Kaplan's Korner

Jews are known as "the people of the book," but they're also the people of the ball and bat and net. Kaplan's Korner, a new blog from New Jersey Jewish News, is dedicated to bringing the latest sports news and commentary on Jews in sport at a local, national, and international level.

Kaplan's Korner on Jews and Sports © 2015 New Jersey Jewish News

Guest column — CHOSENBALL: How the Jews Can Save Baseball and the Los Angeles Dodgers

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Tue, 01 Dec 2015 21:51:12 | by Ron Kaplan

Editor’s note: Welcome to Chosenball, a speculative story of what might happen if an all-Jewish team had its own place in the Major Leagues by Bertin Lefkovic.

Over the next several weeks, Lefkovic will assemble the team and play their season via the Out of the Park, a sports simulation game. Enjoy.


http://o0tp7mzzn32msux2jkg8kga0.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/files/2014/10/Friedman-Andrew-V-195x300.jpgImagine if you will Andrew Friedman, general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers driving in his car on the way home from Dodger Stadium after his team was defeated by the New York Mets in the fifth and deciding game of the National League Division Series.

Despondent after being handed the largest contract ever given to a general manager and the largest payroll in the history of professional sports and having nothing to show for it except the same first round exit that the team had experienced the prior two seasons and desperate for some self-destructive satisfaction, he pulls into an In-N-Out Drive Thru, orders eight 8x8s, eight orders of French fries, and eight Cookies & Cream Milkshakes and speeds home.

As he gorges himself into a stupor, he channel surfs, settling upon Oh God, starring George Burns and John Denver, a film originally released when he was still an infant. Floating in and out of consciousness on a sea of caloric gratification with the evening’s failure drifting away, Friedman doesn’t realize that a figure has appeared before him until it speaks his name.

“Andrew.” The voice with a clear New York Jewish accent is a familiar one that has graced our film and television screens for decades. “Andrew!” This time the voice is more urgent. It breaks throw Friedman’s stupor, but his mind is still foggy so the image is still unclear. “ANDREW!!!” That did the trick. He can now clearly see the famous actor and comedian standing in front of him.

“Billy Crystal??!!” Friedman exclaims. “What the hell are you doing in my house? You’re not a Dodgers fan or a Mets fan, so you can’t be here to kill me or thank me.”

“I am not Billy Crystal, Andrew. I am just being played by him, because George Burns is no longer with us.”

“I don’t understand. What are you talking about? Who else can you be if you’re not Billy Crystal and what does George Burns have to do with anything? Why are you in my house?”

“I’m God, Andrew, and I am here to talk to you.”

“That’s not funny, Billy. As you can imagine, I have had a really bad night, and the next few months are going to be even worse. The Dodgers are paying me a lot of money and gave me even more money to spend on a World Series championship baseball team and that team is no better now than it was a year ago. In many ways, it’s worse. I need to find a new manager and I need to find a way to completely rebuild the outfield, getting rid of the likes of Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier, and Yasiel Puig. Nobody wants Crawford and Ethier and nobody is going to give me fair value for Puig.”

http://mopupduty.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/baseball-gods.jpg“That is why I am here, Andrew. I do not usually get involved in professional sports. I leave that to the Baseball Gods or the Football Gods or whatever Gods are overseeing their particular sport, but you clearly need my help and I need yours.”

“Baseball Gods?! Whatever happened to the commandment of not worshiping false idols or thou not having any other God but me?”

“That is all well and good when it comes to the things that truly matter, but for sports, it made sense to let the greats run things when they pass on. But that is neither here nor there. We have more important things to discuss.”

“Like what?”

“Your Dodgers are never going to win the World Series. Not this way. The Baseball Gods are not going to let you or the Yankees buy any more World Series championships. 2009 was the last one.”

“What? Why? That’s not fair! We weren’t trying to buy a championship! We just wanted to put the best team possible on the field and that costs money!

