Friday, April 30, 2010

Major Announcement with a Shabbat Shalom Twist

Today we are going to start with the TGR news.

THIS IS BIG!!! ON JULY 8TH, OUR 1 YEAR ANNIVERSARY, TGR WILL HAVE A ONE ON ONE INTERVIEW WITH THE LEGENDARY DOLPH SCHAYES.

Schayes is the greatest Jewish basketball player ever to live and behind Sandy Koufax the greatest Jewish athlete alive. Besides many awards and honors, he was brought back into the spotlight when the NBA came out with the NBA's Top 50 greatest player of All Time list. Schayes found himself on that list.

Obviously we are very excited so mark your calendars!!! Also, a big thanks to Rabbi Erez Sherman for helping me contact Schayes.

The poll is still going. Lots of interest in the NBA end of year award.
Also the TSHIRT CONTEST is still going. So far some great responses, particularly from Maiya Chard Yaron, Lauren Reis, Ron Sandberg, and Jeffrey Lipp.

We are very close to getting an interview with Jon Scheyer. As well as his high school teammate who just won his second division III championship at Wash U. We are also trying to set something up with some minor leaguers and former Maccabi Tel Aviv great Tal Brody.

We are very excited, as we already announced this week, about of partnership with JewishMajorLeaguers.org. Check out there site when you get a chance.

Next week we should have some Larry Brown news and the winner of the TSHIRT CONTEST

NEWS:
An amazing week in Jewish sports.
Taylor Mays gets drafted.
Ike Davis is turning the Mets around.
Mike Cammalleri dominates the first round.

We have a lot to be proud of.

Also, my Omer calendar. I thought was interest for those who are into that sort of thing. If you can, please show it to your rabbis. Many will enjoy.

POLL:
Keep on Voting.

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

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Free TShirt Giveaway!!!


In honor of our new relationship with JewishMajorLeaguers.org we are giving away one of our TGR Baseball Themed Shirts. Give us a reason why you deserve the free TShirt for a chance to win. Email us at info@thegreatrabbino.com with your story. Also, make sure to check out JewishMajorLeaguers.org for their Baseball card set.

Below are your TShirt options.


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New 49er - Taylor Mays

Taylor Mays is introduced as a 49er.


Different Kind of Ring

Today is a TGR first. Today's story is about gymnastics. Actually, a gymnast many of you may remember. Kerri Strug was an Olympic gold medalist in 1996. Many of you may remember her remarkable moment on the Vault with a sprained ankle. America went on to win the gold and Strug's Vault performance was a key element in their victory. With that moment Strug captured the hearts of Americans everywhere, especially Jewish Americans.

The reason I have chosen today to write about Strug is because the cover story of Yahoo.com was about her. But it had little to do with her 1996 performance rather it was about her recent marriage. Maybe its not a "Sports" story but its good to know where our Jewish athletic heroes are today. Strug married Robert Fischer (with that name there is a decent chance it was an intra-marriage) in Tuscon, Arizona. "Strug, who lives in Washington D.C. and works for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, met her husband through mutual friends. She admits that growing up, her life was so geared towards gymnastics that she didn't date much." -Yahoo.com

You can learn more about Strug at her website www.strug.org. She spends most of her free time working with various charities that you can learn about on her website.

Best of luck to Strug and thanks for '96.
And Let Us Say...Amen.
-Jeremy Fine

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Jewish Sports OMER


From the 2nd day of Passover until Shavuot Jews count each day with a special prayer (49 days total). The time in between the holidays (Exodus from Egypt to receiving the Torah) is called the Omer. During the Omer people study pirkei avot, don't shave (notice some of your rabbis will have longer beards), and don't get haircuts. Personally, I am sporting a beard right now but I trim it for Shabbat, which is a common custom.  Click HERE for the wikipedia page on the Omer.


Many people have different ways for remembering to count the Omer. I have seen a Simpsons calendar, an IPhone App reminder, and the plain old going to synagogue and doing to at services. TGR had a Jewish sports response to counting the Omer. Below is your Jewish sports Omer counter. Enjoy.


