Friday, December 31, 2010

LeBron, Cleveland, MJ, and Paul Rudd

I saw the first two videos a while ago and loved them. I am sure many of you have seen them as well. The third I just recently saw. Well done MJ. The only problem is that there is no Jewish connection. Enter Paul Rudd (Jewish actor) who pokes fun at The Decision and we have our New Years post for TGR. Enjoy.



Happy New Year!
And Let Us Say...Amen.
-Jeremy Fine

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Leagues For Us Former Jewish "Athletes"

Often I get asked about Non-Professional sports. For guys or girls just like you and me. People wants leagues that are competitive (and fun). Pride on the line every game. Leagues that have that serious feel so we can relive their high school glory days or create new ones. So I searched the country for all sorts of Jewish leagues. If one of these leagues are in a city near you I suggest you join. This list is not in order and people should feel free to add to it.
1) Chicagoland Jewish Flag Football League (Chicago) - In the spirit of Yeshiva flag football in Israel, this league formed in Chicago. Real jersey. People play in the snow. And they play hard in the snow. Lots of pride on the line for the males in their mid-20s and up. Not too many former high school stars but plenty of quick athletes (and one former Highland Park High School quarterback). For more information contact Mark at Mark@CJFFL.com.

2) Ramah Basketball Association (New York) - This league has no website or anything. Stats and standings are sent out weekly. I am currently in this league (big shout out to Phil Zaks and all the Hulkamaniacs). This league was formed by Camp Ramah in the Berkshires Alumni and only recently opened up to Ramah Alumni from all other camps. The league takes place Sunday nights at Chealsea Piers. Lots of fun. Competitive. If you are interested email me and I will give you more info. Oh and by the way we are 4-2 (one of those losses was a forfeit).

3) Coed Jewish Softball (Boston) - This league seems to be the most important of all the leagues of Coed Jewish Sports in Boston.  They have plenty of sports, but the softball league comes with a laundry list of rules, meaning its pretty serious. It even plays into October, impressive for Eats Coast Softball. For more info email info123@coedjewishsports.org.

4) Orthodox Bungalow Baseball League (New York) - This league has been around for a long time. While the website still has 2007 info, the league seems to still be very much in existence. The league is aimed towards Orthodox Jews and Orthodox Jews love their baseball.  The league seems huge with 6 divisions with 6 teams each. Games take place (seemingly) all over. For more info email admin@obbl.com.
 
5) Yeshiva Alumni Basketball League (Chicago) - I have never played in this league but a good amount of my friends do. The league is highly competitive, with plenty of former high school players from all over Chicago (many from Ida Crown and the Yeshiva).The courts are not the best, but the Sunday night atmosphere is awesome. Personally, I am rooting for First Class Moving to win the whole thing. The league is open to all Jews, not just Yeshiva alumni. For more info email commissioner@yeshivaabl.com.
 
6) Stroum Jewish Community Center (Seattle) - The Seattle JCC Basketball league made the list because there are a bunch of levels. Its a nice JCC (having played Maccabi BBall there). If you are in Seattle check it out. Email Jessica at Jessica@sjcc.org for more info.
 
7) Washington DCJCC Softball League (DC) - This league was under scrutiny a few years back. But they made the necessary adjustments. Apparently it has gotten much better. If you are in DC this summer and play in it let me know if it lives up to the hype. Click HERE to read about the situation. For more email  Mark at markgm@washingtondcjcc.org.
 
8) Jewish Basketball Association (Monsey NY) - This basketball league seems great. But the catch is that it is Monsey and mentions being Shomer Shabbos on the homepage. So...yeah, its geared toward specific Jews. Don't get me wrong I would love to play in it, if I lived in Monsey. But if you do, check it out.
 
9) Jewish Educa-tional Movement Basketball League (Beverly Hills) - Suprisingly I could not find too many leagues in Los Angeles. For the weather and love of basketball I thought I would find more. But this league makes headlines. Both for its competition, its unique features, and the money it raises - Read this Article. Californians wanting a Jewish basketball fix I suggest this league.
 
10) Jewish Bowling League (Philadelphia) -  Finally, the best Jewish bowling league. For those who can't run to first or dribble a ball (or just love Lebowski) Philly offers what seemed to be the best Jewish bowling league. Boston had one as well, but Philly's seemed more competitive. Bowling fans check it out and let me know how it is.
 
Other Leagues: Denver Jewish Softball League, Rockland Jewish Softball League, South Florida Menorah Jewish Softball League, JCC Charlotte Basketball League, JCC Pittsburgh Basketball League, Big Shot Basketball Teaneck.
 
Again feel free to add more by commenting on this post.
And Let Us Say...Amen.
-Jeremy Fine

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Colt's Friend CM Punk

It has been a while since I posted any wrestling news. But recently on an episode of Monday Night Raw Colt Cabana's best friend and former World Heavyweight Champion CM Punk wore his buddies T-shirt. He had this to say about his controversial move.

On if he had heat for wearing a Colt Cabana shirt on RAW recently:

"Nah. A lot of people in the WWE try to paint themselves as outlaws and rebels and I really honestly believe I'm the only one left [laughs] . I always do what I want and I never get any flack for it. I don't know if it's because they know they're not gonna win, or it's not worth fighting me over. Plus I don't see what the big deal is about me wearing a Cabana shirt. The guy should be working there, first of all, and it's promoting my friend. I don't see what the big deal is."

To purchase Colt's shirt check out his website: http://www.coltmerch.com/

(No CM Punk is not Jewish)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Jordan and Brown Split

This experiment failed. Michael Jordan and Larry Brown have finally decided that the current state of the Bobcats is not good and something needed to be down. That something was Brown stepping down as coach. The Bobcats are 9-19 with a team that centers around an injury-prone Gerald Wallace and problem star Stephen Jackson.

Brown is 6th all time in wins as a NBA coach and had SOME success in college as well. But he has not really been such a factor since his Championship in 2004 with the Pistons. Both his Knicks and his Bobcats have stunk. And his final year with the Pistons was peaceful either. To his credit he has an NBA ring, NCAA championship, an Olympic Gold Medel, and was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame. He has also been involved with some great and talented players/NBA personalities like Michael Jordan and Allen Iverson.

So what does all this mean? Well, probably that Brown will be coaching somewhere new next year. Because he just can't stay away.  He would probably fit in nicely if Miami doesn't win (and Riley would let him coach). It also means currently there are no NBA Head Coaches (unless Gundy is a MOT).  Sad state.

The Jewish NBA world has taken some hits over the last year. Lawerance Frank and Brown have been let go. Omri Casspi has been moved to the bench. And of course, Jon Scheyer and Slyven Landesberg didn't get drafted or make NBA teams. Looks like Mark Cuban and Jordan Farmar need to hold us down for a while.

And Let Us Say...Amen.
Jeremy Fine

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Hall of Fame Inductees 2011

The Jewish Sports Hall of Fame has come out with their inductees for 2011. Mark your calendars and for more check out www.jewishsports.org

SAVE THE DATE

19TH ANNUAL INDUCTION CEREMONY
SUNDAY, MARCH 27, 2011

Among the inductees:

Harris Barton - Football
Tal Brody - Basketball
Jane Katz - Swimming
Steve Mesler - Olympic Bobsled
Abe Pollin - Executive
Hal Richman - Media
Alan Seiden - Basketball
Dick Steinberg - Football Executive

Thursday, December 16, 2010

High School Hoops

http://www.jewishhoopsamerica.com/ (not to be confused with http://www.jewishhoopstars.org/) has ranked the top 25 Jewish high school teams.  Jewishhoopstars has a nice DVD you should check out. While this site is awesome and a great for the Jewish sports world, I would say there is a heavy NY bias. Shouldn't there be consideration for cities that have the best high school basketball in the country...aka CHICAGO!Check out the rankings below.

1 YULA - Los Angeles, CA (10) 8-1

2 HAFTR - Cedarhurst, NY (1) 15-3 

3 MTA - New York, NY (1) 11-2

4 Hillel Miami - North Miami Beach, FL 6-2

5 Flatbush - Brookly, NY 11-4

6 Golda Och Academy - West Orange, NJ 0-0

7 Frisch - Paramus, NJ 7-3

8 Ramaz - New York, NY 13-4

9 Jewish Day School - Rockville, MD 2-2 

10 DRS - Woodmere, NY 6-1

11 Hebrew Academy - Rockville, MD 4-1
12 Beth Tfiloh - Baltimore, MD 7-3 

13 Milken - Tarzana, CA 2-2 

14 HANC - Uniondale, NY 10-3

15 North Shore - Great Neck, NY 8-6

16 Yavneh Academy - Dallas, TX 11-3

17 Fasman Yeshiva - Skokie, IL 6-4 

18 Jewish Comm. HS - San Francisco, CA 4-1

19 JEC - Elizabeth, NJ 6-4

20 Ida Crown - Chicago, IL 1-2 

21 Maimonidies - Brookline, MA 0-0

22 American HA - Greensboro, NC 4-3 

23 Tarbut v'Torah - Irvine, CA 2-1

24 Shalhevet - Los Angeles, CA 2-2 

25 SAR - Bronx, NY 5-6

Others Receiving Votes: Beren-Houston, 33; Denver Jewish Day School, 27; Schechter-Westchester, 16; Heschel, 15; Hillel-NJ, 13; Magen David, 12; Hyman Brand HA-Kansas, 10; Valley Torah, 9; Chicagoland Jewish, 4; Emery/Weiner-Houston, 4: San Diego Jewish Academy, 2; Or Chaim-Toronto, 1.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Jews In Bowl Games

Here is a look at all the players we know of that are participating in Bowl Games. Obviously Carimi is the main man to look out for here. Some of the other guys might not even see the field. Also, big shout out to the Fighting Illini. Good luck in the Texas Bowl vs. Baylor.