“I know that you think that, Andrew, but three hundred and ten million dollars is just ridiculous, would you not agree?”


“I know that Crawford was not your doing, but did you really need to give Brandon McCarthy a four-year deal and steal him away from the Yankees? Do you really think that his blown out elbow was an accident?”

“What? Did you do that? Why? That’s horrible! He didn’t deserve that! He had just got his career back on track!”

“ ‘Instant karma’s gonna get you!’ I think John Lennon said that. No, I did not do that. Like I said, I do not get involved in sports. But you need my help and I really need yours.”

“My help? What can I do? I am just a GM and clearly not a very good one.”

“But you are a Jew. And our people need your help.”

“How can I help them? I don’t even go to services. Not even on the High Holy Days.”

“I know and we will get to that, eventually. But Moses married a shiksa and look at what he was able to accomplish.”

“But I can’t even win a World Series with a $310 million team. I seriously doubt that I could part the Red Sea.”

“Fortunately, I do not need you to do that.”

“What do you need me to do?”

“I need you to make the right choice. You can either choose to continue down the path that you are on, spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a team that is destined to underachieve year in and year out, or you can go back in time to when you became the Dodgers GM and get a second chance to do things differently.”

“That’s easy. I’d love a second chance. There is so much that I would do differently, starting with…”

http://kimvanalkemade.com/images/victorberger2.jpg“There is one catch.”

“One catch? What?”

“They need to be Jewish?”

“Who needs to be Jewish?”

“The players. The team.”

All of the players? ”

“All of the players on the entire team.”

On the entire team??”

“Do not raise your voice at me, young man. I am still God after all. You have no idea what I could do to you. You would wish that you were a pillar of salt. Yes, the entire team has to be Jewish. The manager and the coaches, too.”


“You did not really just ask me that question, did you? Abraham did not ask me that question when I told him to kill Isaac. I am not asking you to kill anybody and you have the nerve to ask me that question? Maybe I should go talk to Brian Cashman. No, he would never get those Steinbrenner twits to go for this. Okay, I shall answer your question.

“Our people are in trouble. They have become so divided and fragmented. Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist are one thing, but between AIPAC, J Street, ADL, JDL, JNF, ZOA, and the rest of the alphabet soup, it is impossible to get a slowly-but-surely shrinking population of people on the same page, working towards the same goals and objectives.”

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-SjlPOqkPHWc/Ug5dOpknsWI/AAAAAAAAC1M/assZgE0LsPs/s1600/free-will.jpgYou were the one who gave us free will.”

“Seriously? You are going to play the free will card? I really should turn you into a pillar of salt. And then I will put you into those little packets and ship you off to your beloved In-N-Out Burger where you can be digested by your fellow patrons.”

“I’m sorry. I still don’t understand. How will an all-Jewish baseball team unite the Jewish people when the Jewish state can’t do it. Heck, Israel is one of the things that divides us the most.”

“I am not going to give you the whole James Earl Jones Field of Dreams speech, but needless to say, our people need to be inspired. Yes, baseball is no longer the national pastime. Heck, it is not even the second most popular sport anymore, but the Jewish people are among the small minority on this planet who are still smart enough to appreciate the simple beauty and grace of the sport and if there is anything that can still inspire these people who are too smart for their own good, it is baseball.


“But even more than that, it is the sheer impossibility of an all-Jewish baseball team being able to compete against the rest of the goyim that make up professional baseball. The same goyim that have been bullying our children on playgrounds for generations; the same goyim that have been picking them last for teams; the same goyim who made our sports legends a punchline in the movie Airplane. If an all-Jewish baseball team can suit up and play against the rest of the league, it will inspire and unite our people like nothing else has since, well, Sandy Koufax.”

“But we don’t have a Sandy Koufax. We don’t have anybody close to Sandy Koufax. We have Scott Feldman. Yes, we also have Ryan Braun, Ian Kinsler, and Joc Pederson, but that’s pretty much it. We don’t even have enough to make up a 25-man roster, much less a 40-man roster, much less a farm system.”