1 – Jordan Farmar’s UCLA jersey number.
2 – Taylor Mays’ USC jersey number.
3 – Jerry Reinsdorf has won two 3-peat Championships with the Chicago Bulls.
4 – Jersey number of NBA Hall of Famer Dolph Schayes
5 – Jersey number of MLB Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg.
6 – Jersey number of Israeli basketball sensation Tal Brody.
7 – Jersey number of converted Jew and LA Dodger great Steve Yeager.
8 – Jersey number of Milwaukee Brewer Ryan Braun.
9 – On 9/9 in 1965 Sandy Koufax threw his last no hitter.
10 – Jersey numbers of NHLer Matheiu Schneider
11 – Jersey numbers of NFLer Julian Edelman, NHLer Jeff Halpern, and former Connecticut Huskies great Doron Scheffer
12 – Number of catcher Brad Ausmus
13 – Jersey number of NHLers Michael Cammarelli and Mike Brown
14 – Number of Grand slam titles won by tennis great Pete Sampras
15 – Jersey number of Israeli soccer great Yossi Benayoun.
16 – Jersey number of former Giants pitcher Ryan Sadowski.
17 – Combined WWE, WCW, ECW, and TNA World Titles held by Kevin Nash, Bill Goldberg, Raven, and Macho Man.
18 – Jersey number of Kings’ forward Omri Casspi.
19 – Jersey number of Rays’ outfielder Gabe Kapler
20 – Jersey number of MLBer KevinYoukilis and former MLBers Shawn Green and Joe Horlen
21 - Jersey number of Nationals pitcher Jason Marquis.
22 – Shay Doron’s Maryland jersey number.
23 – Jersey number of NHLer Eric Nystrom
24 – Jersey number of former Orlando Magic Danny Schayes.
25 – Number of wins posted by Steve Stone in his Cy Young Award winning season.
26 – Number in the NBA draft that Jordan Farmar was drafted.
27 – Number of complete games Sandy Koufax pitched in 1965 and 1966 and the age Koufax won the Cy Young and MVP awards in the same season.
28 – Number of wins for boxer Yuri Foreman and Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl in 2009/2010.
29 – Jersey number of Mets rookie Ike Davis.
30 – Jon Scheyer’s Duke jersey number.
31 – Number of home runs and stolen bases that Ian Kinsler had in 2009.
32 – Jersey number of Sandy Koufax.
33 – Number Mark Spitz was listed in Sports Illustrated’s 100 athletes of the 20th century.
34 – Jersey number of MLBer John Grabow and former MLBer Ross Baumgarten.
35 – Number in the NFL draft that the San Diego Chargers drafted Igor Olshansky in 2004.
36 – In 1936 Milton Green and Norman Cahners boycotted the Olympics in Germany.
37 – Number of Home Runs Ryan Braun hit in 2008.
38 – In 1939 Hank Greenberg hit 58 home runs.
39 – Jersey number of Texas Ranger Scott Feldman.
40 – Highest ranking of former ATPer Paul Goldstein.
41 – Number in the NFL draft that Andre Tippet by the New England Patriots.
42 – Jersey number of Chicago Bear Sid Luckman.
43 – Number of home runs Al Rosen hit in his 1953 MVP season.
44 – Number of league leading home runs Hank Greenberg hit in his last season with the Tigers.
45 – In 1945 the Philadelphia SPHAs won their 7th and last title.
46 – In 1946 Sid Luckman led the Chicago Bears to a title.
47 – Number of home runs Ron Blomberg hit for the NY Yankees.
48 – In 1948 Ilona Schacherer-Elek won Olympic gold in the Individual Foil.
49 – In 1949 Maurice Podoloff merged the BAA and the NBA and Dolph Schayes was named rookie of the year.

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


Hockey Playoffs Round 1

I have to admit that I have been slacking on updating about the hockey playoffs. Between Taylor Mays, the end of the NBA, and baseball I have had too much to write about. Don't fear I have been following my Hawks. Psyched about round 2.
So here is a quick shout out to Mike Cammalleri who lead the Montreal Canadiens over the #1 seeded Washington Capitals in game six. Cammalleri had 2 goals and an assist. Well done sir. These goals were numbers 4 and 5 for him of the playoffs. Good luck to the Canadiens.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Video of the Week - Taylor Mays Highlights

I am sure there will be more to come now that Taylor Mays takes his hard hitting style to the NFL. Congrats to TGR's #1 man Taylor Mays. Make us proud.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Coach I Wouldn't Want To Play For


Sometimes I used to watch Coach Bobby Knight on the sidelines and think, wow I would do anything to play for him. That is right. Bobby Knight. He was stern but fair. He was loyal and committed to his players and to winning. I think about other great coaches like John Wooden, Coach K, Jerry Sloan and of course Ozzie Guillen (and the little basketball coach from Saved By The Bell in the episode where Zack goes to the hospital). These are coaches who people rally around.

But you know who I wouldn't want to play for....Pete Carroll. I know he has won championship after championship. He is a great recruiter. But for the second year in a row he threw one of his players under the bus.

Last year it was Mark Sanchez. Carroll was critical of Sanchez's decision to go pro. Very rarely do you see a coach publicly bash his player's choice. Did Callipari dis DRose? No, because good coaches are there for the team and the players.

Carroll stepped over the line once again. Last year, Taylor Mays  had an amazing junior campaign Carroll advised him not to go pro. Mays was a lock to be a top 10 pick. He was the preseason god of awards. But Mays, and the Trojans for that matter, had a less than superb year. Mays fell hard into the second round costing himself millions of dollars.
Carroll, who is now coaching the Seattle Seahawks, began the draft he needed help in the secondary. So when the 14th pick came around, Mays felt that his coach, his mentor, his "Adviser" would surely scoop him up and show Mays he did the right thing. Instead Carroll picked Earl Thomas out of Texas. Is Thomas better? Maybe. Did Carroll have a moral imperative to pick Mays? You be the judge. But I say yes.

If Carroll ever goes back to the college game, if I were Mays I would make it known to everyone of Carroll's track record. Mays had this to say: "I thought, I definitely thought from the relationship that we have, from the things that [Carroll] had told me about what I needed to be, what the draft process is, things that I needed to do, I felt he told me the complete opposite of the actions that he took," [Mays said.] "There were things he told me I needed to do as a football player versus the actions he took and who he took as a safety. I understand it's a business, but with it being a business, honesty is all I'm asking for." [...]"I look forward to playing for Coach [Mike] Singletary 16 games a year than I look forward to playing against Coach Carroll twice a year."

If I can leave you with two thoughts. 1) Pete Carroll pissed Taylor Mays and myself off. Sports should be about loyalty and Carroll has none. 2) How scary is the hard hitting Taylor Mays going to be with coach Mike Singletary. The 49ers just became my second favorite team.

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

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Mays Drafted Mid Second Round

Taylor Mays dropped to the 49th pick in the draft. But on the bright side he got drafted by the San Francisco 49ers where Mike Singletary will make him a star. Singletary is the tough love hard nosed defensive minded coach Mays needs.

