Tuesday, August 31, 2010

2010 NFL Preview

The Jewish NFL preview is nowhere as big or interesting as an NCAA Basketball or Major League Baseball season. There are however a few stories lines that people keep an eye on. Below is a preview into the Jewish NFL 2010 Season (players only).

10) Adam Goldberg - Goldberg will have a new quarterback under center. His job, protect Bradford at all cost.

9) Antonio Garay - Garay has bounced around the league. Got some decent playing time towards the end of last year. It will be interesting to see if Garay gets to play for real with the Chargers.

8) Kyle Kosier - The 'Boys are predicted (as usual) to be very good. If they are going anywhere Kosier and the offensive line needs to protect Tony Romo.
7) Sage Rosenfels - Now that Favre is back, Rosenfels goes from possible starter to third string (or even worse looking for a job). He has never really gotten a chance. Poor Rosenfels, we still love you.

6) Adam Podlesh - He is Jewish and gives us a reason to root for a punter. Seriously, the Jags will probably be punting a lot, so if Podlesh plays well he could get some recognition.

5) Geoff Schwartz - Schwartz will start and like Goldberg will most likely be protecting a rookie. He will play a big role on that line, but like most offensive linemen would get too much notice.

4) David Binn - The only Jewish player in the league with Pro Bowl credentials. It is too hard to say that a long snapper will make the Pro Bowl again, but we will keep our fingers crossed. Having a kicker like Nate Kaeding as your kicker puts you in position to make it happen.

3) Igor Olshansky - With Keith Brooking out to start the season Olshanky's numbers will need to improve. He is fun to watch and expect another solid season from the Big Man.

2) Julian Edelman - Edelman came out of nowhere last year to have a solid season for the Pats. Expect him only to get better. Tom Brady wants it more than ever and should let the ball fly, especially with no real threat in the backfield. He might be third on the depth chart but with Welker and Moss in the game, he will see weak coverage and should exploit it. He is my early pick for Jewish Player of the Year.

1) Taylor Mays - Anyone who reads this blog knows I have been waiting for Mays to get to the NFL for a while. I am extremely excited to see what this talented young Tribesman can do (so is Mike Singletary).  Mays may or may not start the season but I believe he will have a major impact. With Singletary teaching a hard hitter like Mays he might try to relive his '85 Bears days vicariously through him.

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

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Top 10 Current Most Jewish Franchises in Sports

Recently we took a look at the top 10 most important Jews in sports. Today we look at the most important current Jewish franchises in sports. What constitutes as a Jewish franchise? Really anything from a Jewish owner, history, players, announcers, food, or anything else that the team is associated with. Here is your list beginning with the Honorable Mentions: Chicago White Sox, New York Knicks, Washington Redskins, Montreal Canadiens, and New York Mets.

Top 10

10) Miami Heat - The Heat are listed at #10 because of owner Mickey Arison. He made a big splash this off-season by signing Wade, Bosh, and that James fellow. James then started to see a rabbi. Coincidence...I think so.
9) Dallas Cowboys - The Cowboys currently employee two NFL's Jewish players in Igor Olshanky and Kyle Kosier. Olshansky is well recognized and so to should the 'Boys be.

8)  Texas Rangers - While there are back and forth rumors about Scott Feldman, all credible sources say he is in fact Jewish. Add him with All Star Ian Kinsler, the Rangers could actually have been a little higher up on the list.

7) San Diego Chargers - The Chargers are the last NFL team to have an Pro Bowler in David Binn. I am a big believer in accomplishments. Having so few Jewish NFLers it is nice knowing one made it to a pro bowl. They also have Antonio Garay in the mix.

6) New England Patriots - Julian Edelman's emergence helped the Patriots gain Jewish recognition. But it is owner Robert Kraft that surges the Pats to #6. Kraft is a big giver to the Jewish and Israeli communities. That takes the Pats to #6.

5)  Boston Red Sox - In 2006 the Red Sox had 4 players on their roster in Kevin Youkilis, Craig Breslow, Adam Stern, and Gabe Kapler. Breslow, Stern, and Kapler are all gone but Youkilis remains. Arguably the most recognizable Jewish baseball player in the last 20 years. Youkilis was briefly joined by Scott Schoeneweisthis season. I didn't even mention GM Theo Epstein.