“If you build it, they will come, Andrew. I am not expecting miracles from you. That is my department. But like I said, I do not get involved in sports. They do not have to win the World Series. They do not have to win the division, although the NL West is pretty weak. They do not even have to make it to the postseason. They just have to be able to compete and I believe that they can. I believe in them. And I believe in you. Like I said, the choice is yours. You can stay on the path that you are on and watch this team that you have built continue to underachieve, year in and year out, or you can take a step back, tear the whole thing down, and build something that has the potential to inspire millions of people, maybe even billions, who knows? Maybe this can be the thing that makes baseball great again; not just the national pastime, but maybe the international pastime. The choice is yours. What do you want to do?”

“When do we start?”

“Right now.”

Author’s note: Imagine that: an all-Jewish professional baseball team. That is what I imagined when I used the baseball simulation game Out of the Park to tear down the $310MM underachieving Los Angeles Dodgers and transform them into the Los Angeles Chosen Ones. In my next installment, I will take you — transaction by transaction — into the steps that were taken to make this transformation happen. After that, I will take you, game by game, as the Chosen Ones replay the 2015 season and make history, one way or another. Stay tuned.


LefkovicEditor’s note: Bertin Lefkovic, a Jewish communal professional, is a lover of baseball and Jewish peoplehood He has written at length about both and was significantly involved with the fledgling Israel Baseball League, including, but not limited to, drafting the Netanya Tigers. This effort to explore the potential of an all-Jewish major league baseball team is done in honor and memory of Ezra Schwartz and many others who are no longer with us, but whose passion for the game of baseball, the State of Israel, and the Jewish people lives on in the hearts and minds of all of us who share them with them.


International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame annolunces class of 2016

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Tue, 01 Dec 2015 20:11:41 | by Ron Kaplan

The International Jewish Sports Hall of fame, based in Wingate Institute in Netanya,Israel, announced its latest class of honorees. The list includes:

  • Gary Bettman, commissioner of the NHL
  • 1924 world bantamweight boxing champion Abe Goldstein
  • Jonathan Kaplan, a rugby official from South Africa
  • former Major League catcher Mike Lieberthal
  • tennis champion Nick Massu of Chile
  • volleyball coaching legend Arie Selinger
  • 1952 Olympic gold medal-winner Judit Temes of Hungary
  • 1952 gold medal gymnast Galina Urbanovich of Azerbajian

Formal inductions will be held in 2017 in Israel, the year of the next Maccabiah Games.

The following bios were provided by the IJSHOF.


http://storage.torontosun.com/v1/dynamic_resize/sws_path/suns-prod-images/1297428761703_ORIGINAL.jpg?quality=80&size=650xGary Bettman was named Commissioner of the National Hockey League in February, 1993.  Under his stewardship, NHL revenues have grown from $400 million to more than $4 billion.

Bettman has overseen the League’s expansion from 24 to 30 franchises.  He made television coverage deals with Fox at $155 million for five years, followed by an ABC/ESPN five-year pact for $600 million.  By 2011, the NHL TV package reached $2 billion with Comcast/NBC, plus an additional $2 billion Canadian broadcast agreement in 2013.

Among the advancements to the game under Bettmen, the NHL implemented overtime and the ‘shootout’, which eliminate tied games.  And, the introduction of a two-referee system revolutionized hockey officiating around the world.  Other Bettman innovations include development and advancement of video review, which was later replicated by the National Football League, Major League Baseball and National Basketball Association.

Commissioner Bettman has also focused attention on the NHL’s international make-up and appeal.  Since 1998, NHL players have stocked the rosters at each of the succeeding Olympic Winter Games.  And, NHL games are televised in more than 160 countries in seven languages: Czech, Finnish, French, German, Russian, Slovak, Swedish and English.