Gabe Carimi - Wisconsin vs. TCU - Rose Bowl
Boren Brothers (Justin and Zach) - Ohio State vs. Arkansas - Sugar Bowl
Zach Nolan & Sam Schwartzstein - Stanford vs. Virginia Tech - Orange Bowl
Matt Pachan - Florida vs. Penn State - OutBack Bowl
 Sean Goldstein - Miami vs. Notre Dame - Hyundai Sun Bowl
Adam Gottschalk, Jake Baratz -  Arizona vs. Oklahoma State - Valero Alamo Bowl
Ross Krautman, Ryan Lichtenstein, Max Suter - Syracuse vs. Kansas State - New Era Pinstripe Bowl
Louis Berman - Maryland vs. East Carolina - Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman
Jon Cohen - Navy vs. San Diego State - San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl 


And let Us Say...Amen.
-Jeremy Fine

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Carimi Wins Award

Gabe Carimi (TGR's Boy!) won the Outland Trophy for the nation's top Interior lineman. He beat out Rodney Hudson, Florida State (OG) and Nate Solder, Colorado (OT). Huge honor. I got a good feeling about this guy.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Now Rondo is Jewish?

Thanks to TGR fan Brian Pogrund for sending this in. Nice find.

http://deadspin.com/5709716/

JewsInBaseball Wrapup

Every year Josh and Jewsinbaseball.blogspot.com does a great wrap up of the Jewish Baseball Season. Here it is:

2010: A Year In Review

JMLs on the DL: that was the predominant theme in 2010.
Brad Ausmus - After making his debut all the way back in 1993 with the Padres, Brad Ausmus finally called it a career. For the season, he finished with a line of .222/.310/.254 for an OPS of .564 in 71 PAs. He found himself on the DL for the 1st time in 18 seasons. For most players, that would be a remarkable accomplishment. For a catcher, it's almost unheard of. Durability, thy name is Brad Ausmus. After undergoing lower back surgery in April, many doubted Ausmus would ever put on the gear again. But he felt obligated to return because he signed a contract, and he's old school. Gotta respect that. Looks like he retired at the right time, though. The 5th oldest active player in baseball didn't throw out any baserunners this year in 17 attempts. For a guy who threw out 35% or more baserunners 8 times in his career, that had to be a hard pill to swallow. He finished in the top 5 in caught stealing percentage 5 times; he led the NL in 1997. He threw out 42% in 1995, 49% in 1997, and 48% in 2000 and 2001. He won 3 Gold Gloves and was voted an All-Star in 1999 with the Tigers. That was his best offensive season; he posted a line of .275/.365/.415 for an OPS of .779 in 527 PAs. That season, he set or tied career-bests in HRs (9), doubles (25), triples (6), RBIs (54), runs scored (62), extra base hits (40), HBP (14), OBP, SLG, and OPS. Known more for his defense, he still did some impressive things on offense. He stole 102 bases, swiping 10 or more bags 5 times. He stole 16 bases (a career-best) in 1995 with the Padres. He had a BB/K ratio of 53/60 in 1998, 69/79 in 2000, and he actually walked more than he struck out in 2005 with a BB/K ratio of 51/48. His career line was .251/.325/.344 for an OPS of .669. That translates to an OPS+ of 75. He hit 80 HRs, 270 doubles, and 34 triples. He drove in 607 runs, scored 718 runs, drew 634 BBs, and amassed 1,579 hits. His postseason line was .245/.308/.377 for an OPS of .685 in 119 PAs. Among JMLs, he ranks 1st in games played (1,971), 4th in SBs, and 5th in hits and doubles. He was 1st in assists as a catcher in 1995 and 2000. He finished in the top 5 in assists 11 times. He was 1st in putouts as a catcher 4 times. He finished in the top 5 in putouts 12 times. He was 1st in fielding percentage as a catcher 4 times. He finished in the top 5 in fielding percentage 10 times. He was 1st in range factor as a catcher in 2002. He finished in the top 5 in range factor 9 times. He's 13th all-time in caught stealing percentage (35%). He led the AL or NL in games caught 3 times. He finished in the top 5 in games caught 9 times. In 2006, he caught 138 games, the 2nd most games ever caught by a catcher at the age of 37, trailing only Bob Boone's 147 games. Ausmus is 7th all-time in games caught and 2nd all-time in putouts as a catcher. Without a doubt, Ausmus was one of the greatest defensive catchers of all time.

Ryan Braun - Kind of an up and down season for Braun, who won his 3rd Silver Slugger Award and finished 15th in MVP voting. But a good season, nevertheless. Braun put up a line of .304/.366/.501 for an OPS of .866 in 684 PAs. His OPS+ was 133. He hit 25 HRs, 45 doubles, and 1 triple. He drove in 103 runs, scored 101 runs, and stole 14 bases. He set a career-high in doubles but also a career-low in HRs, triples, SLG, and ISO (extra-base hits per AB). Since his rookie year in 2007, he has gradually walked more every season and struck out less every season. His BB% has gone from 5.9 to 6.3 to 8.1 to 8.2. And his K% has gone from 24.8 to 21.1 to 19.1 to 17. Those are great trends. His BB/K ratio (56/105) was a career-best. Unfortunately, his ISO has gradually gone down every year as well. It has gone from .310 to .268 to .231 to .197. That's not such a great trend. He also swiped 11 bags the first 2 months of the season. It looked like he was going to make a serious run at 30 stolen bases, but then he only swiped 3 bags the rest of the season. His 2nd half (.917 OPS) was significantly better than his 1st half (.827 OPS). He drove in 100 runs for the 3rd consecutive season and scored 100 runs for the 2nd consecutive season. He joined Cecil Cooper as the only other Brewer to have consecutive 100-RBI, 100-run seasons. He ranked 2nd in the NL in hits (188) and doubles, 5th in total bases (310), 6th in runs scored, 7th in RBIs and extra base hits (71), and 9th in batting average. He was selected as the starting NL All Star left fielder for the 3rd consecutive season. He also led all MLB outfielders in All Star balloting for the 3rd consecutive season. In the field, he had the most putouts (279) in left field for the 3rd consecutive season, the 4th most assists (6), and was 2nd in range factor.

Craig Breslow - One JML pitcher stood out for all the right reasons in 2010; that pitcher was Craig Breslow. In 74 2/3 innings (a career-high), he was 4-4 with 5 saves (a career-high), a 3.01 ERA, 1.098 WHIP, 71 Ks (a career-high), 6.4 H/9, 1.1 HR/9, 3.5 BB/9 (a career-best), 8.6 K/9 (a career-best), and a 2.45 K/BB ratio (a career-best). He was 2nd in the AL in appearances for the 2nd consecutive season, appearing in 75 games. He held hitters to a .191 BAA (a career-best). Righties hit .201 against him while lefties hit only .181 (a career-best) against him. He left 80.7% of baserunners stranded (a career-best). Just a dominant season from start to finish. He gives the A's bullpen versatility, as he is able to come in the 7th, the 8th, or the 9th inning. For his humanitarian work with the Strike 3 Foundation, Breslow was nominated for the Roberto Clemente Award. The Sporting News named him the smartest athlete in all of sports. He recently turned 30, so age shouldn't catch up to him for awhile yet.

Ike Davis - Considered one of the top prospects in the minors coming into the season, there was a lot of hype around Ike. He definitely lived up to the hype, posting a line of .264/.351/.440 for an OPS of .791 in 601 PAs. His OPS+ was 115. He hit 19 HRs, 33 doubles, and 1 triple. He drove in 71 runs, scored 73 runs, and drew 72 BBs. He ranked 2nd among NL rookies in runs scored, doubles, BBs, and extra-base hits. He ranked 3rd among NL rookies in HRs and RBIs. Given those numbers, he probably deserved to finish higher than he did in the NL RoY vote, but he ended up in 7th place. He set the Mets rookie record for total bases (230) and tied the Mets rookie record in BBs and extra-base hits. He did all of this at the age of 23 surrounded by a bad lineup (.697 team OPS) and in a pitcher's park. He led all JMLs in BBs. He batted cleanup in 58 games and 5th in 45 games. He posted an OPS of .805 against lefties in 138 PAs and an OPS of .812 at Citi Field in 295 PAs. He struck out a lot, but he also showed good plate discipline with his 12% walk rate. His 1st HR traveled 450 feet onto Shea Bridge at Citi Field. He hit a walkoff HR against the Padres on June 8. Ike was equally impressive at first base. He ranked 1st in defensive runs saved in the NL at 14. His UZR/150 of 11.9 put him 2nd in all of baseball at first base behind Oakland's Daric Barton. He didn't win the Gold Glove Award, but you have to figure he'll be a strong candidate to win for years and years.

