Monday, January 31, 2011

Top 10 Stories for the Upcoming Jewish MLB Season

There are many stories going into this year's MLB season. The top of the list include the Red Sox big off-season, the Giant and Rangers expectations, and of course the annoying Yankees creep into everyone's subconscious. My mind is fully on the 50+ home runs I am hoping out of Big Adam Dunn. But at The Great Rabbino we focus on the Jewish stories that may or may not bring us naches. So here they are the top 10 Jewish stories to watch out for during the 2011 MLB season.
10) New Faces in New Places: Some of our beloved Jewish ball players have switched teams. Gabe Kapler has signed with the Dodgers, will that lead to more playing time? And will Sam Fuld's move to Tampa mean a permanent roster spot?

9) Rothschild in Pinstripes: The Yankees rotation is one of the biggest stories of the off-season. C.C. and the boys need to improve. The Yankees brought in former Cubs' pitching coach Larry Rothschild to fix everyone (besides C.C.). Whether or not he is the answer is a major question.

8) Pitching Needs to Improve: It is clear we have no Sandy Koufaxes in the bunch. Outside of Craig Breslow last year was a major disappointment. Can Jason Marquis, Scott Feldman, and John Grabow bounce back?

7) Get Braun Some Help: Much of Ryan Braun's numbers come from the great protection he gets from Prince Fielder. With Fielder on the move, possibly mid-season, will Braun continue to be a star?

6) Somebody Call a Doctor: Last year the DL saw better Jewish players than the field. 2010 contained serious and long injury stints for Kevin Youkilis, Brad Ausmus, Ian Kinsler, Marquis and Grabow. Can the Jewish ball players stay healthy?

5) The Youk's Team: With Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez on board, will Youkilis still remain the man in Boston. He has great potential in this lineup but his move back to third could be a distraction. We expect big numbers from the Youk.

4) Kinsler Kontinued: Kinsler was awesome in the playoffs. We saw glimpses of his 2010 form. Is he done with his injury plagued season and can he be the 30-30 guy we know he can be?

3) 2nd Year Slide: Last year Ike Davis showed his power. Danny Valencia came out of nowhere to be a star. The league knows who they are now. They have won the respect of many fans. But will these two be able to step it up, continue their strong play and help lead their teams? Also, will Ryan Kalish get a real chance?

2) Next: We finally saw the arrival of two new stars, so who is next? Will Jason Kipnis get a chance with the Indians? Can Danny Axelrod join the White Sox in middle relief? Can Ben Guez continue to rise fast for the Tigers? And will Aaron Poreda crack the Padres rotation? Who is the next Jewish breakout star.

1) Minor League Record: Our top story is kind of cheating but it is totally worth the #1 spot. It comes from college. Florida International's Garrett Wittels has a 56 game hitting streak, which is 2 shy of Robin Ventura's Division I record. We will be eagerly awaiting for the beginning of the college season. This kid has a bright future. If he ends up as good as Ventura that would be one great career.

Get ready to play ball. Go White Sox.
And Let Us Say...Amen.
-Jeremy Fine

Saturday, January 29, 2011

TGR Back in the News

Thank you to the World Jewish News for doing a story on me and The Great Rabbino. Click HERE to read.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Where Are They Now: Jeremy Bloom

Sometimes on TGR we like updating you on Jews who "were." Former great Jewish athletes who have kind have fallen out of the public eye. We have interviewed the former "Jewish Jordan" Tamir Goodman, posted a story on last year's NCAA seniors, and now we bring you Jeremy Bloom. No, not the same Jeremy Bloom who runs KosherHam.com. The Jeremy Bloom who was a professional skiier and drafted into the NFL.
Bloom entered our lives as the quick and flashy kick returner for the Colorado Buffalos. Then all the sudden he was a World Champion skiier. He won 11 World Cup gold medals in freestyle moguls skiing and became a 2-time Olympian. Then in 2006 Bloom was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles to be a receiver/kick returner. After one year in Philly, he left for in-state rival Pittsburgh. He was with the Steelers for 2 season.