Prior to his joining the NHL, Bettman was the NBA’s (National Basketball Association) senior vice-president and general counsel where, in 1983, he developed the “soft salary cap” that tcontinues in effect to this day.

Bettman was named “Sports Executive of the Year” in 2014 by the SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily.


http://static.boxrec.com/thumb/8/82/Goldstein.Abe2.jpg/200px-Goldstein.Abe2.jpgIn 1924, Abe Goldstein defeated Joe Lynch to win the World Bantamweight championship.  He is recognized as the #5 ranked Bantamweight of all time.

The 5’5” Goldstein, who had lost two previous title battles against reigning Flyweight champions, the first in 1921, moved-up a weight-class to capture the Bantamweight title. He successfully defended his title twice, before surrendering the crown nine months later.

At retirement his record was:  Bouts: 128, 34 KOs, won 56 decisions, drew 11, lost 18 (4 by KO), 4 no decisions. He died Feb. 12, 1977.


https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/0a/Jonathan_I._Kaplan_ZAF_rugby_union_referee.jpg/220px-Jonathan_I._Kaplan_ZAF_rugby_union_referee.jpgIn 2009, international Rugby Union official Jonathan Kaplan became the first referee to reach the milestone of 50 international Test matches, making him the most experienced Test referee of all time.  At his retirement in February 2013, his career record stood at 68 Test matches.

Other officiating records held by Kaplan are: most Bledisloe Cup matches (7); most Tri Nations matches (7); most Six Nations matches (16); the only referee to have participated in four British and Irish Lions tours, and to have had officiated matches in all three tour countries.

Kaplan also holds officiating records for most Rugby World Cup appearances (3–1999, 2003, 2007), and most World Cup games (9); most Super 14 games (75­­–including 3 finals and 4 semi-finals); and most Currie Cup matches (13–including 5 finals and 4 semi-finals).

Kaplan began refereeing in 1984, while still a Durban high school student. He made his first-class debut in 1991 and was appointed to South Africa’s national panel of referees in 1993. He made his international debut in a May 1996. Kaplan was a touch judge for the 1999 Rugby World Cup, and referee for the 2003 Rugby World Cup. He was one of the twelve referees appointed to officiate at the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France.

He is the only official awarded ‘South African Referee of the Year’ four years in succession (2003–07).


http://i.usatoday.net/communitymanager/_photos/daily-pitch/2012/08/11/Lieberthalx-large.jpgA two-time Major League Baseball All-Star, Mike Lieberthal had a 14-year MLB career, 1994-2007, 13 of those years were with the Philadelphia Phillies, and a final season with the L.A. Dodgers.

Drafted in the first round of the 1990 MLB drtaft by the Phillies, he enjoyed a career year in 1999, batting .310, with 31 home runs and 96 RBIs.  That same year he won a Gold Glove Award (defense) with a .997 fielding average. Lieberthal compiled a career batting average of .274, with 150 home runs and 610 runs batted in.

Injuring his leg in 2001 and again in 2002, he was awarded The Sporting News National League ‘Comeback Player of the Year’, the first catcher to receive the honor.  When he left the Phillies in 2006, he was team’s all-time catching leader in home runs, RBIs, and games caught (1,138).


http://www.gannett-cdn.com/-mm-/fcdc346df2e5cb96c1d492c891ab1f4d17a6d024/c=0-0-1501-2000&r=537&c=0-0-534-712/local/-/media/USATODAY/USATODAY/2013/08/27/1377621942000-AP-Chile-Tennis-Massu-Retirement.jpgNicholas Massu was Chile’s first Olympic gold medalist, capturing both the Singles and Doubles (w/Fernando Gonzales) championships at the 2004 Games. That same year he was ranked #9 in World Singles.

“Vampiro” as he was known in his home country, Massu was the first male to win gold medals in both Olympic Singles and Doubles in the same Games.