Scott Feldman - Believe it or not, Feldman was the Opening Day starter for the Rangers in 2010. It was all downhill from there. It really looked like Feldman had turned a corner last year as a starter. But perhaps the writing was on the wall with his mediocre peripherals. He finished this season with a 7-11 record, a 5.48 ERA, and a 1.599 WHIP in 141 1/3 innings (22 starts). The only area where he improved in 2010 was in BB/9,which was 2.9 (a career-best as a starter). Last season, he induced more groundballs (46.8%) and less flyballs (32.7%). The opposite was true in 2010 (42.6 % groundballs, 37.3% flyballs). His ERA at home was 4.90 while his ERA on the road was 6.07. That's somewhat odd, considering he was a road warrior last season. He had a little more success as a reliever (4.61 ERA in 13 2/3 innings) than as a starter (5.57 ERA in 127 2/3 innings). Not wanting to be excluded from all of the other JMLs who were hurt this year, Feldman was on the DL for about 2 weeks with a bone bruise in his right knee in late August and early September. Overall, it was a pretty bad season. He went from being the Rangers' Opening Day starter to their 5th starter to a mop-up reliever to being left off the postseason roster. He'll turn 28 in 2011, and he stands to make a lot more money in the next few years. Hopefully, he can redeem himself and earn some of it.

Sam Fuld - Fuld didn't do much in The Show this year, but then he didn't get much playing time. He put up a line of .143/.226/.179 for an OPS of .404 in 31 PAs. He only started 4 games. I think last season is more indicative of the type of player he is in a larger sample size. Oddly enough, his 3 RBIs in 2010 beat his total from last year. So, that's something.

John Grabow - Not what the Cubs were looking for when they signed him to a 2-year deal. Grabow was hampered by knee problems all season, and it showed. Just when it looked like he was finally getting it together in June, he went on the DL with a torn MCL. His 25 2/3 innings were the lowest single-season total since 2003 when he was a September call-up. Based on his age (32) and previous 2 seasons, I think we could be looking at a bounceback season in 2011.
Ryan Kalish - Called up on July 31, Kalish got a chance to play the last few months of the season for the Red Sox. He struggled out of the gate in August but was solid in September and October. He played in 53 games altogether, and in his last 26 games he put up a line of .274/.344/.464 for an OPS of .808 in 94 PAs. Overall, his line was .252/.305/.405 for an OPS of .710 in 179 PAs. His OPS+ was 88. He hit 4 HRs, 11 doubles, and 1 triple. He drove in 24 runs, scored 26 runs, and stole 10 bases (only caught 1 time). Most of his starts were in center field. He'll turn 23 next season and should get a chance to battle for a roster spot. Kalish is considered one of the top prospects in the Red Sox organization and possesses all the tools. You've got to like the upside.

Gabe Kapler - Kapler played well for the Rays last year and the Brewers the year before. Not so much in 2010. He put up a line of .210/.288/.290 for an OPS of .578 in 140 PAs with the Rays. Definitely his worst season. Only had 6 extra base hits. He tied a career-best with 3 HBP. He's 35 now, so he may decide to hang 'em up soon - again. As a strong defensive outfielder who leaves it all on the field and has always hit well against lefties, Kapler should still have some value.

Ian Kinsler - It was an injury-riddled season for the 28-year old Kinsler. He missed most of April with an ankle injury and all of August with a groin injury. As a result, Kinsler played in only 103 games, the lowest single-season total of his career. He put up a line of .286/.382/.412 for an OPS of .794 in 460 PAs. His OPS+ was 113. He hit 9 HRs, 20 doubles, and 1 triple. He drove in 45 runs, scored 73 runs, and stole 15 bases. He set a career-high with his OBP and a career-low with his SLG. His BB/K ratio (56/57) was a career-best. He walked 12.2% of the time, also a career-best. However, his .125 ISO was a career-low. So while he was more patient at the plate, his power numbers were down. He posted an OPS of .957 in 110 PAs against lefties. According to the defensive metrics, his fielding was once again solid at second base. His UZR/150 was 4.1, putting him 4th in the AL in that category. His range factor was down a little, but given his injuries that was to be expected. He was selected to his 2nd All Star game. He reached 100 career stolen bases, and with 92 HRs he should reach 100 in 2011. Kinsler was also part of an historic Rangers team that reached the playoffs for the 1st time since 1999 and got to the Fall Classic for the 1st time in franchise history. Although Kinsler didn't have a great World Series, his overall postseason numbers were good. He posted a line of .296/.381/.537 for an OPS of .918 in 64 PAs. He hit 3 HRs, 2 doubles, 1 triple, and swiped 3 bags. His BB/K ratio was 8/7, he drove in 9 runs, and he scored 7 runs.

Jason Marquis - Definitely a lost season for Marquis. A few streaks ended for him. His 10 consecutive postseason appearances dating back to 2000 was broken. That one didn't take any of us by surprise, given the team he played for. Dating back to 2004, he also had 11+ wins and 28+ starts every year - until 2010. His first 3 outings in April were disastrous, probably because he needed elbow surgery. He came off the DL in August and pitched fairly well the rest of the way, posting a 4.29 ERA in 10 starts the last 2 months of the season. He was particularly sharp in his last 8 starts, where he posted a 3.61 ERA, a 1.417 WHIP, and 5 quality starts. During that stretch, he didn't receive much run support, as his 2-4 record suggests. With 1 year left on his contract with the Nationals and 96 career wins, he should reach 100 wins next year.
Scott Schoeneweis - I think it's safe to say Schoeneweis has thrown his last pitch as a JML. He was so ineffective with the Red Sox that they only allowed him to pitch 13 2/3 innings, by far the lowest single-season total of his career. He did have 13 Ks, though. On a sad note, the Sox let him go on the anniversary of his wife's death from drug overdose. Wow, bad timing much? If his career is indeed over, he finished with a 47-57 record, 9 saves, a 5.01 ERA (92 ERA+), and a 1.474 WHIP in 972 innings pitched. Righties had him figured out to the tune of an .838 OPS. However, he held lefties to a line of .229/.304/.309 for an OPS of .612. And that's why he will be remembered as a lefty specialist.

Adam Stern - Not much to say, except he played in The Show for the 1st time since 2007. Only had 8 PAs with Braun's Brew Crew. No hits to speak of, but he drove in a run. Stern will be 31 next season, so he could still find a job somewhere. Now that steroids are being removed from the game, speedburners like Stern have a lot more value.

Danny Valencia - Valencia made his MLB debut on June 3. He led all rookies and JMLs with his .311 BA, putting up a line of .311/.351/.448 for an OPS of .799 in 322 PAs. His OPS+ was 116. His .448 SLG and .799 OPS were the highest among AL rookies with 300 or more PAs. He also came in 3rd among AL rookies in hits (93) and total bases (134). As a result, he finished in 3rd place in the AL RoY vote. He displayed his power potential in September when he hit 5 HRs in 8 games. His 1st HR was a grand slam off Zack Greinke. Altogether, he hit 7 HRs, 18 doubles, and 1 triple. He drove in 40 runs and scored 30 runs. He mashed against lefties (.967 OPS in 111 PAs) and did surprisingly well at Target Field (.979 OPS in 141 PAs). His defense at third base was also quite good. His UZR/150 was an impressive 10.2, putting him 4th in the AL in that category. The Twins have been looking to fill a gaping hole at the hot corner for years. At 25, Valencia looks like he could fill that hole rather nicely. In fact, he looks like the best Jewish third baseman since Al Rosen.

Kevin Youkilis - Youk was having another excellent season until he went down on August 3 with a muscle tear in his right thumb. He played in only 102 games, his lowest single-season total since 2005 when he was a part-time player. He put up a line of .307/.411/.564 for an OPS of .975 (a career-high) in 435 PAs. His OPS+ was 157 (a career-high). He hit 19 HRs, 26 doubles, and 5 triples (a career-high). He drove in 62 runs and scored 77 runs. Despite missing much of the season, he ranked 9th in the AL in triples and 10th in HBP (10). He struck out only 18.5% of the time, beating the 19.9% mark he set in 2007. His .257 ISO tied the career-high he set in 2008. His BB/K ratio (58/67) was a career-best. He also hit his 100th career HR off C.C. Sabathia, his 200th double, and scored his 500th run. Against lefties, he posted a line of .404/.513/.798 for an OPS of 1.311 in 113 PAs. Youk will turn 32 in 2011, so he's on the outskirts of his prime. Still, there's no reason to think he can't be just as productive next season. He has begun working out at third base, in anticipation that he may be moved back to the hot corner if the Sox and Adrian Beltre can't come to an agreement.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Carimi Movin' Up the TGR Ladder

Gaeb Carimi of Wisconsin is climbing up draft ladders and quickly climbing up the TGR ladder for top Jewish athlete. Check out this article which I just tweeted:

Jets, Latkes, and Sushi?

