Thursday, December 25, 2008

Jewish Baseball on Christmas! Because all the stores are closed.

Fans, here are some links to enjoy before you head off to the Chinese restaurant and a movie.

At the indispensable Kaplan's Korner, Ron Kaplan of the New Jersey Jewish News details what some "Jewish Sports Personalities" wanted for Hannukah. It was an honor to participate!

Seriously, though- bookmark this site. Endless enjoyment.

Jews in Baseball has a compiled list of most total bases by a Jewish hitter, season-by-season.
I think it is worth noting that 4 of the top 11 were by Shawn Green- he was a far better player than he gets credit for, thanks to that early decline.

The site editor, Josh Borenstein, also has a piece on Bob Melvin, Jewish manager, though as I said to Josh, his religion is Jew-be-determined.

And here's a piece about one of my favorite Jewish players ever, Andy Cohen, by a terrific writer, Irwin Cohen.

Last but not least, you couldn't have Christmas without a video tribute to Brad Ausmus, could you? I didn't think so.

Now let's go have a terrific fifth night of Hanukkah!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Jewish Baseball Everywhere!

Peter Gammons checks in with Kevin Youkilis, regular guy:

"One can argue just as long about who was the Red Sox's MVP, Dustin Pedroia or Kevin Youkilis. When it came to Pedroia's payday, he needed no record deal. What he wanted was to play where he started, with a team that is competitive, in a city where people love baseball, and where he walks a couple of blocks every day from his condominium to Fenway Park. Youkilis may soon follow in signing a long-term deal because he wants to stay where he has become such a devoted contributor to the city's social issues."

Ron Kaplan checks in on Jewish players sponsored at the indispensable Baseball-Reference.com.

And Josh Borenstein continues the Jewish baseball boomlet with his site, Jews in Baseball.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Quiet Year in Jewish Free Agency

So as many of you know, the biggest prizes in this year's free agency sweepstakes aren't Jewish. (No, despite his size, CC Sabathia didn't have a Jewish mother urging him to eat.) But there are two major league Jewish free agents to watch with the Winter Meetings around the corner.

The first is Brad Ausmus, the veteran catcher, who has indicated that he doesn't want to return for a 17th season if he isn't on the west coast. That works for the San Diego Padres, who, according to the USA Today, are interested in Ausmus as a backup to Nick Hundley.

Ausmus hasn't been a prolific offensive player, in the sense that Sarah Palin hasn't been a whiz on foreign geography or turkey-killing optics. His OPS+ numbers since 2001: 57, 74, 55, 63, 80, 54, 68, 60. Even his raw totals aren't greatly inflated by Houston's home park: just .218/.303/.296 in 2008. But in San Diego? I shudder to think what those numbers would look like in 2009. Still, Ausmus is a terrific interview, and his grandfather was a rabbi. Let's hope he catches on.

The other Jewish free agent is Gabe Kapler, who had a fantastic season with Milwaukee before a September injury (listed by various outlets as a shoulder or upper back issue) ended his season. He finished with a season line of .301/.340/.498, and assuming he is healthy, can greatly help a team (Hello? New York Mets? This is the righty outfielder with power you need to spell Ryan Church).

Let's hope for a return to good health for Kapler, who showed skeptics he was right to end his one-year retirement.

Among the minor league Jewish free agents to watch, there's the star-crossed Adam Greenberg, who needs a break. Greenberg, remember, had just one major league plate appearance, got hit in the head, and never even made it to first base. He's like Moonlight Graham crossed with Jerry the Cat. He deserves another MLB plate appearance, ideally with Greg Maddux pitching.