Then he was gone.

So what has he been up to? Well, he popped up again in 2010 Winter Olympics where he worked for NBC as an analysist. He has also become a College Football analysist for ESPN and Versus. But most of his time has been spent working on his foundation called Wish of a Lifetime. And "In February 2010, Bloom Co Founded the internet company Integrate.com. On December 14, 2010 The Foundry Group invested $4.25 million into the start up. The companies headquarters are located in Denver, Colorado."

So, while Bloom's football and skiing careers might be over he is definitely busy. For a while he was the most exciting Jewish athlete. The 2 sport star sparkled with his kick returns and long receptions and also worked the links as well. Now he is the star helping others fulfill their dreams.

For more info on his foundation or about Bloom visit his website http://www.jeremybloom.com/

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

Monday, January 24, 2011

Green's New Book

Former MLBer has a no book coming out. It has been a while since we have heard from the former Dodger, but hopefully the book will spark some conversation. Click HERE to read more.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Kosher Twinkies

 I have it on good authority that during the upcoming 2011 (maybe 2012)Baseball season Target Field (home of the annoying Minnesota Twins) will have a kosher hot dog stand. It is in part due to the efforts for MSP Kosher. Check out their site HERE. Awesome news!!! I plan on checking it out. If you are in the area and interested in helping out, reach out them.  I am sure they would love it. Tell them the Great Rabbino sent you.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Top Ten Jewish Connections Left In The NFL Playoffs

I am clearly out of my NFL playoff bracket. My NFC pick, Da Bears, are still alive and well, but going 1-3 in the opeing round and the Patriots losing did me in. However, I did pick the Steelers at the beginning of the season...so that kind of counts. Nevertheless The Rabbino goes on. Today we look at the Top 10 Jewish connections left in the NFL playoffs.
10) Jewish Summer Camps - There are several reasons to LOVE this upcoming weekend's Bears/Packers game. One of those reasons is the connection of Chicago to Wisconsin. Close in proximity, Jewish Chicago Teenagers flock to Wisconsin for summer camp. Camp Chi, OSRUI, and of course Camp Ramah are just a few. If this is any indication of who will win, very few Wisconsonites come South to Chitown for the summer. So if you view it that way, the Pack will win.

9) Super Bowl Home - Many Cowboys fans actually thought they were going to play the Super Bowl at home this year. Ha. But the Cowboys had two Jewish players (maybe the 2 best) in Igor Olshanky and Kyle Kosier. I am sure they will get nice seats.

8) 2009 Jets Dilemma - In 2009 the first two home games of the season for the Jets were planned on Rosh Hashanna and Yom Kippur. Jewish Jets fans did not take a liking to this. There was plenty of kvetching. It got plenty of press. Click HERE for ESPN's coverage. For Jimmy Kimmel's coverage see below.


7) Former Players - There have not been too many former players on any of these three teams. Sid Luckman (who we will discuss later), Alan Veingrad (who we will also discuss later), Antonio Garay (former Bear, still active), and a few others. Wish there were more here but our luck ran out with the Patriots.

6) J-E-T-S/J-E-W-S - It is no secret that NY is home to many Jews, including me. So Jets fans, this shirt deserves some attention for your upcoming AFC championship party. Check it out HERE. If the Jets players wore these, maybe they would have a little luck beating Big Ben and the Steelers.

5) Half Time Show - We are all thinking it. Will the Black Eyed Peas sing "I Gotta Feeling?" If so, everyone will be screaming Mazel Tov! LeChaim!

4) Big Ben - Roethlisberger sounds Jewish...but he ain't even close. But Squirrel Hill Pittsburgh is very Jewish. Ever been to Pittsburgh on a game day? It's like Monsey on Shabbos. Everyone at "Temple," streets empty, and praying to God(s) of the Steelers.