At age 18, he won the 1997 Junior Doubles championships at both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. He joined Chile’s Davis Cup team, has served as its captain, and has a 29-17 Davis Cup Singles record. Massu also represented Chile at the 2002 and 2008 Olympics.


http://jhvonline.com/clients/jhvonline/8-18-2011-12-14-55-PM-5172784.jpgAs coach of Israel’s national Woman’s volleyball team in the 1960s, Arie Selinger helped change the face of the sport by introducing new types of quicker offensive systems that include one-sets, crossing plays and combination attacks.

In 1975, he took the head coaching position for the U.S. Women’s Volleyball Team. Immediately before the Western nations boycott of the 1980 Olympics, Selinger had his team a gold medal favorite for the approaching Games.  But the American team, at the direction of United States president Jimmy Carter, refused to compete in that year.

Four years later, Salinger’s U.S. team captured the 1984 volleyball silver medal in Los Angeles, registering the first-ever Olympic volleyball medal for a United States women’s team.

In 1992, the Selinger-coached Netherlands men’s Olympic volleyball team won the silver medal.  He coached the Japanese women’s national volleyball team 1992-2006.

Selinger was born in Poland and spent 1942-45 in the Bergen-Belzen concentration camp before immigrating to Palestine. He was a member of the Israeli National Volleyball Team 1954-63, and a first division active player through 1969.

Selinger’s innovations and team successes resulted in his election to the Volleyball Hall of Fame in 1995.


http://mult-kor.hu/image/article/index/20.%20szazad/novak_eva.jpgJudit Temes won a pair of medals at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics—gold in Woman’s 4x100m relay, and bronze in 100m freestyle.

A member of the Hungarian national swim team 1944-56, she played a major role in setting three World records: 3x100m Freestyle Relay (4:24.4–1952), 4x100m Medley Relay (3:41.2–1950) and 4x100m Medley Relay (5:07.8–1954).

During her career, Temes amassed 29 Hungarian titles––12 in individual events, and 12 championships (8 Individual) at the Universiade meets of 1949, 1951 and 1954.  She represented her country, but did not medal, at the 1948 (age 17) and 1956 Olympics.

In 1955, Temes received a medical degree cum laude from the Budapest University of Medicine, and retired from the competitive pool one year later.  Years later, she served as president of the European Swimming Federation.

Temes died Aug. 11, 2013, in Nudapest, Hungary


http://img.championat.com/news/big/d/g/galina-urbanovich_14310804991372592630.jpgIn 1952, the year the Soviet Union made its first appearance in the Olympic Games, 34-year old Galina Urbanovich won a gold medal in Team All-Around and silver in Team Portable Apparatus.  Individually, she finished 5th in the All-Around, Horse Vault and Balance Beam events.

The core years of her gymnastics career, however, were accomplished prior to the Soviet Union’s entry into the Olympics family.  Urbanovich won her first Soviet Championship gold medal in 1939, and thereupon was All-Around Soviet champion seven times, Rings seven times, Uneven Bars five times, Pommel Horse three times, Horse Vault/Balance Beam/Floor Exercises twice each, and one victory on Horizontal Bars.

She worked as a coach for several years after retiring following the ’52 Olympics. Urbanovich passed away May 8, 2011.




JFL report, Week 12 finale

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Tue, 01 Dec 2015 19:39:25 | by Ron Kaplan

I don’t often watch games between two team as bad as the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns, but when a MOT is involved, I’ll take a look.

Last night the bottom feeders of the AFC North — the Ravens are now 4-7, the Browns 2-9 — were caught in a see-saw contest but it looked pretty good for the home town Brownies. They had tied the game at 27 with 1:47 left in regulation, On the first play following a punt, Ravens QB Matt Schaub threw an interception. Cleveland advanced the ball another 13 yards and with three seconds left, attempted a 51-yard field goal. The announcers on Monday Night Football pointed out that kicker Travis Coons did not have a strong leg. Sure enough, Brent Urban, the Ravens’ 6’7″ defensive end who was making his NFL debut, got a paw on the ball and knocked it to a spot where safety Will (The Thrill?) Hill (only 6’1″) scooped it up and ran it back 64 yards for the touchdown. Final score: Ravens 33, Browns 27.