4) New Jersey Nets - As recently as last year the Nets had a Jewish owner and coach. That puts them in the running right off the bat. They got rid of Frank but added Jordan Farmar, giving the Jewish fans what they want. A Jewish NBA player in NY/NJ area.

3) New York Yankees - I am sure Yankee fans will disagree with me here but the Yankees only make it to number #3 on this year's list. I will give them Ron Blomberg, but they haven't had a really recognizable player in a while. They definitely have the most Jewish fans and tons of kosher food, so they make the list. It was actually Yuri Foreman's Yankee Stadium fight that got them this high.

2) Sacramento Kings - The Kings would never have been on this list before Omri Casspi. But Casspi made the Kings synonymous with Israel. Jewish fans flock to Kings games in Sacramento and all over the country (and Canada). He has sparked Jewish Heritage nights galore. Also, Israel flags are a staple at games. Throw in the fact that they had Slyven Landesberg tryout and play on their rookie summer team, makes the Kings #2 on this list. 
1) Los Angeles Dodgers - Yes, I know that Sandy Koufax retired a long time ago. But when anyone who has any idea that there are Jews in sports knows that Koufax was a Dodger and probably the greatest pitcher of all time. Maybe one day the Yankees, Kings, or some other team will replace the image of Koufax postponing a World Series start for Yom Kippur, but for know they continue to reign supreme. Shawn Green carried on that legacy in 2001.

 And Let Us Say...Amen.
-Jeremy Fine

Friday, August 27, 2010

And We're Back

Sorry I have been away and without internet for a while. Should be back soon. In the meantime check us out on Twitter or the links on the side of the blog.

Shabbat Shalom. And thanks a million to Ron Blomberg for the interview.

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

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Interview: The Designated Hebrew - Ron Blomberg

A while back I met up with Former Yankee (and White Sox) Ron Blomberg. Blomberg, besides being one hell of a good guy, was the first designated hitter ever. He batted .293 for his career, which was shortened due to injuries. But before he got banged up he was a tremendous athlete. He was recruited for baseball, basketball, and football. Blomberg is proud of his career, but one thing that stood out during our interview was that he is also proud of his Jewish heritage. Below is the interview.

1) What was it like being the first designated hitter of all time?
Wow, it was 38 years ago. It means a lot. It allows another baseball player, who is in his later years in the game and to come back. Like Jim Thome. I love it and it is great for the game of baseball. Same with the pinch hitter. To play a position forever and then come into DH, was a nice opportunity. Personally, I was the designated hitter and designated Hebrew. And being a Jew no one could ever take that away from him or us.

2) You have a book called "The Designated Hebrew." How is that going? 
Right now we trying to get to go paperback. It has sold44,000 copies. I get to speak all over.

3) What was your personal career highlight? Is there anything else you would have liked to have accomplished?
Unfortunately I was injured a lot. I did not fulfill my potential. Back in my day, the medical attention isn’t where it is today. Playing for Yankees was the highlight. Pinstripe. Huge accomplishment. Greatest fans. And bringing religion in as a professional player.

4) What was it like coaching in the Israel Baseball League?
Great coaching in Israel. I was in Tel Aviv. We stayed in the Dan Panorama and no one knew what baseball was. They brought us out to Kibbutz Gezer. It was the greatest experience of my life. To go there and represent what you love and be a Jew and do what you love. And look at where my heritage was from. Greatest experience of his life. Unfortunately, financially it didn’t succeed. People were wonderful, we were loved over there, with Ken Holztman and [Art] Shamsky and it was unbelieveable. People had open arms. In 1973 was asked to come, but couldn’t go. But this time around I was very impressed for its first year. Administration-wise it just did'nt get off the ground but great to give back to the Jews. Israel was fighting everyday, but to give back to the Israelis was great. Fans came to watch. The soldiers were cheering. It had a positive affect. 90% didn’t know so much about baseball, but we got in the paper every day.