Worth Posting from the NY Post:

Seems not everyone with the Jets has Rex Ryan's appetite -- or sense of humor.

A team official discovered that a popular kosher steakhouse on the Upper West Side was serving "green on green Jets salad" and "Jets dragon roll" and ordered them pulled off the menu.

Jets spokeswoman Jessica Ciccone called Prime KO Japanese Steakhouse at 217 W. 85th St. a few weeks ago to complain the gourmet Gang Green fare wasn't authorized by the team.

"We were really shocked," said restaurant spokesman Steven Traube. "I think she was just being spiteful."

It didn't matter to the team that the dishes were created by a rabid Jets fan, restaurant chef Makoto Kameyama, 49.
UN-FARE: Chef Makoto Kameyama was told no 'Jets'-named items.
Chef Makoto Kameyama was told no "Jets"-named items. Kameyama grew up in Tokyo playing football on his high-school team, the Mean Elephants. On Sundays, he'd watch NFL games on a big screen at the Sony Building in Ginza.
He came to New York in 1980 after his older brother took over his father's sushi restaurant.
"I wanted to see football with my eyes," he said.

In April he was named the executive chef at the restaurant.

The steakhouse hopes the team backs down, at least until the end of the season. It even added a Jets latke, a potato pancake topped with basil, to celebrate Hanukkah.

Either way, Kameyama said he'll be rooting on his team in its showdown tomorrow night with the New England Patriots.
 
Ciccone did not respond to a request for comment.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Interview with Author Doug Gladstone: A Bitter Cup of Coffee

Meet the author
1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. 
I received my Master's degree in Journalism from Boston University in 1982, and was bouncing around newseeklies and dailies for a time. But I've always been a huge sports fan. Fact is, my first journalism job was on a now defunct newspaper, The Newburgh Evening News, where I did start out on the sports beat. I fancied myself as a young Oscar Madison who, of course, was the character memorably portrayed by the late Walter Matthau in the film version of "The Odd Couple."


2) Tell us about your book.
With regards to my book, it features a foreword written by the Emmy Award-winning broadcast journalist, Dave Marash. A true story, A Bitter Cup of Coffee is about a group of former big-league ballplayers denied pensions as a result of the failure of both the league and the union to retroactively amend the vesting requirement change that granted instant pension eligibility to ballplayers in 1980. As you may know, prior to that year, ballplayers had to have four years service credit to earn an annuity and medical benefits. Since 1980, however, all you have needed is one day of service credit to be able to qualify to purchase health insurance and 43 days of service credit for a pension.

3) What was your motivation in writing this book?
The genesis of the book started subsequent to me publishing an article about the famous "Adam's Ribs" episode of M*A*S*H in The Chicago Sun Times. I was one of the last reporters to speak with the comedic legend and creative force behind that iconic show, Larry Gelbart, before he passed away, so I was feeling pretty full of myself when the article came out. Well, my wife called me on it one evening. She said, 'So hotshot, what are you going to do for an encore?' Well, I hadn't really thought about it. But then last year, as every Cubs and Mets fan remembers, was the 40th anniversary of what folks in New York still call "The Imperfect Game." That was the night of July 9, 1969 when a little known rookie named Jimmy Qualls broke up Tom Seaver's no-hitter / perfect game with one out in the top of the ninth inning. And of course the Mets franchise has never had a no-hitter or perfect game pitched for it in all their 48 year existence.

4) What was your experience writing this piece?
Well, I thought a story on Qualls would be a great piece for Baseball Digest. And after the magazine commissioned me to write it, I spoke to Jimmy and he casually, very innocently, mentioned that he wasn't getting a pension. Well, in the interests of full disclosure, I happen to work for a public retirement system in New York, so I know a little bit about what it takes to become vested, or qualify for a pension. And he certainly didn't meet the four year threshold you needed when he played to be eligible for a retirement annuity. And that's how the whole project took off. I honestly believe this story has resonated, and will continue to resonate, with people because, at some point in all of our lives, we've all felt the pain and sting of victimization. We've all felt that somebody else got the breaks that we perceive should have gone our way, or that somebody or some group is getting ahead or receiving better treatment than us. In a nutshell, this story is about an injustice and an inequity that needs to be remedied. I am certainly not the most religious person in the world, but I like to think I've practiced Zechariah 8:16 ("the world stands on three things: on truth, on justice and on peace...Execute truth, justice and peace within your gates…when justice is done, truth is achieved and peace is established.") on a daily basis.

Sometimes I often think that, like Don Quixote, I'm tiliting at windmills in my efforts to help these ballplayers. But you know what? I just got my first AARP card, and I'd hate to be treated as shabbily as these men have been when I'm old and grey and on golden pond. As hokey as this sounds, all I wanted to try to do was tip the scales of justice back into a level playing field so that these men could get the compensation I and a lot of other folks believe they're deserving of.

5) How has the book been received? 
I'm sure neither the league nor the players union is thrilled that I wrote this book. And they've never told me what they've thought, because frankly I'm sure they don't want to validate it. The critical reaction has been wonderful. I've received glowing reviews and notices, the book has been called everything from "courageous" and "an eye opener" to "an important read" and "a chilling narrative." But it's the reactions from the affected players themselves that means the most to me. Not to sound too melodramatic, but I get emails and calls from the players and their wives and/ or their widows all the time, and you can hear the tears through the phone receiver. And it's all very heartfelt, all very touching, and I' m tremendously appreciative and grateful.

Here's, in part, what the Midwest Book Review had to say about the book in its official review, which was published in May:
A wealth of interviews with former players, including heart-touching stories of the hard times some of them have endured, peppers this thoughtful and timely account, which gains especial relevance in light of the current debate about the state of health care in America.

And here's what Edward F. Coyle, the executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, said about the book:
Mr. Gladstone does an excellent job of weaving these players' individual stories into a book that is also a social cause. He should be commended for continuing to look out for these men.

Most people, especially most baseball fans, just aren't aware of this issue, it's received so little media attention these last three decades. They're always in disbelief, or shaking their heads from side to side. They just cannot fathom how this situation has been allowed to persist. That's why I'm elated that there's finally some movement after thirty years. As reported by Phil Rogers in The Chicago Tribune, a deal to at long last compensate these men for their service credit and contributions to our national pasttime is imminent.

I have no idea if I've got another book in me, but my wife would like it if I switched gears and tried my hand at children's literature the next time, if there is a next time. I don't know how you segue neatly from nonfiction to kiddie lit, but I'm keeping my options open. When these men finally do get their monies, I suppose I'd like to put out a special edition of the book called, "A Bitter Cup of Coffee; The Extra Innings Version."

Thank you to Doug. And Good Luck!
And Let Us Say...Amen.
-Jeremy Fine

Friday, December 3, 2010

Moore to move to Israel?

Reported by realgm.com -
According to the Israeli media, former NBA veteran The 35-year-old forward is among the candidates to join Hapeol Jerusalem, who are trying to improve their roster after a great start in the Europcup (2-0). Moore averaged 5.8 points and
3.9 rebounds during his 11-year journeyman career in the NBA.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

More College BBall Stats

Bryan Cohen's Bucknell top Columbia. Cohen dropped in 11pts and 7 boards and 3 assists.

Lafayette played back to back games. Wednesday Jared Mintz continued scoring with 14 pts, grabbing 6 boards and dishing out 5 assists in their win over Susquehanna.

Alex Rubin had 6 points in Illinois State's loss to #24 UNLV.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Big Tuesday in College BBall

Tonight had a good amount of college ballers playing. Not such a successful night for us. Jared Mintz and Chris Wroblewski had nice nights. And Dane Diliegro and company almost pulled off a mega upset.
New Hampshire scared UConn but eventually lost. Dane Diliegro had 7pts to go with 10 boards.

Zach Rosen and Zach Gordan's Quakers beat Maryland-Baltimore County. The Quakers are only 3-3 in the early season.

Chris Wroblewski had 8pts, 4rbs, and 7 assists in a loss to #8 Syracuse. Eitan Chemerinski added 2 points and a rebound. Brandon Reese did not play for the Orange.

Jared Mintz had 17 pts, 3 steals,  6 rbs, and 1 assist in a loss at Princeton.

Adam Carp's Nevada Wolfpac lost to South Dakota State (yes, that is a real school).

Brian Katz's Yale topped Hartford.

Michael Bartelstein did not see action for Michigan in their victory over Clemson in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

Bruce Pearl's Tennessee won big over Middle Tennessee 86-56. The Volunteers are currently ranked #13. Steven Pearl contributed a rebound and 2 assists.

And Let Us Say...Amen.
-Jeremy Fine

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ron Kittle!!!

Want to be like White Sox great Ron Kittle?

Then follow TGR on Twitter.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Interview with Vermont's Josh Elbaum

Yes last week was College BBall week. But we got one more interview for you. We met up with Vermont's freshman Josh Elbaum. Vermont has already beaten Sienna and played UConn tough. Meet the newest Freshman with Jewish roots. Also, big ups to his Dad who is apparently a TGR fan (and for taking him to shul).
Interview:

1) Tell TGR a little bit about yourself?
My name is Joshua Elbaum, I was raised in Melville, New York on Long Island. I grew up playing many sports but always loved basketball. I attended two Maccabi Games, and won a gold and silver medal at Stamford, Connecticut and Orange County, California. I am currently a freshman at the University of Vermont.

