Jewish big leaguers
The following Jewish players were on the roster of a Major League Baseball team as of last week, when the 2014 season began: Ryan Braun, 30, outfielder, Milwaukee Brewers; Craig Breslow, 33, pitcher, Boston Red Sox; Ike Davis, 27, first baseman, New York Mets; Burlingame native Scott Feldman, 31, starting pitcher, Houston Astros; Sam Fuld, 32, outfielder, Oakland A’s; Ryan Kalish, 26, outfielder, Chicago Cubs; Ian Kinsler, 31, second baseman, Detroit Tigers; Josh Satin, 29, infielder, New York Mets; and Danny Valencia, 29, third baseman, Kansas City Royals.
Some of the players got off to good starts. Feldman was 2-0 after his first two starts, Braun had a game in which he hit three homers and had seven RBIs and Davis hit a game-winning grand slam in the ninth inning. Also, Fuld, who played for the Tampa Bay Rays last year, was playing well in the field and hitting better than expected, although his days with the A’s could be over when an outfielder returns from the disabled list.
Also of note, Brad Ausmus, 44, a former major league catcher, is the new manager of the Detroit Tigers. He managed the Israeli team that competed in the 2013 World Baseball Classic qualifying round.
On the local front, first baseman Nate Freiman, 27, who played on that Israeli team and made his major league debut with Oakland last year, is playing with Oakland’s Triple-A Sacramento team this season. Also with Sacramento is pitcher Eric Berger, 27, a Roseville native recently picked up in a trade. Pitcher Jeff Urlaub, 26, who was in the A’s spring training camp, was assigned to Double-A Midland. As for A’s relief pitcher Drew Pomeranz, whom some fans might think is Jewish based on his name, he is not.
As a sidenote, not only was the above list prepared with the help of Jewish Sports Review magazine, but more than 90 percent of pro athletes described as Jewish by many media outlets were first identified and confirmed by JSR. This writer and others wouldn’t be able to pen a close-to-accurate article on Jewish athletes without JSR (whether credited or not). If you are interested in subscribing to this amazing nonprofit publication, which is available in print only, visit www.Jewishsportsreview.com.
At the movies
Opening Friday, April 11, “Cuban Fury” is a British movie about dancing and romance. In 1987, Bruce Garrett is 13 and poised to win the U.K. salsa championships. But a bullying incident robs him of his confidence and the crown. Fast forward to the present, and Garrett is a very out-of-shape guy who lives a hum-drum existence until the arrival of his new boss, Julie (Rashida Jones, 38), who inspires him to shake up his life, get in shape and dance again.
Meanwhile, “Draft Day” (opening Friday, April 11) is about an NFLâ€ˆteam frantically preparing for the draft. The cast includes Rosanna Arquette, 54, as the ex-wife of the team’s general manager, played by Kevin Costner. It is directed by Ivan Reitman, 67.
Jonathan Glazer, 48, a graduate of a British Jewish school and best known as the director of “Sexy Beast “ (2000), is also the director of the new “Under the Skin,” a horror/sci-fi film he spent 10 years trying to make. He got lucky when Scarlett Johansson, 28, agreed to play the lead character — a space alien who trolls the streets of Scotland for unwary hitchhikers. Their ultimate fate is not pleasant. In the words of one review, she lures them with her innocence and “holds them” with her naked body. Regarding her first nude scenes on the big screen, Johansson said she spoke extensively with Glazer to ensure that the nudity served the story and wasn’t gratuitous. “I’m not a provocative person,” Johansson said at a news conference, as quoted by the Huffington Post. “You assume [the scene] is going to be a screenshot for someone. You kind of have to weigh the value of the risk that you’re taking.”
Columnist Nate Bloom, an Oaklander, can be reached at email@example.com.