3) Commercials - Plenty of people watch the Super Bowl for 1 reason, the commercials...just ask my wife. Plenty of Jews pop up from time to time. Like this cameo below of Andy Samberg. Not sure how this will help anyone pick a winner, but come on everyone loves the commercials.

2) Chabad - Chabad is seemingly everywhere. Literally, they pop up wherever there are Jews. The Super Bowl is no different. Former NFLer Alan "Shlomo" Veingrad went from the NFL to the Chabad house. He made his mark with the Packers but won his Super Bowl ring with the Cowboys. No doubt the Chabad movement will/should use their own to promote Super Bowl Sunday. To read more on Veingrad click HERE.

1) 1941 - The Bears and Packers have not met in the playoffs since 1941. It was then that the Bears got the best of the Packers. And none of then Sid Luckman led the way. The greatest Jewish NFL player of all time. This upcoming weekend there will be video highlights and mentioning of Luckman all over the place. Relish in it. Hopefully, the Bears beat the Packers once again.

And for my new picks. Bears over Steelers in the Super Bowl. Bear Down.
And Let Us Say...Amen.
-Jeremy Fine

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Other Jews in the Sports Blog Biz

I thought I would take a moment to promote some other Jews out there writing sports blogs. All very different but its nice seeing them out there. So happy reading and feel free to add some more.


The King of Sports Blog - http://thekingofsportsblog.com/ - Yes Brad is only 14, but he has a great site. It covers some good stories and like TGR does a bunch of interviews. He also has over 4,000 followers on Twitter.

JewsInBaseball.blogspot.com - I mention Josh's site on TGR all the time. After baseball season he doesn't post too often unless there is a trade or signing. But during the season his blog is a must read for Jewish baseball fans. He also does some great analysis from time to time.

How 'Bout Them Sports - howaboutthemsports.wordpress.com/ - Ravid Tilles is a Rabbinical student at JTS (with me). Besides being a great guy, he started a site for the Not-so-up-to-date sports fans. If you aren't a sports "nut" check it out, you will get some good water cooler talk.

Dandy Koufax - www.dandykoufax.com/ - Jewish sports blog that covers a wide variety of topics. They cover Soccer and Canada a little better than TGR.

Sports Clown - thesportsclown.com/ - They don't cover Jewish sports but the Sports Clown is a fan of TGR. It  can post some dirty topics/videos, but if that's your thing then check it out.

Rabbi In Training -rabbiintraining.com/ - Jason, the Rabbi who is in training, covers some sports and some Judaism. Great guy. Nice site.

Kaplan's Korner - njjewishnews.com/kaplanskorner/ - Ron writes for the New Jersey Jewish News. His site is the most like TGR but we have our own styles. I suggest checking it out for more Jewish sports reading. He covers more sports writers and has a NY bias (like TGR's Chicago bias).

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

Monday, January 10, 2011

College Football Update

There are a bunch of NFL Mock Drafts out there. CBSSports' Rob Rang has Gabe Carimi going with the last pick of the first round to the New England Patriots. Click HERE to read his thoughts.

Carimi is #17 on Mel Kiper's Big Board. Click HERE to read more.
Last note is a BIG Shout out to Oregon OL Max Forer in tonight's Oregon vs. Auburn game. Go Ducks!

We are also looking into Auburn OL Lee Ziemba to find out if he is Jewish. Lots of speculation surrounding QBs Ryan Katz of Oregon State, Jake Locker of Washington, and Standford's Andrew Luck. While all three have potential Jewish last names, I have no reason to believe any of them are Jewish. If anyone has new information please keep me posted.



Sunday, January 9, 2011

Fuld Goes to Rays in the Garza Trade

 The Tampa Bay Rays acquired Sam Fuld in a traded that was headlined by Matt Garza going to the Cubs. This should be good for Fuld he might actually get a chance to play in the Bigs on a more regular basis. For more on the trade click HERE.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ricky Williamsberg?