Good luck Taylor. TGR has your back.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Taylor Mays Shabbos

Sad News. Taylor Mays fell out of the first round in last nights draft. Us Jews anxiously await Mays pick. Hopefully, it will come sometime in the second round. I know he is going to prove everyone that he is the man.

Anyway, nice week here. Congrats to Ike Davis on getting called up. TGR got its second most reads from one article because of the piece we ran on this site and the Jewish Journal. Also, Mets fans go  and buy our new Ike Davis shirt.

It might be our last Casspi video for a while since he is not in the playoffs. Maybe Farmar will do something special that we can post.

New week we plan on having a special Jewish Sports OMER counter. I have been working hard on it. Hope you enjoy.

POLL:
Poll is still going. Vote for NBA Sportsman of the year. Once again my vote is not winning.

TGR News:
I signed up for Amazon Associates so occasionally we will be promoting books. If you intend on purchasing one of the books we promote please use our link. It helps keep TGR going.

We have formed a partnership with Jewish Major Leaguers Baseball Cards. More news to follow on that soon. He have reached out to a few other publications this week in hopes of getting the word out there more, nothing finalized. 

Have a good Shabbos.
And Let Us Say...Amen.
-Jeremy Fine

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Marquis Hurt

Jason Marquis has joined Brad Ausmus on the DL.

www.sbnation.com/2010/4/21/1436093/jason-marquis-nationals-elbow-injury-hurt

Amazon Links to Books TGR Has Promoted. Check Them Out!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Ike Davis Era Begins

A few months back we posted about the future of Jewish sports. We spoke about Omri Casspi who has already had an impact. Jon Scheyer who played up to his potential. And of course, our main man, Taylor Mays who is about to be a first round draft pick in the NFL draft. But in baseball we introduced you to Ike Davis. Well, starting today it is Davis' turn to turn the Jewish baseball world upside down.
Ike Davis began the season in the AAA affiliate of the New York Mets. The Mets start 4-8 with little to no talent at first base. Davis bats .364 to begin the season after hitting .480 with 3 home runs in spring training. So the Mets insert Davis into the lineup. He will mostly be hitting against right handers, as he still has some trouble with lefties. He is a solid defender who can hit for power and average, something the Mets have needed for a long time. Finally, Mets fans can see David Wright throw to someone who matters.

"Sunday night, the Mets made sure everyone knew that Davis was about to be promoted. And yet they didn't tell Davis himself until after batting practice Monday in Buffalo, making sure that 1) he had to rush to New York for his first game, Monday night at Citi Field against the Cubs, and 2) there was no way his parents could make the trip from the West Coast to see him play. Sunday night, the Mets made sure everyone knew that Davis was about to be promoted. And yet they didn't tell Davis himself until after batting practice Monday in Buffalo, making sure that 1) he had to rush to New York for his first game, Monday night at Citi Field against the Cubs, and 2) there was no way his parents could make the trip from the West Coast to see him play." -CBSsportsline.com

How did Davis respond? He went 2-4 with an RBI and more importantly was part of a 6-1 victory (extra nice because it was over the Cubs).

Davis made quite an impression. He is making tons of press (CBSSportsline #1, CBSSportsline #2, ESPN). 

As a treat, here is an interview with Davis from spring training. 
 

Very exciting day for fans of Jewish baseball. Enjoy the ride. 

Also check out our new Ike Davis Tshirt.

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

Video Of The Week: Casspi Tribute

We have waited long enough to post this video. It stars Omri Casspi (and Rabbi Reuven Taff). Congrats to Casspi on an amazing inaugural season. Also, we thought it'd be nice to have a Casspi video on Yom Ha'atzmaut. Happy Israel Independence Day!!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

TGR Gettin' Some Coverage

Recently I wrote a piece about Jewish golfers (or lack there of). Click HERE to check it out. I also posted the article on my Jewish Journal blog.

Fellow blogger Brad Greenberg got a hold of it and had THIS to say.

Then Ron Kaplan got a hold of that and wrote THIS.

Ah...the blogging world at its best.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

For The Baseball Card Lover In You


Newton, MA – April 8, 2010 – The 2010 edition of Jewish Major Leaguer baseball cards salutes what was probably the greatest decade in the game’s history for Jewish players, with players like Shawn Green, Kevin Youkilis, Jason Marquis, Ian Kinsler, Ryan Braun and Scott Feldman rising to all-star status, and more filling rosters than in any previous decade in baseball annals.

            Twenty-nine Jewish players appeared during the decade, with 14 in one season, the most ever.  Youkilis was named Player of the Decade in a poll conducted by JewishMajorLeaguers.org, which produces the annual set, and which has announced that this, the sixth edition, will be the last.

            “We remained true to our word to the purchasers of the original set in 2005, that they were buying the complete set with all players in history,” said Martin Abramowitz, whose vision of educating fans about “American Jews in America’s Game,” led to its creation.  The response was wonderful – a sold out product, and a national dialogue on the subject, leading to two Cooperstown seminars.  We’d like to think we may have helped in popularizing the subject, which has led to at least two films, and several books, with more on the way.  The update sets were a response to fan demand, as well as to the continuing influx of Jewish players onto big league rosters.  But we feel we’ve met our mission at least in terms of a card product with the updates, and this one will be a grand finale to the project.”

            The 50-card set includes the 29 players, career leader cards, a decade-leader stat card, a card honoring Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, the president of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Jeff Idelson, and a card honoring the leader of the Major League Baseball Players Association (Michael Weiner) along with two of his predecessors (Marvin Miller and Donald Fehr). 