5) You were highly recruited out of high school for both basketball and football. Why did you choose baseball?
I was drafted in 1967 number 1 by the Yankees. [John] Wooden offered me a scholarships. I received 125 basketball and 115 football scholarships. My alliegence was to the Yankees. To play there as a Jew was great. Now I have speaking engagements and work the Yankees. Being Jewish gives me opportunites. Like I have a sandwich named after me. But once you’re a Yankee you are always a Yankee. Once you play in New York or Chicago you don’t forget who you played for.

6) What did it mean to you to be inducted in the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame?
Chosen to be in the Hall of Fame with Koufax and Greenberg had a major affect on my life. This year I was voted into the Ted Wlliams Hall of Fame in Tampa. There is a Jewish room. What goes around come around. I am proud to be a Jew. Words don’t express my feelings.

7) Greenberg or Koufax?
Neither was better. Greenberg did his thing and Koufax did his thing. You can’t say Mays or Mantle. They were both great. Different ball players have different skills.

8) What is in store for you next?
I have my radio show. I am at Yankee Stadium all the time. I have speaking engagements. So I will be out there.

Thank you again to Ron Blomberg. Best of luck to you...and your White Sox.
And Let Us Say...Amen.
-Jeremy Fine

Friday, August 13, 2010

Last Shabbat Shalom from Chicago

Just wanted to wish everyone a Shabbar Shalom. Hope you enjoy the NBA offseason breakdown. I will be heading to NYC on Sunday (hitting up the Indians game on the way). Since I will be moving in, the posting might be slow. My apologies.

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

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Lebron, a Rabbi, and The Crazy Jewish NBA Offseason

Nothing in the Jewish sports world has been a bigger story as of late as Amare Stoudemire visiting Israel. First he wasn't Jewish, then he was, now he isn't again but wishing me a Boker Tov on my Twitter account. Its just plan crazy. Maybe the craziest thing I have ever heard, that was of course until Lebron James sought out a Rabbi.  According to Tablet Magazine James hired Rabbi Yishayahu Yosef Pinto for some spiritual guidance. Clearly, Lebron dealt with a lot this summer, but word is this Rabbi-to-the-stars is a "shady Kabbalist."

James' hiring of a rabbi is just the latest in what was a crazy offseason in the NBA. Let us recap:

11) David Kahn's Troubles Continue - Minnesota and Kahn can't seem to figure it out. They had 3 pgs on there team and unloaded fan favorite and best player Al Jefferson.

10) Omri Casspi in Israel - Casspi played for the Israeli National team.

9) Celtics hire Lawrence Frank - After his firing midseason by the NJ Nets, Frank gets an assist job with Doc Rivers.

8) Landesberg and Scheyer Left Out of Draft - After much speculation neither Scheyer and Landesberg get drafted but both sign with NBA summer league teams.

7) Landesberg Heads to Israel - After a decent summer Landesberg leaves the Kings to join Maccabi Haifa.

6) Scheyer Out - Scheyer had severe damage to his eye and there is no word on a return.

5) Jordan Farmar Leaves LA - 2 Time NBA Champion leaves the sun in LA and joins the NJ Nets.

4) Mark Cuban Speaks Up - Cuban asked the NBA to investigate the Miami Heat's signing of the big 3.

3) Lebron James Needs Help - James hires a rabbi to help with spiritual issues.

2) Mickey Arison Inks the Big 3 - Heat owner convinced Dwayne Wade to stay and bring enforcers with him in Lebron James and Chris Bosh.

1) Amare Stoudemire in Israel - Stoudemire's journey to Israel and new faith in the Jewish religion is all the craze.

As you can see this has been a crazy offseason. Can't wait for the season to get started.

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

Monday, August 9, 2010

Follow Us On Twitter

The Great Rabbino is finally on Twitter. Get the latest Jewish Sports stories immediately!!!


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Interview: Jewish Former Blackhawk Steve Dubinsky

During all the Blackhawk craziness in Chicago we searched and searched for a Jewish connection. We found and wrote about Steve Dubinsky. Dubinsky is a former Jewish Blackhawk. But that was not enough. So we tracked him down and got an interview. Dubinsky is still around the game through his sons and youth hockey. He was a really nice guy to talk to and still a big Hawks fan. The interview is below:

1) Did you follow the Blackhawks throughout the season? If so, how did you celebrate? 
Yes. I was rooting for them. It was extremely exciting. I was a firm believer that they would win. I was happy for the city and the organization. But on a personal level it was not my place to celebrate.