2) When did you know playing college ball was a reality?
I always figured I would play college basketball somewhere, but until I got into my later high school years I had no idea what level it would be at.

3) As a freshman, what do you see you role on this team?
As a point guard, my role has always been to be a defensive stopper and to get the ball to my teammates in the best possible spots for them to make plays.
4) How do you like your chances in the America East League this year?
Many people are counting us out because we lost a few starters but I think we have as good of a shot as anyone. We are young but we have some great upperclassmen to lead us. Our main goal before any other is to win the conference tournament.

5) Vermont faces a tough opening week with Siena and UConn. What did the opening win over Siena mean? What could a win over UConn mean for the team?
The win over Siena was huge, because like us they have made tournament appearances and are considered a very good mid major team. We are really looking forward towards facing UConn. They have tremendous basketball history and are very talented but they have a lot of new guys in the rotation as do we, so it should be a great game.

6) January 20th and 31st Vermont plays in conference rival New Hampshire which has fellow Jewish ball player Dane Diliegro. Do you know any other Jewish ball players?
I was made aware of Dane Diliegro and I share a common faith but I have not seen him play or met him yet but heard he is a good player. It is always nice to know there are more Jewish basketball players out there. I did grow up playing with Brian Katz, who happens to be a good friend of mine who plays at the University of Yale. I also know quite a few Jewish Division III players from Long Island.

7) How is the best player you have played against?
Recently, I would have to say Kemba Waker at UConn. Growing up would have to be Lance Stephenson and Rod Odom.

8) What was your Jewish life growing up?
I attended temple with my father as child growing up. I saw it meant a lot to him, especially since he played professionally in Israel. It also didn’t hurt that most of my friends growing up were Jewish as well. I did not realize until I left Long Island, how few Jews there are, I was spoiled growing up in New York.

9) It seems like you attended 3 different high schools. Why the switch?
I originally attended public school under the Half Hollow Hills District until the 8th grade, where I played for the freshman team, but I decided to make the switch to St. Johns for a better basketball experience. After winning our league championship and league MVP, I attended Northfield Mount Hermon School for a post graduate year and we made it to the National Championship game. Playing at prep school really helped the transition to college basketball.

10) What are your future plans? Would you consider playing ball in Israel after college?
I would love to play in Israel after college. My father still talks about how great an experience it was and how much fun he had. He still has friends over there that he keeps in touch with. To keep playing the game I love in the Holy Land would be more than ideal. It doesn’t hurt that the weather is nice either.

And Let Us Say...Amen.
-Jeremy Fine
Photo by: Shane Bufano

Friday, November 26, 2010

Birthday Special: Interview with Former MLBer Norm Miller



Recently, TGR caught up with former Jewish MLBer Norm Miller. Miller played mainly for the Astros  and finished his career in 1974 with the Atlanta Braves. He played with Hank Aaron and was there when he hit the home run to break Babe Ruth's record (you might recognize Ruth from our homepage...the guy with the Tallis). Miller was nice enough to grant us an interview. It is below:
Interview:
 
1) You had a 12 year career. What were some of the biggest highlights?
Biggest highlight no doubt was 1st time up in big leagues, hometown against the Dodgers and got a base hit. Every day living the dream was a highlight.  Playing with Hank Aaron was special.  Being a ballplayer was the best.

2) Who was the greatest pitcher you ever faced and what was it like?
 
Bob Gibson was the best pitcher I faced by far.  Koufax was the best around but I never went up there against him. Facing Gibson simply stated was over powering.  Painless and quick.
3) Do you think the records of Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Alex Rodriguez should treated differently? How should we view the steroid era?
Steroid era is a shame.  I blame both the players and management.  Bonds, McGwire I have no respect for as people.  Rodriquez doesn't bother me.  Records should not be acknowledged. 

4) What have you been up to since your career ended?
Since retiring in 74 I enjoyed a wonderful business career in marketing and advertising.  I also did Radio and TV work and just enjoyed being.  I've been married now for 42 years and have two daughters and two grand daughters.  I'm retired and writing.  Just finished a Television pilot idea and a screenplay, my 2nd.  

5) Tell us a little bit about the book?
My book is about my career.  What it took, what I did and how much I loved it.  Lot's of stories all real.  Well received.

6) Do you have any advice for young athletes trying who want to play in the Bigs?
Young athletes need to get real.  Most are told they're great and really not.  The percentage that make it is so small.  But you don't see the effort you should.  I've coached kids for years and the decline in the passion and commitment is noticeable.

7) Who would you rather start your team with Sandy Koufax or Hank Greenberg?
Only know Greenberg from stats and reputation.  Give me Koufax...unhittable.  

You can learn more about Norm Miller by visiting his website www.normwho.com. Also, check out his book
And let us say...Amen.
-Jeremy Fine

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bring It In - Israel Winter Fellows and Barak Netanya Team Up For Basketball Education Day Nov 18th

 Picture
On Thursday November 18th, Bring It In - Israel Winter Fellows joined forces with players from Israeli men's professional team Barak Netanya to run a basketball education day for children from after school programs (moadoniote) in Netanya. The program focused on teaching the children basketball fundamentals, English sports vocabulary, and life skills such as listening, communication, and teamwork. The day served as a Mifgash (cultural exchange) between Bring It In - Israel Fellows and the Israeli children and players. Bring It In - Israel Winter Fellows Adina Weinberg, Jacob Walker, and Judah Batist from Aardvark Israel, teamed up with Barak Netanya players Eliran Gueta (Power Forward) and David Asnte (Guard).

Bring It In - Israel Fellows utilized the in field training day to hone their Hebrew sports vocabulary, and to learn how to work together with Israelis. Bring It In - Israel looks forward to run more sports days with Barak Netanya over Hannukah. Click on the album below to see more pictures from the day. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Two New Jews

We have added Ryan Kalish of the Boston Red Sox, who has a Jewish father, to our MLB page.

Also, the Islander recalled Dylan Reese. He has been added to the NHL page.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

2010/2011 NCAA Basketball Preseason All TGR Team

With superstars Jon Scheyer and Slyven Landesberg on to bigger and better things, this year we look to some unknowns. Last year's senior class was impressive. So who is going to step up and be our next hope at a Jewish NBA star. Well, this years All TGR Team does not have a pro prospect for next year. But it has plenty of talent and is lead by a budding star.

Meet the Team

Dane Diliegro - The big man was on this team last year. Why? Because he produces. He isn't to flashy and might not be an NBA prospect but the 6'9 center can use his body. He pulled down 8 boards a game while scoring almost 9. Solid numbers for a solid player.

Zach Rosen - One could easily make the claim that Rosen should be the preseason player of the year. The Penn guard does a little bit of everything. He dished out 4.4 assists and grabbed 3.3 boards last season. But what he does best is score. He dropped 17.7 points a game last year. Also, a second year on this list. Rosen could be the IVY League MVP.

Jared Mintz - Mintz surprised a lot of people last season. He finished with 5.7 boards and 14.1 points a game last year. He is not a big time program, but his numbers are solid. His numbers should only improve.


Bryan Cohen - Cohen plays at Bucknell which hasn't made any noise since 2005. His 8 ppg is nothing too amazing, but he is only going to be a junior and is returning as the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year. Defense wins championships....or so they say.


Michael Atwater - While he hasn't played a game in college basketball yet, this power forward for ASU has a big upside. He was ranked in the top 300 of college bball recruits. He is entering a major program. Below is a Youtube video of him. He moves well and can board.

 

Preseason Player of the Year

Jake Cohen - Yes, Rosen scored more points a game. But Cohen's 13.3 ppg and 5.11 rpg were solid. And he had an awesome offseason. He got rave reviews overseas. He played for the Israel under 20 team and dominated Europe. I think the style of player overseas will help this skilled big man. He is young, raw, and only getting better. He is our best shot at another NBA player for a little while.


Good luck to all the players this year. For a more complete list check out our NCAA page.
And Let Us Say..Amen.
-Jeremy Fine

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Interview with Bucknell's Bryan Cohen

Many of us haven't heard too much from Bucknell since their upset of Kansas in 2005. But for TGR readers there is another reason to follow Bison and his name is Bryan Cohen. Cohen had a solid 8ppg last season and this year looks to improve. We caught up with Cohen who graciously gave us some of his time. Below is the interview:
1) Tell TGR a little bit about yourself?
My name is Bryan Cohen and I am a junior at Bucknell University. I play small forward on the basketball team here at Bucknell. I have been playing in the Maccabi Games ever since I have been a teenager and got to travel all around the country as well as Israel. From what I remember I played in the Maccabi Games in Philadelphia (My home town), Boston, Memphis, and Israel.