Browns right tackle Mitchel Schwartz appeared in 69 offensive plays (100 percent) and another six (19 percent) on special teams. (By the way, unfortunately, brother Geoff of the NY Giants is officially done for the season.)

The announcers used the word “unbelievable” several times during the course of the game and especially on the last play. Browns fans might disagree.

Jewps/Jice update, Dec. 1, 2015

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Tue, 01 Dec 2015 17:42:23 | by Ron Kaplan


Omri Casspi scored 10 points in 33 minutes off the bench as the Sacramento Kings improved — if one can employ such a word — to 7-12 with their 112-98 win over the visiting Dallas Mavericks. He also had five rebounds, three assists, and one steal. BTW, the Golden State Warriors are unbeaten so far this year — 19-0 — while the Philadelphia 76ers are 0-18.


Only four games on the schedule yesterday, none of which involved MOT, which I have decided is going to be the official KK designation, as opposed to MOTs. Like RBI; it’s not “RBIs” because the plural is implied. After all, you wouldn’t say “runs batted ins”.


JML update, Nov. 30

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Mon, 30 Nov 2015 21:44:05 | by Ron Kaplan

Could Danny Valencia end up on the NY Mets? If Danny Murphy, the hero of the NL Division and Championship (but not the World) Series goes elsewhere, he might. Valencia did quite well after coming over the the Oakland As in the middle of the 2015 season from the Toronto Blue Jays, hitting 11 homes runs and driving in 37 in 47 games.

Looks like the 2016 campaign will be the big test to see if Brad Ausmus remains manager of the Detroit Tigers after two disappointing seasons. He did all right in 2014, inheriting a good team from Jim Leyland. The Tigers finished in first place in the AL Central but were swept by the Baltimore Orioles in the first round of post-season play when several prognosticators picked them to win the whole smear. This year was a disaster: last place finished in the division. Maybe they need to adopt a new tack.

Kevin Pillar had a very solid season for the Jays. What will he do for an encore? Will he stay or will he go?

Joc Pederson and his brother, Champ, attended a recent Golden State Warriors game. The Dodgers can only wish for a streak like the Warriors, who began their season by winning 18 straight games. Who knows, Pederson might not be with the team next year.



Keeping in shape this holiday season

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Mon, 30 Nov 2015 20:22:24 | by Ron Kaplan

I recently embarked on a sugar detox lifestyle.For the past couple of years, my endocrinologist has told me my blood sugar is at the pre-diabetic stage and it has finally sunk in.

For all intents and purposes, I don’t “do” sweets, included the artificial variety, anymore. No fruits juices, no yogurt with fruit mixed in, no boxed cereal, no honey/maple syrup/ etc. So far so good, going into my third week. I thought I would miss it more, but just as I adopted vegetarianism with little agita, same with the cookies, and cakes, and chips, and candy, and fruit juices, and… I do allow myself one day to stray, just a bit but it’s still nothing like it was before when it comes to making poor eating decisions.

Anyway, after the long holiday weekend, I found these goodies waiting for me upon my return to the office:


Just what a MOT needs after Thanksgiving.

FitYid (“Kosher Men’s Exercise DVD”), produced by Labriut: The Jewish Health Revolution, is targeted specifically for men in the orthodox community (the trainers and those who appear on the 90-plus minute video are all male) “ages 10-65″ (sorry, older gents). There are four segments — Beginner’s Cardio; Full Body Workout; Weights and Strengthening; and High-Intensity Cardio, with levels appropriate for beginners, intermediate, and advanced exercisers.