2) What was the highlight of you playing career?
The highlight of my career was probably my first goal against Vancouver in 1994.

3) Who is the greatest player you ever played against?
Probably Gretzky. Maybe Lemieux.

4) Who is the greatest goalie you ever face?
Roy for sure.

5) Did you face any other Jewish hockey players during your time?
Yeah. Both Ronnie Stern and Mathieu Schneider.

6) What are you up to now?

I am in Edmonton for some youth hockey. There will also be a tournament in Vernon Hills, which will be great. I own a development company. Also,  I work with Glazier Ice Arena in Vernon Hills.

7) Do your kids play?
All three of my boys play. My middle son is actually playing for the Junior Blackhawks.

8) Which is better Chicago Stadium or the United Center? 
You just can't compare the old stadium.

9) Having lived in Chicago, what is your favorite Chicago pizza place?
For Sure, Lou Malnatis.

Dubinsky suggested we check out www.selecthockey.com.

Thank you again to Steve for answering our questions and taking the time out to speak with us.
Good luck in the future.
And Let Us Say...Amen.
-Jeremy Fine

Friday, August 6, 2010

2nd to Last Shabbat in Chicago

Its been a busy week here, mainly via twitter.

I know not everyone has twitter but you can follow ongoing news on the right hand side. Or with The Great Rabbino on twitter.

The POLL is still going on. Thank you to those who have voted so far.

The next few weeks will be very busy as I am moving back to NYC. So no big TGR news. We have been in touch with the creators of Holy Land Hardball and will be in touch with them soon.

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

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Kinsler's DL Stint

Ian Kinsler was sent to the DL last week, again. Both sides, Kinsler and theTexas Rangers, are not enjoying his status as he suffers from a left groin strain. This was the sixth time the Jewish player has been sent to the DL in his five years career. Should we start to worry? Is it possible Kinselr will be a player whose career was a failure due to injuries? 

Well although he has had a dislocated thumb, stress fracture in foot, sports hernia, hamstring strain, high ankle sprain, and now, a groin strain, Kinsler isn't worried. As he says: "I don't concern myself with that kind of label," Kinsler said. "How people view me, I can't control. I work hard to stay in shape and work hard in the weight room. When I'm on the field, I play as hard as I can, and I play to win. Hopefully, after this, I can stay on the field a little bit more often."

This year Rangers found themselves in a positive situation. They brought ace-pitcher Cliff Lee and offensive forces like Vladimir Guerrero and Josh Hamilton are on fire. The people in Arlington had to fill the hole at second base due to Kinsler's absent. In a trade close to the deadline they brought the veteran Christian Guzman from D.C. The Rangers still think Kinsler is their starting second baseman but they don't won't to take any chances due to Kinsler's past.
This year Kinsler numbers are .298 avg. 6 HR and 38 RBI while playing 76 of 107 games for the Rangers. These numbers are not bad especially since Kinsler can still get on base (.387 OBP). He is amongst few talented power players who can steal bases.
All we have to do is pray Kinsler will get healthy soon because Texas should be in the playoffs and we might found ourselves without any Jewish players in the playoffs.
- Yuval Klien
Note: So far Ian Kinsler (twice), Kevin Youkilis, John Grabow (twice), Brad Ausmus, and Jason Marquis have all spent significant time on the DL.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Salita To Fight

-The Redemption-
Ukrainian born fighter Dmitriy Salita announced today he would hold a press conference in NYC on Tuesday, August 3rd at 4 PM at 1120 6th Avenue, 7thFloor at the office of 5WPR to announce his next fight on September 1st at Oceana Hall in Brooklyn, 1029 Brighton Beach Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11235. The fight will be broadcast exclusively on The Jewish Channel.
After challenging for a world title, Dmitriy Salita is ready to put himself back in title contention.  “I look forward to putting on an impressive performance and getting back on top to fight the big names in boxing. " 
Dmitriy will be playing dual roles on September 1 as fighter and promoter.  "Oceana was the first venue that I fought in NY, I thought it would be great to come back to my neighborhood and do the first card as a promoter in my community.  I expect a great turn out"
The September 1st roster includes lots of local talent including 4x Golden Glove Champion and current undefeated boxer Will Rozinskiy (12-0). 
Salita held the NABA & WBA International Belts and was the WBA N1 ranked contender. He has an impressive 30–1–1 record, with 16 KOs.
“The period before the Jewish New Year is the ideal time for me to fight and win my next battle.  I am hungrier than I have ever been before and eager to fight and win,” said Dmitry Salita.
Salita will be available for interviews and photos on August 3rd at 4 PM.
The fight is promoted by Salita promotions in association with O'Shea Brothers.
Tickets are priced at $150 (Special VIP Ringside), $100 (Ringside) and $60 and are available at DSALITA.COM or Oceana Box Office.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Scoop on Amare