            Among the 29 players of the 2000’s are some who came and went quickly –– but who will live on as among the all-time Jewish players.  The total through 2009 is an easy-to-remember (for baseball fans), 162, equal to the numbers of games in a season.

            The 2010 edition calls attention to some remarkable feats in the decade – Green’s 19 total bases in one game, Kinsler’s 6-for-6 “cycle” game, Youkilis’s consecutive game and chances fielding records at first base, Marquis becoming the first Jewish pitcher since Sandy Koufax to have six consecutive double-digit victory seasons, and Green setting a games played record for Jewish players – one which Brad Ausmus figures to pass in 2010 with two appearances.  (Ausmus is again on the roster of the Los Angeles Dodgers).

            “While we do not plan on another card set at this time,” said Abramowitz, “the organization will continue.  We will maintain the website to maintain the flow of educational news.  We’ve been so gratified by the public response, by being able to give about 40 players their first and only baseball card, {in the original set}, and by getting Jewish contributions to the game into standard baseball dialogue.”

            Funding for this 2010 set was made possible in part through the generosity of the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball, the Florida Marlins, the New York Mets, the Chicago White Sox, the Tampa Bay Rays and the Washington Nationals.

            Orders are now being filled via JML’s web site at www.jewishmajorleaguers.org. or by $39 checks to JML at 104 Greenlawn Avenue Newton, MA 02459. There are also a limited number of 2008 and 2009 sets available. (The 2008 set featured a subset honoring Hank Greenberg, and the 2009 set saluted Jewish record-setters.).

Friday, April 16, 2010

Quick Pre-Shabbos Wrap up

Quick pre-shabbos wrap up.

New poll posted. Vote away.

Interviewed Ron Blomberg this week. Great guy. Interview should be posted as an All Star special.

Thanks to Brimstone for the interview.

I will be promoting my interview with the legendary Dolph Schayes, so tell your friends.

Shabbat Shalom.
-Jeremy Fine

NBA Regular Season Comes to an End

The NBA regular season has come to and end. My Bullies barely grabbed the dreaded 8th spot. Lucky them having to face King James in the opening round. DRose is great but not a miracle worker.

But let us get down to what matters. The Jewish NBA. Clearly, this year's biggest story centers around the arrival Omri Casspi. The Israeli sensation took the league by storm. He finished the season averaging 10.3 points , 4.5 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game. A pretty solid first year. Plus if you add in his Rookie All Star Game appearance and competing the All Star weekend's H-O-R-S-E game, it was a big success. There might even be some end of the year hardware for Casspi.

But Casspi did fade off towards the end. Maybe it was the rigorous schedule or the league figuring out how to defend him, around game 50 he began tailing off.

In the Kings final game of the season they lost to Jordan Farmar's LA Lakers. Farmar only played 6 minutes...why? Because he strained his hamstring. He still managed to tie Casspi in points for the evening with 4. Farmar's injury really hurts the Lakers bench. Farmar has come on strong as of late. He finished the season 7.2 ppg, 1.6 rpg, and 1.5 apg. While Casspi had the better numbers, Farmar's Lakers are playoff bound.

The NBA only sports two Jewish players. Hopefully next year Casspi and Farmar will be joined by Jon Scheyer and Sylven Landesberg.

Therefore we decided to make the NBA end of the year award a NBA Sportsman award instead of Player of the Year award. Joining Casspi and Farmar are Charlotte Bobcats' Head Coach Larry Brown and Dallas Mavericks' owner Mark Cuban.
 Larry Brown lead the Bobcats to its first ever playoff appearance. They finished 7th in the Eastern Conference. The thing about the Bobcats is that they do not have a star player. Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace do most of the scoring, but they do not have a true superstar. Brown deserves much of the credit. The team finished 44-38 which is 9 more wins than the season before.

Mark Cuban is arguably the most fun guy in the NBA. His Mavericks always try and make things interesting. They finished 2nd in the Western Conference with a 55-27 record. But most importantly Cuban brought in Caron Butler mid-season which gives the team a serious chance at a title. Butler, alongside Shawn Marion who was brought in before this season make the Mavericks a contender. Cuban never stops trying.

So there are your four finalist for TGR's NBA Sportsman of the Year. The poll will be open for a few weeks (I figure since the NBA playoffs never end, why should the poll). Please vote for the best or your favorite. And good luck to Farmar, Brown, and Cuban in the playoffs.

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

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Scheyer on SI Cover


Ausmus Lands on DL

Dodgers catcher Brad Ausmus will be out around 3 months due to back surgery. For more click HERE.

Video of the Week: Binnie Klein

Back in February TGR ran a story about Binnie Klein. Binnie sent us this video. Check it out below. If you haven't read her story click HERE.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Interview: Guardian of Hell's Gates - Wrestler Brimstone