2) What got you into basketball? Was it always your best sport?
I have been playing basketball all of my life. I was fortunate enough to have an older brother that loved the game of basketball as well and he was able to teach me the skills of the game. Growing up he used to beat up on me on and off the court, which I hated when I was younger but made me the player I am today. Yes basketball has always been my best sport. My dad had me play almost every sport when I was younger, to have me experience them all and choose which I liked best. Once I started playing basketball I immediately fell in love with the game.

3) When did you realize you had the talent to play at the college level? Why did you pick Bucknell?

To tell you the truth I didn’t realize that playing division one basketball was a reachable goal until my older brother signed to play at University of Pennsylvania. Growing up I was always as step ahead when my brother was at the same age, so I knew that all the hard work that I was putting in the gym was going to pay off and I would have a good chance to play division one basketball. The reason I chose Bucknell was because it is a great academic school, great basketball program, and has a rich basketball tradition. I remember after my visit I knew that this was the school for me and signed the next day when I got home. 

4) Do you remember when Bucknell upset Kansas in the tournament? Do people in school still talk about that game?
Yes I do remember when Bucknell upset Kansas. That was actually the first time I heard of Bucknell and have been following them ever since. Yes some of the students on campus those either don’t go to the games or don’t know basketball ask me how it was to beat Kansas, but they don’t realize that it happened almost 5 years ago.


5) How is the team shaping up? How do you like your chances to get to the tournament?

I feel very confident this year about our chances. We have 4 out of 5 starters returning from last year and a lot of our guys have tons of game experience. Last year we had a lot of talent but our guys were young and inexperienced. This year we have everyone returning expect one with everyone experienced and focused on bringing home a Patriot League Championship.

6) Last year you were the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year. What did that mean to you? Is defensive something that you pride yourself on?
It was a great honor to receive the DPOY award. Defense is something I pride my game on and allows me to stay on the court. Every game my coach assigns me to the best opposing offensive player and my job is to limit his touches and I enjoy doing what is needed for our team to win. So winning the DPOY is a great recognition for me personally, but my goal is to receive the Patriot League championship trophy while I am at Bucknell for the next two years. 

7) Who is the best player you have ever had to guard?
That’s a good question. Let’s see in high school it would have to be either Tyreke Evans or Wayne Ellington and in college it would have to be Jeff Teague from Wake Forest who is plays for the Atlanta Hawks.

8) What was your Maccabiah experience like? Would you ever consider going overseas to Israel to ball pro ball?
Playing in the Maccabi Games was an amazing experience. Everything from the opening ceremonies, competitive games, and nightly activities was something I will never forget. The best part of the Maccabi Games was not the basketball but the friendships. I have developed friends with teammates and other Jewish kids that I met that I will always be in touch with. Yes playing overseas in Israel is a goal of mine in the future when I am done playing college basketball. After playing in the Maccabi Games two summers ago I was able to talk to some of my teammates who play professional basketball in Israel and see how they liked it. They all said it is something you should experience if you are able to and that is something I hope I can do in the future.

9) Who is the best Jewish basketball player you have ever played against?
The best Jewish player that I ever played against would have to be Dan Grunfeild. I never technically played against him because he was on the same team with me that won the Gold in the Maccabi Games two summers ago. However, I was able to play against him every day in training camp before we left for the games.

10) What your plans after graduation?

I am not really sure for my plans after graduation. I plan to graduate with a degree in economics and I plan to pursue a career to play professional basketball in Israel after I graduate from Bucknell.

Thanks again to Bryan Cohen. Good luck this season.
And Let Us Say...Amen.
-Jeremy Fine

Monday, November 15, 2010

Break from the NCAA

We wanted to report that although they didn't win both Ike Davis and Danny Valencia received Rookie of the Year votes. Davis finished 7th with 2 third place votes (2 points total).  Valencia finished 3rd in the AL voting with 1 second place and 9 third place votes (12 points total).

Congrats to both on a great season. Thus far only Ryan Braun has received a post season award by winning the Silver Slugger award for a NL Outfielder.

Where are the now (NCAA 2009/2010 Edition)?

Last year was truly an amazing year for Jewish college basketball. So many good stories, that it has left us expecting great things. This year does not look as promising, although there are a few bright spots. So we decided to look back at the players who have left the college ranks and find out what those players are up to now.
Nimrod Tishman - We were hoping Tishman would be the next big thing. The young Israeli sensation was a late signee at Florida. A top program and on the heels of Omri Casspi's big splash in the NBA. Unfortunately, Tishman's game did not translate too well in the NCAA. He left the Gators and is now playing  for Hapoel Yokneam/Megido in Israel. It is the DII division. He is currently scoring 12 ppg.

Jon Jaques - Jaques is best known for helping Cornell with their impressive run in the tournament. Jaques (who we recently interviewed) has also taken his game to Israel. He signed a one-year contract with Ironi Ashkelon. He also writes for Slam Magazine. He seems to be happy and has made Aliyah for the time being.

Derek Glasser - Glasser has also moved on to Israel. He is playing for Maccabi Haifa, which is an up and coming program. Glasser is very excited about his opportunity in Israel.

Brett Harvey - We last saw Harvey leading Loyola University Maryland. After his stellar career he went to the Maccabi Haifa tryouts. He landed on a DII team called Hapoel Marnin Tivon. Harvey should be able to work his way up.

Slyven Landesberg - Landesberg had a tryout with the Sacramento Kings. After that he too signed with Maccabi Haifa. Landesberg should prove to be a solid player in the Israeli League. The toughness and flow of the Israel game could eventually do for Landesberg what it did for Anthony Parker. Don't be surprised to see Landesberg get another shot.

Jon Scheyer - Scheyer was first signed by the Miami Heat (clearly not their biggest signing). After a tough, freak injury, he caught on with the Clippers. He got cut towards the end of the preseason. Rumors are currently circulating. He may go on to play for the Clippers D-League team but he has also been approached by Maccabi Tel-Aviv, Israel's top team.

We wish all of these guys the best of luck. For those in Israel, enjoy it. It is amazing that you can make aliyah and play there. Eat a lot. Hone your skills. Enjoy every day there.

And Let Us Say...Amen.
-Jeremy Fine

Sunday, November 14, 2010

College Basketball Week Begins!!!

Today tips of our college basketball week. We begin with the biggest Jewish story entering college basketball. We have all heard about Bruce Pearl. Here is an article from the Washington Post by Beth Rucker. We should have stuff for you all week to enhance your college bball experience. Later this week we have our preseason all TGR team. Enjoy!

Pearl wants Vols focused on game, not NCAA fallout


Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl has excelled at leading the Volunteers to success in the face of adversity. The 2010-11 season may be his biggest challenge yet.


Instead of motivating a team low on talent or hobbled by suspensions, Pearl has to overcome the fallout from an ongoing NCAA investigation into his recruiting practices - and he must do it without his leaders from last season's NCAA regional finals team.

Pearl is already trying to keep their minds off of it.

Players "shouldn't worry about it. They're not part of it," Pearl said. "They certainly are human, and they hear some of the things that are being said, but you try not to pay attention to any of that stuff. That's not our focus. That stuff's going to run its course. All we can focus on is getting degrees, doing our jobs in the community and becoming a good basketball team."

The 23rd-ranked Vols certainly have the makings of a good basketball team in Pearl's sixth season.
They've lost forward Wayne Chism and guards J.P. Prince and Bobby Maze but have added a strong incoming class. Pearl signed top power forward recruit Tobias Harris, wing Jordan McRae and combo guard Trae Golden and brought in senior forward John Fields from UNC-Wilmington and sophomore forward Jeronne Maymon from Marquette.

Even the newcomers already expect to be able to handle the roadblocks that come their way.

"Tennessee basketball is a family," McRae said. "When we face adversity, we thrive. Look at our past."
Last season, Pearl was forced to suspend three of his players and dismiss star forward Tyler Smith after the four were arrested. Without them, the Vols were able to upset No. 1 Kansas and survive the start to an always brutal Southeastern Conference schedule.

They went on to also upset No. 1 Kentucky and finished 28-9, narrowly missing their first Final Four trip when they lost 70-69 to Michigan State in their first regional final appearance.

Senior point guard Melvin Goins returns from that team, far more prepared to lead the team this season than a year ago when he was a fresh junior college transfer and dealing with a knee injury. Junior guard Scotty Hopson, a preseason all-SEC pick, also returns after spending the summer working at the LeBron James Skills Academy and training with USA Basketball's Men's Select Team.

"I think now my mental focus has really changed. I just feel right now as a leader on this team I have to do more and step up," Hopson said.

The Vols will still be fast, but they won't necessarily dictate tempo or be the full-court pressure kind of team that was the hallmark of Pearl's first few seasons at Tennessee.

Instead they can dominate the paint with Harris and sophomore forward Kenny Hall - both 6-foot-8 - and 6-foot-10 center Brian Williams, who's in the best shape of his career after spending several weeks this summer in an intensive conditioning program. Williams, now a senior, is down 100 pounds from his freshman season weight of 385.