In the last video we posted it seems Amare is not actually, halahkically, Jewish. But...he seems to want to be a religious Jew. This is definitely the craziest story TGR has ever covered. We will continue to follow the situation. But for the time being, Amare's mother seems to NOT be Jewish.

Amare Siting

Sent in by TGR correspondent Rabbi Erez Sherman:

I am at the David Citadel.....was having shabbat breakfast.......and Amare Stoudemire was sitting at the table next to me!!!!
He was wearing a Jerusalem t-shirt, an embroidered kippah and after he got up to leave, he greeted us with "shabbat shalom!!!!!"

Also a picture at Yad Vashem. Check out his shirt.

And this video is SICK!

Jeremy Stenberg

X Games participant Jeremy Stenberg is NOT Jewish.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Top 10 Current Most Important Jews in Sports

A while back we posted the top 10 best Jews in sports. That will be an annual list, forever rotating. But today TGR takes a look at the most important Jews in sports. This includes more than just players. We searched owners, executives, players (current and retired), sports writers, commissioners, and anyone else related to the sports world. See what you think about the list below. Here are the Honorable Mentions: Gary Bettman, Larry Brown, Al Davis, Mike Cammalleri, Kevin Youkilies, Jeff Idelson, Chris Berman, Shahar Peer, and Ike Davis.


10) Sandy Koufax
So you be like, Koufax doesn't play anymore! Yes, I am aware of this. But Koufax is an will always be the most influential Jewish athlete. He is who every Jewish athlete aspires to be. I could not make this list without him.

9) Ryan Braun
If Koufax was then, Braun is now. While Youkilis might be better (the debate continues), Braun is the Hebrew Hammer. He has better PR and was voted in by the fans as an All Star, a team Youkilis didn't make.

8) Yuri Foreman
Foreman's rabbinical future and national exposure places him on this list. While he lost the big fight, he won the hearts of Jewish sports fans everywhere. Mike Cammalleri was heavily debated for this spot as well because of his dominance in the NHL playoffs.

7) Jerry Reinsdorf
Other owners were considered, but Reinsdorf owns two winning teams, the White Sox and Bulls. He also made a bid for the Coyotes. With 7 total championships (6 Bulls, 1 White Sox) it would impossible to leave him off this list.

6) Theo Epstein
Epstein is the name running one of the most powerful franchises in all of sports. That is enough right?

5) Mark Cuban
Cuban is the most vocal of anyone on this list. He has been desperately trying to buy a baseball team. He cares and lets you know. Cuban's Mavericks are always in contention. His passion, success, and recognition make him  #5.

4) David Stern
He could have been higher. As the commissioner of the NBA, Stern has made major decisions like the WNBA and forcing players to go to college for a year. Stern is influential, just not always in the the spotlight.

3) Omri Casspi
Casspi has made news. He has a huge following. And most importantly has put Israel on the map for a major sport. He has handle the success with class. 

2) Bud Selig
Selig runs baseball, which is the most important sport in America (at least for Jews). While he is in the spotlight mostly for the steroid scandal, Selig is the powerful Jew in sports.

1) Micky Arison 
A month ago Arison was not even on the list. So why is he number 1? Well when you as an owner convince Wade, Bosh, and that other guy to come and play for your basketball team, you become important. Very important. While I hate to say this, Arison will be racking up championships and that is just a fact.

Comment if you think I left someone out. Our shoot me an email at info@thegreatrabbino.com
And Let Us Say...Amen.
-Jeremy Fine