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