TGR is, as you all know by now, big on wrestling. We have showcased Colt Cabana several times. Recently, I got a tip about another Jewish wrestler named Brimstone. Brimstone, like Colt, is an independent wrestler. In the old days all wrestlers started small, honed their craft, and then tried to make it to the WWE or NWA. Brimstone seems like that kind of guy. Old school in nature. He leaves it all in the ring. Personally, I would love to see Colt and Brim mix it up in the ring for the Jewish Heavyweight Title...hmmm...there's an idea.
INTERVIEW:
1) How did you get started in the business?
I had the opportunity to meet with a few icons in the industry at a small convention while I was working for the Village Voice’s sister publication, the LI Voice.  I’ll never forget meeting the Iron Sheik for the first time and him telling me, “you look like a wrestler, you should be a wrestler!” in that special ‘Sheik like’ way.  Following our intriguing conversation, Bret Hart approached me and offered his advice on getting into the business.  I took it as some type of omen that these two athletes of such high caliber would have any interest in talking to me in general, not to mention offering positive advice.  I found out soon after that there was a new professional wrestling school opening up in Queens, New York called The Doghouse.  To make a longer story as short as possible… I began training in 1996 under the tutelage of Homicide, Low-Ki (Senshi in TNA or Kaval in WWE), Laithon and the Original Gino Caruso (Super Calo in WCW).  The rest is history.  Eventually, I branched out and opened my own school Critical Mass Professional Wrestling and federation, the New York Wrestling Connection.
2) Where are you currently wrestling and have you ever held any championships? 
Up until last year I was a mainstay at Pro Wrestling Revolution which was run by one of my former students, “Johnny Ova.”  It was a great promotion while it was open with a lot of homegrown talent to watch for.  Funny thing was it was run out of a church and I’m as Jewish as Jewish gets!  I did my time and paid my dues traveling in and out of the country, I am currently spending my time on marketing everything Brimstone.  I’m not a one trick pony; I have a comic book based on my character, a Brimstone video game in the works for Xbox LIVE, multiple film roles, television projects, my autobiography and the BrimWEAR clothing line.  Things are a bit too busy to be wrestling as much these days.  Add in family time, appearances and the vast charities I work with and I barely have enough time to think!  I love the business and everything it’s given back to me, but I also don’t want to be that guy in his sixties still bumping around the ring!  After thirteen years I figured it was a good time to start focusing on the continued branding of the name outside of the squared circle.  I did hold numerous championships while touring including the NYWC, NWA and Wrestling World Wide Heavyweight Championship as well as the NYWC, LIWF and PWR Tag Team Championship.  I’ve held others as well; however these are the ones I was proudest to achieve.
3) Who was your favorite opponent of all-time and your favorite match?
My favorite match of all time was when I teamed up with John “Earthquake” Tenta as an honorary “Natural Disaster” against the Bushwhackers.  It was an honor and a privilege to be asked by John to be his partner.  Luke actually ribbed me in the locker room before the event (which can be read about in my upcoming autobiography).  A couple of years ago, Luke and I were reunited at an independent event and he filled me in about how the rib came about… Tenta set me up!  Rest in Peace John, we miss you!!!
4) What are your future wrestling goals?
As I mentioned earlier, I am currently focusing more on mainstream appeal.  I will always be a part of the business and the business will always be a part of me!  I have a few things that I am working on involving wrestling with my friend and fellow Jew in wrestling, Missy Hyatt.  Aside from this project, who knows what the future will hold.
5) Which other Jewish wrestler would you most like to face and why? (Raven, Colt Cabana, Goldberg, or Randy Savage).
Barry Horowitz hands down!  Do you realize that Barry is one of the most under-rated and technically sound workers in the history of professional wrestling?  If I had to choose from your list though, I’d say Goldberg… for the simple fact that I’d like to see once and for all whose spear is more devastating!  
 
6) What was your Jewish upbringing like? Do you do anything Jewish today? What is your connection to Judaism?
It’s very interesting… every time someone hears that I am Jewish, the normal response is, “Get out of here! You don’t LOOK Jewish!”  The truth of it all is that I’ve had a very close relationship with my religion throughout my life.  I began attending the Suburban Temple in Wantagh, New York at an early age for my religious studies and I continued there until my Bar Mitzvah on September 5, 1987.  I also stuck with the Suburban Temple Youth Group (SUYO) well after becoming Bar Mitzvah.  My summers consisted of being shipped to all Jewish camps such as H.A.N.C. (Hebrew Academy of Nassau County) and Camp Eisner in Massachusetts.  I’m not going to lie, I hated it at the time; but in retrospect it has made me a better person.  I learned a lot and had experiences that I may not have had otherwise.  I grew up in Uniondale, New York which is a predominantly black and Hispanic area; so it was a real challenge being the only Jew in the school, this included the teachers.  I became the official educator of basic Jewish studies whenever the holidays came around!  After I graduated elementary school, my mother signed me up for the Liberal Jewish Day School / American Jewish Academy as opposed to the local junior high school (middle school for you young folk) in which I attended until my last two years of high school back in Uniondale.  I may not look like your stereotypical Jew… but I’m certainly more “Jewish” than most!  Truth is, I am proud of my heritage and who I am.  I continue to try and give back to not only the community, but the Jewish community by making special appearances in Hebrew schools and Temples to talk to the kids about being all they can be.  I’m glad that I can show a younger generation that Jews can be strong athletes and be a dominant force to be reckoned with (especially in a sport not known to contain many Jews)!  My family and I try to attend Synagogue on all the religious holidays when my scheduling permits.  I was actually nominated for the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame twice but have not been inducted.  It was nice to be thought of; I actually received some really nice recommendations… I guess pro-wrestling still isn’t considered a “real sport.”
7) Did you always want to be a wrestler? Who inspired you?
Actually, I have always loved wrestling… but my first love was music.  I was a drummer for a very long time and enjoyed success performing in bands for years before wrestling.  I was inspired to want to wrestle by The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels and Ultimate Warrior, each for specific reasons.  Although, I was also inspired by the people who paved the path for me to pursue a career outside of the ring!  If it were not for talent like Captain Lou Albano (like another father to me), Hulk Hogan, Mick Foley, The Rock… there would not be guys like me!  These are the people who blazed the way to prove that wrestlers can be more than just meatheads and can be successful in all of entertainment.  I’m a business minded and goal oriented person, so to see what these guys have accomplished and to emulate that… that is truly inspiring to me.
8) What would your dream match look like?
Any match where both parties can display their strengths and tell a story in the ring. 
9) Best wrestling Diva of All-Time? (Trish Stratus, Stacey Kiebler, Kelly Kelly, Gail Kim, Tammy Sytch)
Well I love Trish and Tammy… but I would have to side with closer friends of mine and make it a three way tie for Diva between Torrie Wilson, Missy Hyatt and Dawn Marie.  Trish however is the best worker of the bunch, there is a huge difference. 
10) Do you watch WWE and if so what do you think about WWE NXT?
I have not ‘watched’ wrestling in years except when I heard Bret was doing a stint back on WWE.  Every so often I’ll tune in to see friends, but for the most part I am not crazy about the direction they have taken.  Truth is, wrestling back in the day was something that families could watch together… Grandparents to little kids!  Nowadays, it has gotten to a point where it is extremely raunchy.  I won’t even let my kids watch the product and they know a lot of the guys personally.  TNA has been taking that stance as well which upsets me.   Only thing I know about NXT is that it is similar to the Tough Enough project, but utilizing the boys who actually deserve the opportunity.  