"We've got good traditional size. The closer we get to the basket, the better we will look," Pearl said. "How much full-court pressure we're going to use? we may still turn people over. I think we'll be a better shot blocking team, I think we'll be a better rebounding team."Tennessee will find out early how good it can be when it hosts first- and second-round games in the NIT Season Tip-Off that could lead to a trip to New York. The Vols also travel to No. 5 Pittsburgh and host Southern California and No. 19 Memphis before facing an SEC schedule that will include multiple games against No. 9 Florida and No. 11 Kentucky.

The results of the NCAA's investigation into recruiting practices by Pearl and his assistants could come as early as December. Tennessee officials expect Pearl to be charged with unethical conduct.Pearl acknowledged in September that he mislead investigators about photos taken of him and recruit Aaron Craft, when Pearl improperly hosted the prospect at his home in 2008. Tennessee also revealed he and his staff made excessive calls to recruits.

If the NCAA charges do interrupt the season, the Vols don't plan on letting it bother them.
"Whatever's happening off the court isn't going to affect us on the court," sophomore guard Skylar McBee said. "We have goals that we want to obtain, and to do that we have to come and work hard and stay focused, and that's what we're going to do."

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pearl and Vols Not Right

It seems like Bruce Pearl and his Vols are not right yet. The 23rd ranked Tennessee Vols lost an exhibition game to DII Indianapolis Greyhounds 79-64. We will have more on Pearl and the upcoming college basketball season next week.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Minor League Report

Normally, I write my own articles but Josh Bornstein had this amazing post on his blog. Check out jewsinbaseball.blogspot.com. Note two future White Sox, inlcuding Danny Axelrod in AA.

Minor League Standouts In 2010


Triple-A

Sam Fuld (OF, 28, Cubs): Fuld put up a line of .272/.383/.394 for an OPS of .777 in 440 PAs. He hit 4 HRs, 15 doubles, 9 triples, swiped 21 bags, drove in 27 runs, and scored 69 runs. He posted the best BB/K ratio of his career at 66/37. That's nearly twice as many walks as strikeouts. Pretty impressive. With the loss of Derrek Lee, the Cubs are seriously contemplating moving Tyler Colvin to first base. Should that come to pass, Fuld could see more playing time.

Ben Guez (OF, 23, Tigers): Guez split time at 3 levels this year. He played 28 games in Class A-Advanced, 9 games in Double-A, and 68 games in Triple-A. In Triple-A, he put up a line of .251/.339/.439 for an OPS of .778 in 259 PAs. His overall line for the season was .249/.341/.411 for an OPS of .752 in 393 PAs. He hit 10 HRs, 19 doubles, 3 triples, swiped 14 bags, drove in 43 runs, and scored 43 runs. Considering Guez was playing in Single-A last year, he's moved up fairly quickly through the Tigers' farm system.

Jason Hirsh (RH SP, 28, Yankees): Hirsh was 9-7 in 122 1/3 innings (19 starts) with a 3.90 ERA, 1.153 WHIP, 95 Ks, 7.5 H/9, 1.3 HR/9, 2.9 BB/9, 7.0 K/9, and 2.44 K/BB. Hirsh pitched well after he joined the Yankees' organization towards the end of 2009, but this was really his 1st good season since 2006. He will most certainly get another Spring Training invite.

Ryan Kalish (OF, 22, Red Sox): Kalish played 41 games in Double-A and 37 games in Triple-A. Overall, he put up a line of .294/.382/.502 for an OPS of .884 in 343 PAs. He hit 13 HRs, 18 doubles, 2 triples, drove in 47 runs, scored 57 runs, and stole 25 bases (only caught 3 times). His BB/K ratio was 42/53. Kalish could very well be a 5-tool player. He figures to get more playing time next year with the Sox. He may even get a shot to start at some point.

Aaron Poreda (LH RP, 24, Padres): Poreda pitched 25 innings in Double-A and 29 innings in Triple-A. Throwing strikes started to become a problem for Poreda last season, and this season was no different. Poreda's BB/9 in Double-A was 9.4 and 11.8 in Triple-A. That's obviously abysmal. However, his other peripherals were actually quite good. Only gave up 1 HR all year. And he didn't give up many hits, either. His H/9 was 5.2 (6.5 in Double-A, 4.0 in Triple-A). His K/9 was also respectable at 7.8 (9.0 in Double-A, 6.8 in Triple-A). Control issues aside, still a lot of upside here.

James Rapoport (CF, 25, Cardinals): Rapoport played 25 games in Double-A and 112 games in Triple-A. His overall line was .276/.350/.354 for an OPS of .703 in 560 PAs. He hit 4 HRs, 18 doubles, 4 triples, swiped 8 bags, drove in 46 runs, and scored 74 runs. This Stanford product's BB/K ratio was 54/69.

Michael Schwimer (RH RP, 24, Phillies): Schwimer pitched 40 innings in Double-A and 20 innings in Triple-A. In Triple-A, he was 2-2 with a 1.35 ERA, 1.150 WHIP, 7.2 H/9, 0.4 HR/9, 3.2 BB/9, 8.1 K/9, and 2.57 K/BB. In Double-A, he was 5-3 with 11 saves, a 3.60 ERA, 1.200 WHIP, 7.6 H/9, 1.1 HR/9, 3.2 BB/9, 13.0 K/9, and 4.14 K/BB. Overall, he was 7-5 with 11 saves, a 2.85 ERA, 1.183 WHIP, 7.5 H/9, 0.9 HR/9, 3.2 BB/9, 11.4 K/9, and 3.62 K/BB. I think we'll see his MLB debut some time in 2011.

Adam Stern (OF, 30, Brewers): Stern put up a line of .325/.399/.462 for an OPS of .860 in 322 PAs. He hit 5 HRs, 18 doubles, 3 triples, drove in 29 runs, and scored 48 runs. His BB/K ratio was 35/47. This was his best season since 2004.

Josh Whitesell (1B, 28, Nationals): Before signing with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows, Whitesell played 54 games for the Nationals' Triple-A affiliate, putting up a line of .304/.406/.446 for an OPS of .852 in 219 PAs. If you're the curious sort, you might be interested to learn that with the Swallows, Whitesell put up a line of .309/.399/.591 for an OPS of .990 in 230 ABs. Combined, he hit 19 HRs, 28 doubles, 3 triples, and drove in 87 runs in 414 ABs.

Double-A/Class A-Advanced

Dylan Axelrod (RHP, 25, White Sox): Axelrod pitched 99 1/3 innings (13 starts) in Class A-Advanced and 10 innings (2 starts) in Double-A. Overall, he was 8-4 with a 2.06 ERA, 1.079 WHIP, 8.5 H/9, 0.2 HR/9, 1.2 BB/9, 7.6 K/9, and 6.13 K/BB. That K/BB ratio is filthy.

Richard Bleier (LH SP, 23, Rangers): Bleier was 7-11 with a 5.04 ERA, 1.333 WHIP, 10.5 H/9, 0.7 HR/9, 1.5 BB/9, 4.5 K/9, and 2.93 K/BB in 164 1/3 innings (28 starts in Double-A). Like Axelrod, you've got to like the command. Just needs to miss more bats.

Charles Cutler (C, 23, Cardinals): Cutler played 38 games in Double-A and 41 games in Class A-Advanced. His overall line was .260/.350/.341 for an OPS of .691 in 314 PAs. He did very well in Class A-Advanced but struggled in Double-A. His BB/K ratio was 32/33. He threw out 25% of the baserunners who attempted to steal against him. I could see him being another Ryan Hanigan or Francisco Cervelli.

Jonathon Fixler (C, 24, Astros): Fixler played 20 games in Single-A and 33 games in Double-A. In Double-A, he put up a line of .265/.363/.500 for an OPS of .863 in 115 PAs. His overall line was .242/.344/.427 for an OPS of .771 in 185 PAs. Not bad for a catcher.

Jason Kipnis (2B, 23, Indians): Kipnis played 54 games in Class A-Advanced and 79 games in Double-A. In Double-A, he put up a line of .311/.385/.502 for an OPS of .887 in 355 PAs. His overall line was .307/.386/.492 for an OPS of .878 in 592 PAs. He hit 16 HRs, 32 doubles, 8 triples, swiped 9 bags, drove in 74 runs, and scored 96 runs. Kipnis was named the Indians' Minor League Player of the Year. May not be long before he joins his old teammate from Arizona State, Ike Davis, in The Bigs. Has September call-up written all over him for 2011.

David Kopp (RH SP, 24, Cardinals): Kopp pitched 121 innings (21 starts) in Double-A and 24 innings (5 starts) in Triple-A. In Double-A, he was 12-4 with a 3.05 ERA, 1.364 WHIP, 9.4 H/9, 0.7 HR/9, 2.9 BB/9, 5.8 K/9, and 2.00 K/BB. Overall, he was 12-9 with a 3.97 ERA, 1.476 WHIP, 10.2 H/9, 0.8 HR/9, 3.1 BB/9, 5.6 K/9, and 1.80 K/BB. He struggled mightily during his 5 starts in Triple-A, just like he struggled mightily in his 5 starts in Double-A in 2009. If the pattern keeps up, he'll pitch well in Triple-A next season and struggle mightily in The Show.

