me a doughnut. I never thought it could happen, but the host Israeli team beat Cuba in their Saturday/Sunday match-up in the WBC. Jason Marquis (right) got the start again and made a good case for someone signing him to a contract, tossing 5.2 innings in which he allowed just a solo home run in the second. Israel tied things up on a Ryan Lavarnway double in the fourth then scored two more in the sixth on an RBI single by Zach Borenstein and a run-scoring double by Blake Gailen, who also plated the final tally on a sacrifice hit in the eighth. Zack Thornton earned the win with Josh Zeid picking up the save. Each team managed only five hits, but Israel made theirs count.

The game was “broadcast” as a replay on the MLB network. I had DVR’ed it, but unfortunately the previous game ran into the scheduled start time for Israel-Cuba and I got cut off after the top of the sixth so I missed all the excitement. In fact, to be honest, I almost feel a bit cheated not to be in on things. I’ve been writing about baseball in Israel since before the ill-fated and short-lived professional league came and went in 2007. It would have been very cool to be a part of the festivities first-hand, but them’s the breaks.

The WBC squad — 7-0 since the qualifier round last September — is garnering more and more attention, a fish-out-of-water/Cinderella story. A number of articles are coming from the Jewish press. It reminds me of pieces from a couple of generations ago, when Hank Greenberg was emerging as the first Jewish superstar and such publications felt it necessary to explain the rudiments of the game to a readership that was uninformed on such trivial matters.

Here are a few links about the current situation:

This one especially grabbed my attention: “Israel soars at World Baseball Classic, and a nation shrugs” (FOX Sports). That’s all well and good for Israel. It’s not like the team is comprised of their own countrymen. In fact one of the things I’m seeing on social media is the “complaint” that the Israeli entry should actually be considered another team from the United States. Jerry Weinstein, Team Israel’s skipper, said “I don’t agree with that. We’re representing Israel. Our guys qualify under the heritage rules. I think if you ask anyone in our clubhouse, we’re representing Israel. We’re not a JV team for the U.S. We’re Team Israel. Make no mistake.” Good for him.

Maybe I’m being overly sensitive, but it seems like just one more anti-Zionist knock. But you know what? The rules allow a sort of tangential legacy system. Other teams are in the same boat. If you’re going to pick nits, that would limit participants only to those countries made up entirely of native-born athletes. And while that might work out great for the Dominican Republican, Puerto Rico, Japan, and others who send a healthy number to the Majors, it obviously wouldn’t work for other venues who appear in the WBC. You think Italy is made up entirely of native-borns?

Next up, a rematch with the Netherlands tomorrow at 6 a.m. Eastern. Israel won the previous game, 4-2.

In other MOT/WBC news, Ian Kinsler accounted for two of Team USA’s six hits and scored the game-tying run in the sixth inning of their 3-2 win over visiting Columbia on Friday. He was 1-5 with another run in Saturday’s 7-5 loss to the host Dominican Republic. Alex Bregman did not appear in either game.

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