Big Thanks to Brimstone for hanging out with TGR. For more on Brimstone check out Entrancetohell.com or www.thebrimstoneroast.com.
And Let Us Say...Amen.
-Jeremy Fine
Photos by: Heidi Kikel and Fernando Cuestas

Sunday, April 11, 2010

No Jewish Masters

Yes The Great Rabbino prefers baseball, basketball, football, and wrestling...but I also really like the Masters. I am not the biggest golfing fan but ever since my I met my wife and realized my father-in-law's passion for the game, I have gotten more involved. But...its hard for TGR to write about it. 

We have a handful of baseball and football players. The popularity of basketball and hockey are growing. We even have Jewish skaters and wrestlers. But for some reason golf is just one sport we can't really make it in.

It is one thing to not have any good players, but we barely have any players. None in the masters. None ranked.

We do have a few players who were born Jewish or have a Jewish parent. Corey Pavin was born Jewish but has publicly converted to Christianity and preaches Christ. Jim Oppenheim has a Jewish father but doesn't consider himself Jewish at all. Jonathon Kaye is Jewish but isn't really a factor in the golfing world. Also, Skip Kendall is supposedly Jewish, but I have no confirmation on that. So the PGA tour seems to be without a real J-E-W.

What do we have going for us in the Jewish golfing world?
The LPGA does have Morgan Pressel, who is actually pretty good. You can check out her website HERE.

Tony Kornheiser is Jewish but not a golfer. However, he holds a charity golf tournament every year. Click HERE to learn more about it.

Lastly, we have Tom Watson. No, Watson is not Jewish. But he married a Jewish woman. And while I am not saying intermarriage is a good thing for the Jews, Watson has stood up against anti-semitism. One of the first articles TGR ever posted was about Waston's stand. If you haven't been with us since day one, check it out HERE.

If you love golf and the Masters and you are having trouble finding someone Jewish to root for, I say root for Watson. A friend of the Jews and it would make for an amazing story for the 60 year old. He has fallen a little back since day one and as of now is -2 (10 off the leader), but we can root for a good finish for Watson.

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

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Lebron James is Not Jewish.

HERE is an article in the Jewish Forward about Lebron James' Jewish connection.

Friday, April 9, 2010

First Shabbos of the Baseball Season

Hope everyone had a nice Pesach. I am still in Jerusalem and I have to say Passover is awesome out here. Saw some cool things and ate at normal restaurants. I advise getting here for Passover sometime. Just amazing.

On to sports.

Oy! Chicago has two of my articles up, so check it out.

Also, as I mentioned earlier in the week the Jewish Bracket won the tournament this year. So next year go with a proven winner. Congrats to Jon Scheyer on Duke's win. We are going to try to get a hold of Scheyer for an interview.

We announce our TGR NCAA Basketball All Americans. A fan wrote in and asked about Zack Rosen of Penn. Rosen had a great season averaging 17.7 ppg. Maybe could have been a honorable mention. My reasoning behind him not making the cut was Penn's poor play and also I needed to make a cut at some point. But if it makes readers feel better just add Rosen to the honorable mention list.

Baseball has been awesome so far (except the Sox dropping 2 of 3 to the Tribe). I encourage people to check out www.jewsinbaseball.blogspot.com. Its a great Jewish resource. The writer, Josh, and I email often about stories. Sometime he features TGR.

POLL:
The first ever Poll tie here at TGR and its a 3 way. Youkilis, Pearl, and Olshansky tied in the question "Which Athlete Would Eat More At Your Seder?" with 8 votes each. Colt didn't receive any votes and Geoff Schwartz got 4.


TGR NEWS:
We were in touch with Ron Blomberg this week, we hope to have an interview soon.

Wrestler Brimstone will also be featured on TGR soon.


Thanks to Jackson Salasky, also known as the YoYo master, for helpin out TGR this week.


Have a good Shabbos.
And Let Us Say...Amen.
-Jeremy Fine

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Fans MVP

At first I was very upset about the news that fans would be deciding the NBA MVP. I was so ticked off for two reasons. One, the All Star game voting is already a joke. When Iverson and McGrady make All Star teams after playing 3 games in a season (not too mention both 5 years past their prime), every fan who voted for them should be removed from basketball stadiums everywhere. Secondly, it would allow for the same winner or decision every year. Kobe or Lebron? Lebron or Kobe? Boring. In fact if I had a vote I would vote for Kevin Durant. How horrible would Oklahoma City be without him? I mean they would be like New Jersey Nets bad.