First Amare now Ricky Williams. Love it. Read it HERE.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Jewish NFL Super Bowl Prediction

Last year TGR did a Jewish NCAA bracket. We entered it into my wife's pool and won. Yes, it helped that Duke was awesome. But Cornell got to the Sweet 16 and a little bit of God's help and we got the shekels (literally). So here are our NFL picks. Deep down inside I am rooting for the Bears no matter what happens.
AFC Round One:
Patriots - Bye
Colts vs. Jets - Colts have owner James Irsay who has a Jewish dad. Irsay gets them to round two.
Chiefs vs. Ravens -Like the Colts, Ravens owner Art Modell's Jewish roots sends them to the second round.
Steelers - Bye

NFC Round One:
Falcons - Bye
Eagles vs. Packers - Owners are dominating here. Jeff Lurie is Jewish and the Eagles get by the Packers.
Saints vs. Seahawks - Saints get by the Seahawks because of what Pete Carroll did to Taylor Mays.
Bears - Bye

AFC Round Two:
Patriots vs. Ravens -  While everyone wants to see Brady, we here have our eyes on Julian Edelman. He keeps the Pats going to the AFC Championship.
Steelers vs. Colts -  We look again to the owners. We used Isray already so Steelers part-owner, Barney Dreyfuss, gets them through.

NFC Round Two:
Falcons vs. Saints - While I might normally choose the Saints in this one, Falcon's owner Arthur Blank is Jewish and taking them to the NFC Championship.
Bears vs. Eagles - Yes, I want the Bears to win. Yes, I am bias. Yes, TGR is picking them. How? The memory of Sid Luckman lives on. Da Bears.

AFC Championship:
Patriots vs. Steelers - Patriots owner Robert Kraft is a HUGE Jewish philanthropist. His yiddishkite brings the Patriots to the Super Bowl.

NFC Championship:
Falcons vs. Bears - Da Bears. Yes, Da Bears in the Super Bowl. How? Team Doctor Howie Katz aka my wife's uncle.

Super Bowl:
Patriots vs. Bears - Patriots win. Overall we have some exciting games coming up and our Jewish roots can be found in several NFL teams. And since the upcoming Super Bowl is such an important event in the NFL, here is where I add it all up. The Jewish power of Edelman and Kraft beat Luckman’s memory and my Uncle Howie. Patriots are TGR’s pick to win the Super Bowl against my Bears. 

Obviously, nothing crazy here but we picked Duke so this could happen too. Good luck.

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

Monday, January 3, 2011

Athletes That Are NOT Jewish

Many people often get confused and assume Jewish heritage/Yiddiskite because of a last name or other connections. Today we bring you a list of former Non-Jewish players who have been mistaken for Jews.

Current Players:
Lance Berkman - Very Jewish last name. And Yankee fans would've loved it. Be he is not Jewish.
David Eckstein- Eckstein is commonly mistaken for a Jew, but he is as not Jewish as they come.
Rex Grossman - You don't get a name like that unless somewhere in your lineage their were Jews. But Rex is NOT Jewish. But he does have a Super Bowl appearance.

Mike Jacobs - I would love to claim some of his home runs, but he ain't a MOT.
Patrick Kane - Sick with a stick not with Shtick.
Ray Lewis - Haha. No.
J.J. Putz - Great last name. Not a Jew.
Ben Roethlisberger - Gutsy and awesome. But not Jewish.
Stephen Strasburg - Do anything for this phenom to be Jewish, but no Jewish link.
Amare Stoudemire - He tried really hard to be Jewish, but it takes more than a trip to Israel.
Ben Zobrist - Up and coming star, but not associated with the Star of David.

Retired:
David Cone - Not spelled Cohen. And not Jewish.
Marty Schottenheimer - Nope.
Reggie White - He was a non-Jew very into religion and Torah. Wish more of us were.

Associated by Family:
Rod Carew - Please do not listen to Adam Sandler. Carew never converted, but we sure wish he had.
Frank Thomas - Yes his first wife is Jewish. And yes, so are many of his kids. But Thomas (although my favorite player of All Time) is not by any means Jewish.