I don’t mean to make fun; getting into shape and maintaining good health should be a priority for everyone and kudos for these folks who are obviously earnest in wanting instill that belief into a segment of the population that might otherwise be neglectful in that regard. But this promo video is a bit simple, IMHO, with pretty low production values. The first quarter of the two-minute piece features a man sitting in his car, stuffing his face with junk food. Not a pretty picture. After a sneeze, he “discovers” a copy of the DVD as he flips down the visor in search of a tissue. he seems quite surprised: either someone sneaked it in there — hint, hint, buddy — or this isn’t his car. But it does happen to have a DVD player so the driver, pops open the hatch back (the car is parked on the street, right near a fire hydrant) and starts following the program with great intensity and enthusiasm at one point his kipa flies off his had and magically reappear in place in the next cut — despite the fact that he had just scarfed down two hot dogs, a hamburger, french fries, and a soda (presentably not diet). I guess they edited out the part where he loses his lunch, as it were. He is joined by two men who start jumping away. Oh, and they’re all wearing winter coats.

As for the actual DVD, this obviously isn’t your standard exercise demonstration; it’s just the instructor, David Oscar, and a couple of guys who seem to be doing this program for the first time. Maybe time was tight, but perhaps a tiny bit of rehearsal might have given this a more coordinated, professional look.

Sorry if this little critique comes across as jaded. I’m still going to give it a shot and report back. As I said, I’m for whatever wakes people up to the importance of physical fitness.


While your running through the program, remember to stay hydrated, the Nth Degree is a new “enhanced sports drink” marketed as an more healthful alternative to standard beverages aimed at exercise enthusiasts. According to the web site, the product is:

Fortified with Electrolytes and B Vitamins, Nth Degree Performance drinks deliver the natural energy and hydration you need to take your game to the Nth Degree.

  • Contains essential electrolytes and B vitamins
  • Supports fat oxidation (fat burning during physical exercise)
  • Slowly absorbed for energy and endurance
  • Low Glycemic Index tested

Note: this product does not carry any kosher certification.

The holidays are a tough time to stick with a diet, sorry, “lifestyle change” since evidently the D-word has negative connotations. People are always bringing in food, gift baskets magically appear from friends or businesses, and parties abound. Be smart out there.

And put down that jelly doughnut, for crying out loud!


Jewps/Jice update, long weekend edition

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Mon, 30 Nov 2015 19:04:34 | by Ron Kaplan


Omri Casspi scored 19 points in 31 minutes off the bench on Thanksgiving to help the Sacramento Kings beat the host Milwaukee Bucks, 129-118. He also pulled down seven rebounds, handed off three assists, and stole two passes. On Friday he tossed down 15 points in 28 bench minutes but the Sacramento Kings lost to the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves, 101-91. The next day, in the Kings’ 120-101 loss to the host 18-0 Golden State Warriors, Casspi served as a starting forward, dropping in 11 points in 29 minutes with seven rebounds (tied for team high) and one assist. No game on Sunday for the Kings, who are 6-12.


No games on Thursday

Friday: Michael Cammalleri notched another assist, but the host NJ Devils lost to the Montreal Canadiens in a 3-2 shootout… Jason Demers played a team-high 25:24 for the Dallas Stars — without taking a shot on goal — as they beat the visiting Vancouver Canucks, 3-2… By contrast, Andre Burakovsky took four SOG in 13:11 as the Washington Capitals defeated the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning, 4-2… Eric Nystrom played 12:53 in the Nashville Predators’ 3-2 overtime loss to the host Philadelphia Flyers… Jason Zucker played 19:20 for the Minnesota Wild, who lost to the visiting Winnipeg Jets, 3-2.

Saturday: Zucker took a team high five SOG in 18:24 in a 4-3 loss to the visiting Stars. Demers took one SOG in 21:26… Cammalleri took three SOG in 22:40 in a 3-2 overtime win against the Canadiens in Montreal… Burakovsky took one SOG in 12:58 in a 4-2 Caps win over the host Toronto Maple Leafs… Mike Brown took one SOG in 9:39 as the San Jose Sharks beat the visiting Calgary Flame, 5-2.