But thank God David Stern was not that stupid to allow the fans be the primary voters. Fans equate to a total of ONE of the 124 votes for MVP. Which basically means they want more fan interaction but recognize how stupid NBA fans really are. So now Lebron James will get one extra vote as fans will of course pick King James to repeat as MVP (okay...maybe Kobe will get the fan vote).
But I want to propose something on this site. Why not, since Commissioner Stern is allowing us to, vote for Omri Casspi. Sure he is not this year's MVP. He is not even this year's Rookie of the Year, but he has had a huge impact on the game globally (at least in Israel). He made the Rookie All Star team and competed in the H-O-R-S-E tournament. He is a great person for the game. And lets face it he deserves the MVP award more than Iverson is an All Star.

So Jews unite and lets get one strong MVP vote for Casspi.
And Let Us Say...Amen.
-Jeremy Fine

Tani Mintz on Oy! Chicago

The TGR Tani Mintz interview is featured today on Oy! Chicago. Click HERE.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Jewish Bracket Wins!!!

The Jewish Bracket that I came up with finished #1 in my tournament. It also beat all the CBSSportsline experts and President Obama.

Next year, Go with God's choices, not your own!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

TGR All Americans

Charlie Villanueva. Shaun Livingston. Julian Wright. All have gone to the NBA. All have had mediocre careers. And all have screwed over the Fighting Illini. They would get to their podium to announce their college decision and then leave you me in the cold. And now I hate them all fairly and equally.

But when Jon Scheyer snubbed Illinois and it hurt so much more. First off, Scheyer has a Jewish father. Also, he grew up not far from me. He was the talk of the town as a freshman in high school. Do you know how much nachas I would have gotten from rooting for this kid? Secondly, Scheyer played for the Illini’s coach, Bruce Weber’s brother in high school. So when he decided to pass on Weber’s offer and go with Mike Krzyzewski and the Duke Blue Devil it was total shock and devastation for Jewish Chicagoans everywhere.

Naturally, we assumed Scheyer made the wrong decision. How would he fit in the fast pace ACC? Being a good Jewish boy from Chicago, wouldn’t he miss a good homemade Matzo Ball soup? But Scheyer proved us all wrong. Every year is numbers and playing time has increased. Because the yid can flat out score the basketball. In this his senior campaign Scheyer averaged 18.6 points a game, grabbed 3.6 rebounds, and dished out 5 assists. All of this while leading his Blue Devils to a number one seed in the NCAA tournament. Compare him to NBA All Star Deron Williams (former Illini God) who also led his team to a number one seed. Williams averaged 10.1ppg, 6.8apg, and 3.6rpg, so Scheyer faired pretty well against the NBA’s best.

Scheyer’s future looks bright. He should get drafted into the NBA this off-season joining Jordan Farmar and Omri Casspi as the only Jews in the league. He should fit in like a Mike Miller or J.J. Reddick type player. Bombing away from 3-point land and serving as a solid backup to the much quicker NBA guards.

While it pains me to say this, and I mean like seeing Zack Morris in anything else besides Saved By The Bell type pain, Jon Scheyer is the best Jewish college basketball player in the country. He might even be in the top five best players in the country, period.

Below is this year’s Jewish All American NCAA basketball team. Keep an eye on Sylven Landesberg who might follow Scheyer’s NBA career path. (Also, we hope to bring you more on Scheyer and the end of the year awards).

Jewish NCAA Basketball All Americans
1) Jon Scheyer – G – Duke Blue Devils – 18.6ppg, 5apg, 3.6rpg
2) Sylven Landesberg – G – Virginia Cavaliers – 16.6ppg, 2.8apg, 6rpg
3) Jake Cohen – F – Davidson Wildcats – 13.3ppg, 5.1rpg
4) Dane Diliegro – C – New Hampshire Wildcats – 8.9ppg, 8.1rpg
5) Derek Glasser – G – Arizona State – 10.1ppg, 4.8apg, 2.5rpg

Jewish NCAA Basketball Honorable Mentions
1) Jon Jaques – G – Cornell Bears
2) Brett Harvey – G – Loyola Maryland
3) Jared Mintz – F – Lafayette Leopards

And keep an eye on Scheyer and Landesberg in this year’s NBA draft.
And Let Us Say…Amen.
- Jeremy Fine

Monday, April 5, 2010

Video of the Week - Draft Before You Eat Your Matzah

Here is a funny video sent to me by Jay Firestone of the Jewish Journal. It combines Pesach and Baseball to make for out video of the week.


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Opening Day Starters

Opening Day is upon us. Yes, even the Pittsburgh Pirates are on top of their division today. As usual my White Sox start the season in the hunt for a division title. And this year the Sox have Jake Peavy and Mark Buehrle, basically two starters worthy of starting opening day.

I noticed this year (thanks to www. Jewsinbaseball.blogspot.com) that Scott Feldman will be the Texas Rangers opening day pitcher. Which means this year there will be two Jewish opening day starters, the other being Jason Marquis for the Washington Nationals. That is really a huge moment for Jewish Baseball fans. It definitely adds to the idea that this is an exciting era for Jewish Baseball. That Sandy Koufax and Hank Greenberg legacies will continue. And we see that with the All Star caliber in players like Ryan Braun, Kevin Youkilis, and Ian Kinsler (unfortunately, Kinsler will begin the season on the DL).

With Feldman and Marquis atop their teams depth chart, we wanted to see which other MLB Jewish pitchers have started for their team's opening game. Surprisingly, these two are the first since Steve Stone in 1981 for the Orioles to open the season for a team(Stone also opened for the White Sox in 1978). Below are some other opening day starters.