Ryan Lavarnway (C/DH, 23, Red Sox): Lavarnway played 82 games in Class A-Advanced and 44 games in Double-A. In Double-A, he put up a line of .285/.395/.494 for an OPS of .888 in 190 PAs. His overall line was .288/.393/.489 for an OPS of .882 in 550 PAs. He hit 22 HRs, 27 doubles, drove in 102 runs, and scored 91 runs. His BB/K ratio was 70/104. He also threw out 33% of the baserunners who attempted to steal against him. For the 2nd consecutive season, Lavarnway was named the Offensive Player of the Year in the Red Sox's farm system. If he remains a catcher, he should have a ton of value moving forward. Catchers who can swing the lumber like he can don't grow on trees. Could be a September call-up next year.

Josh Satin (2B/INF, 25, Mets): Satin played 58 games in Class A-Advanced and 79 games in Double-A. In Double-A, he put up a line of .308/.395/.472 for an OPS of .867 in 332 PAs. His overall line was .311/.399/.467 for an OPS of .866 in 577 PAs. He hit 12 HRs, 39 doubles, 1 triple, drove in 74 runs, and scored 76 runs. As a second baseman, he gets overshadowed by Kipnis, but he's another potential September call-up next year.

Scott Schneider (RHP, 22, Cardinals): Schneider pitched 74 innings (13 starts) in Class A-Advanced and 63 2/3 innings (8 starts) in Single-A. Overall, Schneider was 8-9 with 2 saves in 137 2/3 innings, a 3.46 ERA, 1.140 WHIP, 7.6 H/9, 0.5 HR/9, 2.6 BB/9, 7.5 K/9, and 2.88 K/BB.

Single-A

Nathan Freiman (1B, 23, Padres): Freiman put up a line of .294/.369/.457 for an OPS of .826 in 594 PAs. He hit 14 HRs, 43 doubles, drove in 84 runs, and scored 83 runs. At 6' 7", he certainly looks the part of a first baseman. According to his numbers, he also plays the part pretty well.

Casey Haerther (1B, 22, Angels): Haerther put up a line of .307/.352/.432 for an OPS of .784 in 471 PAs. He hit 8 HRs, 26 doubles, 2 triples, swiped 10 bags, drove in 74 runs, and scored 54 runs. Very nice all-around 1st full season season for the former UCLA Bruin.

Jason Knapp (RHP, 20, Indians): Knapp missed most of the season because he was rehabbing from shoulder surgery in the offseason, but his numbers were impressive when he finally did pitch. He pitched 12 1/3 innings (5 starts) in Rookie League and 16 innings (4 starts) in Single-A. Overall, he was 1-2 with a 2.86 ERA, 1.024 WHIP, 47 Ks in 28 1/3 innings, 5.4 H/9, 0.0 HR/9, 3.8 BB/9, 14.9 K/9, and 3.92 K/BB. Coming into the season, Baseball America had him ranked as the 64th best prospect in the Minors, just behind Ike Davis at 62. It's still unclear whether Knapp will remain a starter or be converted into a reliever, but one thing is certain: he's a power pitcher who can rack up the Ks.

Tyler Kolodny (3B/1B, 22, Orioles): Kolodny played 10 games in Short-Season A and 41 games in Single-A. His overall line was .251/.365/.525 for an OPS of .890 in 220 PAs. He hit 11 HRs, 11 doubles, 3 triples, swiped 9 bags, drove in 33 runs, and scored 37 runs. From what I've read, the Orioles plan to move him to the outfield.

Brett Lorin (RH SP, 23, Pirates): Lorin missed most of the season because of a hip injury. He pitched 7 innings (3 starts) in Rookie League and 41 2/3 innings (9 starts) in Single-A. Overall, he was 2-3 in 48 2/3 innings with a 4.62 ERA, 1.295 WHIP, 9.4 H/9, 1.1 HR/9, 2.2 BB/9, 7.8 K/9, and 3.50 K/BB. It'll be interesting to see what he can do in a full season.

Jason Markovitz (LHP, 22, Mariners): Markovitz pitched 19 2/3 innings in Short-Season A and 20 innings (2 starts) in Single-A. Overall, he was 2-2 with 4 saves in 39 2/3 innings, 40 Ks, a 3.86 ERA, 1.160 WHIP, 8.4 H/9, 0.5 HR/9, 2.0 BB/9, 9.1 K/9, and 4.44 K/BB. With those peripherals, he probably deserved a better ERA. Didn't log too many innings at Long Beach University where he was teammates with Lorin for a year, but his numbers there were solid.

Daniel Rosenbaum (LH SP, 23, Nationals): Rosenbaum pitched 101 innings (18 starts) in Single-A and 43 innings (7 starts) in Class A-Advanced. Overall, he was 5-7 in 144 innings with a 2.25 ERA, 1.188 WHIP, 8.1 H/9, 0.4 HR/9, 2.6 BB/9, 7.2 K/9, and 2.80 K/BB. The 5-7 record doesn't do him justice. Rosenbaum and Hirsh were the best starters in the minors this year, IMO.

David Rubinstein (OF, 23, Pirates): Rubinstein put up a line of .289/.347/.409 for an OPS of .755 in 480 PAs. He hit 3 HRs, 37 doubles, 3 triples, swiped 23 bags, drove in 50 runs, and scored 54 runs. Doesn't possess a lot of power, but 37 doubles is nothing to sneeze at.

Josh Zeid (RHP, 23, Phillies): Zeid was 8-4 with 8 saves in 107 1/3 innings (12 starts), a 2.93 ERA, 1.137 WHIP, 111 Ks, 8.0 H/9, 0.6 HR/9, 2.3 BB/9, 9.3 K/9, and 4.11 K/BB. Outstanding numbers across the board. Zeid was voted as the Best Reliever at the Single-A level. With Schwimer, B.J. Rosenberg (injured for most of the season), and Zeid the Phillies have a solid core of relievers in their farm system.

Short-Season A/Rookie League

Jeremy Gould (LH RP, 22, Mets): In Rookie League, Gould was 1-2 with 1 save in 17 1/3 innings, a 3.12 ERA, 1.212 WHIP, 7.3 H/9, 0.5 HR/9, 3.6 BB/9, 5.7 K/9, and 1.57 K/BB. Didn't pitch much at Duke; he was a solid every day player there.

Alex Kaminsky (RH SP, 22, Indians): Kaminsky pitched 69 innings (14 starts) in Short-Season A and 3 innings in Double-A. Overall, he was 7-5 with a 2.38 ERA, 1.069 WHIP, 7.1 H/9, 0.5 HR/9, 2.5 BB/9, 7.5 K/9, and 3.00 K/BB. Not bad for a guy who inexplicably went undrafted. Had a pretty good career at Wright State University.

Jake Lemmerman (SS, 21, Dodgers): In Rookie League, Lemmerman put up a line of .363/.434/.610 for an OPS of 1.044 in 303 PAs. He hit 12 HRs, 24 doubles, 2 triples, drove in 47 runs, and scored 69 runs. This former Blue Devil was teammates with Freiman and Gould at Duke. Middle infielders with this kind of pop are few and far between. If he sticks at shortstop, he could go real far.

Ben Orloff (INF, 23, Astros): In Short-Season A, Orloff put up a line of .307/.405/.324 for an OPS of .729 in 285 PAs. He hit 4 doubles, swiped 23 bags (only caught 5 times), drove in 16 runs, and scored 52 runs. Also had a nifty BB/K ratio of 34/19. Was teammates with Axelrod for 2 years at the University of California-Irvine.

Andrew Pevsner (LHP, 22, Dodgers): In Rookie League, Pevsner was 3-0 in 28 1/3 innings (18 appearances) with a 1.91 ERA, 1.376 WHIP, 30 Ks, 7.9 H/9, 1.0 HR/9, 4.4 BB/9, 9.5 K/9, and 2.14 K/BB.

Justin Schumer (RHP, 22, Giants): Schumer pitched 5 2/3 innings (1 start) in Rookie League and 21 1/3 innings (4 starts) in Short-Season A. Overall, he was 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA, 1.185 WHIP, 6.3 H/9, 0.0 HR/9, 4.3 BB/9, 6.0 K/9, and 1.38 K/BB. Schumer went undrafted. He obviously took umbrage at that.

Michael Schwartz (1B/DH, 23, White Sox): In Rookie League, Schwartz put up a line of .241/.414/.339 for an OPS of .753 in 146 PAs. His BB/K ratio was 26/33.

Mauricio Tabachnik (RHP, 20, Padres): In Short-Season A, Tabachnik was 3-4 in 62 innings (6 starts) with a 3.48 ERA, 1.306 WHIP, 10.0 H/9, 0.9 HR/9, 1.7 BB/9, 6.1 K/9, and 3.50 K/BB. Great name to go along with a great BB/9.

Jeff Urlaub (LHP, 23, A's): In Rookie League, Urlaub was 1-0 with 2 saves in 26 1/3 innings, a 2.39 ERA, 0.987 WHIP, 26 Ks, 7.9 H/9, 0.0 HR/9, 1.0 BB/9, 8.9 K/9, and 8.67 K/BB. That's about as dominant as it gets. Was teammates with Ike Davis for 1 year at Arizona State.