Sunday, March 16, 2014

Top MLBers Stories Going into 2014

This year's Top 10 Jewish stories to look for on the Diamond:

10) Re-emergence of Aaron Poreda
A few years ago we were talking about Poreda as next in line of solid Jewish MLBer starters. He emerged quickly with the White Sox and was a major piece of the Jake Peavy trade. Since then his stock has plummeted and he really has not see the majors or been a mainstay in any organization. This Spring he has reemerged with the Texas Rangers and we hope he can reclaim his spot in the majors.

9) Joc the Jock
Joc Pederson is probably the best Jewish minor leaguer on the cusp of the majors. He has high potential to be a star. Lets hope a call up takes place this year.

8) A Youkilis Return
Kevin Youkilis has packed his bag for Japan. But its fair to say all of us would like him back in the USA. Lets hope a team needs a 3B soon and Youkilis can continue being one of the greatest Jewish players of all time...on American soil.

7) Free-man
Nate Freiman showed flashes of greatness last season but never became a full time starter. This year we hope the A's allow him to fly and strut his power hitting skills. Free Freiman.

6) Oldies But Goodies? Fuld, Marquis,Valencia
Both Fuld (A's) and Valencia (Royals) have caught on with teams and stand solid chances to make their respective ballclubs. Marquis, one of the greatest Jewish pitchers of all time, has yet to find a home. Lets hope all three find a way into the Majors this year.

5) Where Do We Begin: Zeid, Pillar, Lavarnway, Kalish
Josh Zeid, Kevin Pillar, Ryan Lavarnway, and Ryan Kalish all spent most of the season in the minors last year. Lavernway has yet to stick with the BoSox despite high potential. Kalish is getting over a season ending injury and is now with the Cubs, and Zeid and Pillar are hoping to start where they finished the season in the majors. Keep an eye on all four because they could all have breakout years.

4) Will They Mets Expectations: Satin and Davis
Both Josh Satin and Ike Davis have shown that they can play and start on a major league club. Both have also proven that they can go through major slumps. Both vying for a roster spot and two guys who wouldn't mind starting at 1B will see how much longer the Mets can deal with inconsistency. We are pulling for them both, hoping they can turn DPs together (Satin plays the whole INF).

3) New Unis: Kinsler and Feldman
Both Scott Feldman and Ian Kinsler have new uniforms. For both expectations are very high. Feldman finds himself atop the rebuilding Astros rotation and Kinsler replacing the bat of Prince Fielder. Great opportunity for both.

2) Breslow Back to Back
Its hard to make a name for yourself as a middle relief pitcher but Craig Breslow has. Now with a World Series ring, lets see if Breslow can continue being sharp on the field and make it back to back.

1) Braun's Back
Clearly the number one story is the return of Ryan Braun. Braun's steroid scandal rocked the baseball world as did his first at bat of Spring training (home run). Braun will have to battle the critics but he did his time and now its time for his bat to do the talking. Go gett'em Ryan!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Senior Schwartz to Giants

Geoff Schwartz has signed with the NY Giants. Lots of kosher restaurants to choose from. Click HERE for more.

Monday, March 10, 2014

NFL Offseason News

The Patriots continue to engage Julian Edelman with a new contract after his breakout year. But things might not work out. HERE is ESPN's view.

Gabe Carimi is headed to Atlanta after a brief stint with the Bucs. Read more HERE.

Like Carimi now Adam Podlesh is a former Bear as Chicago has released its punter. More HERE.

Taylor Mays, coming off injury, is expected to remain with the Bengals. More on the Safety's return HERE.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Kinsler Goes Off


In an interview with ESPN magazine, Ian Kinsler goes off on his former team the Texas Rangers. Its making headlines so instead of just tweeting it out you can click HERE for more.

Mekel Sent to D-League

 Israeli Phenom and Mavs point guard was sent down to the NDBL yesterday. He has had knee troubles and the Mavs have a solid amount of PGs so this becomes a good move for the Mavs. Read more HERE.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

2014 Sports Rabbis of the Year

About a month ago we decided to launch our own version  of Top Rabbis. Now that Newsweek is not publishing a list, we hope that this article will fill the void. We got many applicants for the two categories; Rabbis who are/were actual athletes and Rabbis who are sports enthusiasts. We thank everyone for submitting the names of some great rabbis (also thank you to the many of you, mostly my friends and family, who nominated me). Oddly enough most of the rabbis nominated were Conservative rabbis, this is not a bias. I actually have no real personal relationship with any of them. Also, surprisingly there were no female nominations. Narrowing down the choices was tough but we looked at a few criteria including actual sports connection, number of nominations, and ability to inspire through sport. Unfortunately, like in sports not everyone can make the cut. We decided to choose 2 rabbis in each category and hope to do this project again. So without further ado, this year's TGR Sports Rabbis of the Year:

Rabbis: The Athletes

Rabbi Daniel Greyber
A gold medalist and Captain of the U.S. Swimming Team at the 1993 World Maccabiah Games, he also served as the USA Team Rabbi at 19th World Maccabiah Games in the Summer of 2013. He is a former director Camp Ramah California who began each morning with 6am laps and countless Shabbat Basketball games. Rabbi Greyber is now the rabbi at Beth El Synagogue in Durham North Carolina.

Rabbi Adam Naftalin-Kelman
He was in the Maccabbi games in track and field as a teenager, but since then has run marathons, triathlons and everything in between! He loves sports of all kinds, but especially basketball - loves watching with our three boys and during march  madness will watch all basketball all day long! He currently serves as the Hillel Director at UC Berkeley.

Rabbis: The Enthusiasts

Photo: Rabbi Charles Sherman: Dateline NBC: Eyal's Story
Rabbi Charles Sherman

Since moving to Syracuse close to 40 years ago, Rabbi Sherman has been active in the Syracuse sports community, both at the professional level and at the collegiate level. He had a wonderful relationship with Tex Simone, the general manager of the AAA Syracuse Skychiefs.
He has delivered many invocations and benedictions at the annual Syracuse University Basketball dinner, before the team headed to the Big East Tournament in NYC.  Rabbi Sherman is known as "The Syracuse Orange Rabbi." Additionally, Coach Jim Boeheim and his wife Juli have been recipients of the Citizen of The Year Award, a prestigious award in Central New York tho those who give back to the community, hosted by Temple Adath yeshurun. Rabbi Sherman and Coach Jim Boeheim have a close relationship. Coach Boeheim has recently endorsed Rabbi Sherman's book, "The Broken And The Whole: Discovering Joy After Heartbreak".

Rabbi Mark Bloom
He is a sports enthusiast, serious lifelong Giants fan who can still name the 1971 starting lineup. He is such a sports guy that he officiated over the funeral of Oakland Raiders' owner and manager Al Davis, back in 2011. Al's brother was a member of the synagogue, and I can't imagine any Rabbi other than Mark who could truly appreciate the significance of the moment. It was as it should be…The Rabbi is also a stats wiz, both present and historical, and well, I think he is just a genius! Rabbi Bloom plays sports, has kids who are athletes and sports fans and it's just a family affair. He is also a wonderful Rabbi, one of those fine examples of a spiritual human being who can cross the divide into so many worlds, including the world of loyal team fan and athlete! Rabbi Bloom is currently the rabbi at Temple Beth Abraham in Oakland, California.

Again thank you to everyone who sent in nominations. What a fun project. Looking forward to next year! 

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