Dave Roberts - Tigers - 1977 and Astros - 1973-74
Ken Holtzman - A's - 1972
Joe Horlen - White Sox -1968
Saul Rogovin - White Sox - 1953

You know I love White Sox Jewish pride.

So now you are all wondering about Sandy Koufax. I remind you that Koufax pitched with some other great pitchers including Don Drysdale.

Crazy enough, Koufax only started one opening day for the Dodgers in 1964.

As you can see this really is an honor and a day to be proud of our Jewish ball players. Hopefully, in the future others will join them, maybe Aaron Poreda will be an ace soon enough.

Enjoy the season. Lets Go Go White Sox.
And Let Us Say...Amen.
-Jeremy Fine

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Feldman Signs 3-Year Deal

Scott Feldman signed a 3-year deal. Click HERE for more. Also, TGR will have more on Feldman this week.

Friday, April 2, 2010

A Passover Shabbat

Hey Everyone,
Fun week here at TGR. We are starting to transition out of the NCAA tournament and into BASEBALL SEASON!!! I am super excited about my White Sox. We hope to have some baseball stuff for you soon.

Thank you to Tani Mintz and Ari Lucas for their interviews this week. Both made TGR's blog and the Jewish Journal.

I thought the Reggie White video was super interesting. I remember seeing it live many years ago. Thanks to TGR fan Howie Labow for sending it in.

Good luck to Jon Scheyer in the Final Four. All the sudden I am huge Duke fan. Not only do I come in first and second in my pool if the Dukies pull it off, but then if we get an interview with Scheyer its that much sweeter.

TGR POLL:
Our Pesach poll is still up. Keep voting.

TGR NEWS:
Thanks once again to the Chicago Jewish news for their piece of TGR. It was really nice of them. We might be trying to do some work with them in the future.

Otherwise it is kind of quiet here. Working on securing some interviews and getting excited about Taylor Mays and his draft prospects. Click HERE for a CBSSportsline article that talks a little about Mays.

We are still looking for a catch phrase. So let us know if you got any ideas.

Shabbat Shalom
Chag Sameach
And Let Us Say...Amen.
-Jeremy Fine

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Ari Lucas - The Brown Bear

Ever wonder who is behind your team's mascot suit? Well, I hate to break this to you but if you went to Brown it might not have been a drunken sports fan or a flexible male dancer...rather it could be your future rabbi. Recently, I caught up with fellow JTS Rabbinical Student Ari Lucas, who by the way comes from a great line of Lucas Rabbis, and instead of talking God we talked sport mascoting(?). Ari was nice enough to share his story. Take it from me he is a great guy and gonna be an even better rabbi but undoubtedly his best quality is being a Bear.



Ari With One of His Fans 
INTERVIEW
Hey Ari...


1) Ready to be famous?
Yes.
2) How did you get your position as the Brown Bear?
I was at a basketball game my freshman year and was underwhelmed with the performance of Bruno the Bear. I grew up a Phillies fan and the Philly Phanatic had a huge influence on me (see the attached picture from a bump-in I had with the Phanatic while on Spring Break in Washington DC - he was recording some clips for the Washington Nationals' first visit to Citizens' Bank Park.) 
I inquired with the athletic department, came to my interview with three pages of brainstorm ideas and was hired on the spot. 
3) Did you ever fight with other mascots?
Only once. The bear before me was arrested at a Yale football game for instigating a fight, so I was instructed to keep a low profile, but one time I couldn't hold back. I had to represent Brown pride. It was a home basketball game against Penn - the winner would win the Ivy League and clinch a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Brown had given out rally towels to the fans and the Penn Quaker got his hands on one. (I don't know that it was a "he," but the Quaker costume is a man, so I'll refer to him as a "he") He started tearing the towel, so I went up to him and grabbed it out of his hands. The crowd cheered. Then he pushed me, so I pushed him back. Then he hit me, so I hit him back. His head was made of plastic and it hurt my hand. The refs quickly broke up the fight and warned us that they would throw us out if we kept it up.
4) What was your most memorable game and moment?
Skating on the ice at a Men's Hockey game. My older sister, Dina, came to cheer me on. It's not easy to skate in the suit. I stood in the goal between periods while some local kids tried to score score goals on me. It was a lot of fun. 
5) Was it hot under that Bear suit?
You have no idea. They switched suits my senior year. I preferred the old model because you looked out of the eyes instead of the mouth, but the one advantage of the new model was that it had a fan that would blow air out the top of the head. I used to bring a camelback with me in the suit so I wouldn't dehydrate. There were a couple freezing football and soccer games when I was happy to have a layer of fur, but for the most part it was sweaty.
6) What did you do on games that conflicting with Jewish holidays?
I was one of 3 bears, so we used to coordinate so that I wouldn't work on holidays. But sometimes, I would do a basketball or football game on Shabbat. I could walk to the stadium and I wouldn't log the hours I worked on Shabbat, so that I wouldn't be paid for those games.
7) What are you doing these days?
Learning for the year in Jerusalem as part of my rabbinical studies at JTS. 
8) If you could suit up as any mascot which would it be? Who would your team play against?
I love the Bruno suit and wouldn't betray him. I will say that I've always admired the St. Joseph's Hawk. He flaps his wings from beginning to end of every basketball game (that's hard work) and I'm told he gets a full tuition scholarship. 
I know this is mixing and matching sports, but I would like to play the Milwaukee Brewers. I always thought their mascott was lame.

Thank you to Ari Lucas. May his Torah be as good as his school pride.
And Let Us Say...Amen.
-Jeremy Fine