Sunday: No MOT games.

JFL update, Week 12

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Mon, 30 Nov 2015 18:29:32 | by Ron Kaplan

Bad news re: Geoff Schwartz. The starting right guard was moved out of his normal position in yesterday’s lackluster 20-14 loss to the host Washington Redskins, playing left guard instead. Different skill set. Schwartz broke his left leg on a play in the first quarter. He had appeared in 16 offensive plays (23 percent) before coming out.

Schwartz missed almost all of last season with an ankle injury. Early reports said he would be out for the rest of this year. The Giants fell to 5-6 with the loss, tying them with Washington for first in the NFC East, although the Redskins have the better conference record.

By the way, have you noticed that there doesn’t seem to be the same level of outrage this year about the nickname for the Washington franchise? What’s up with that? It’s not as if the situation has changed or been resolved? Just sayin’.

Nate Ebner and the New England Patriots suffered their first loss of the season, falling to the host Denver Broncos in overtime, 30-24. The DB back appeared in one defensive play (1 percent) and another 33 (89 percent) on special teams, where he was credited with one tackle. The Patriots drop to 11-1, but are still comfortably atop the AFC East; the second place NY Jets are 6-5.

Safety Taylor Mays appeared in 22 defensive plays (35 percent, one solo tackle) and another  14 (54 percent, two assisted tackles) on special teams to help the Oakland Raiders (5-6) beat the host Tennessee Titans, 24-21.

Rookie guard Ali Marpet missed his third straight game for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers due to an ankle injury. The Bucs (5-6) lost to the host Indianapolis Colts, 25-12.

Mitchell Schwartz and the 2-9 Cleveland browns host the Baltimore Ravnes tonight.

So much for that

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Tue, 24 Nov 2015 21:00:59 | by Ron Kaplan

Thus ends the rumors that the Los Angeles Dodgers would hire former JML Gabe Kapler as their new manager.

Best of luck, Dave Roberts.

Jewps/Jice update, Nov. 24, 2015

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Tue, 24 Nov 2015 20:51:50 | by Ron Kaplan


The Sacramento Kings blew a 17-point lead after three quarters to lose in overtime to the host Charlotte Hornets, 127-122. Omri Casspi scored six points with five rebounds and three assists in 27 minutes off the bench. He had a plus/minus rating of +18, best on the Kings and tied for second-best for both teams. Sacramento dropped to a five and dime (5-10) with the loss.


Eric Nystrom played 9:30 in the Nashville Predators’ 3-0 loss to the host NY Rangers.

Andre Burakovsky was scratched again and missed out on the fun as the Washington Capitals shut out the visiting Edmonton Oilers, 1-0.


Jewps update, Week 11 (MNF edition)

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Tue, 24 Nov 2015 16:17:17 | by Ron Kaplan

Free safety Nate Ebner appeared in 27 special teams plays (84 percent), making two tackles, as the New England Patriots beat the visiting Buffalo Bills, 20-13, on Monday Night Football.

I’ve never seen so many screw ups by the officiating crew in a single game. At one point, a ref inadvertently blew his whistle on what might have been a touchdown run pass. (Skip to the 1:50 mark on the video.)


From the ESPN.com recap:

The game was filled with mistakes, penalties, injuries and turnovers — including two fumbles on a single punt, a rare missed field goal by New England’s Stephen Gostkowski and an inadvertent whistle that led to one of many lengthy conferences among the officials.

“That’s one of the craziest I’ve ever seen,” said LeSean McCoy, who ran 20 times for 82 yards and a 27-yard touchdown and caught six passes for 41 yards to surpass 100 yards from scrimmage for the fourth straight game.

And the game ended on another apparent refereeing blunder, with Sammy Watkins crawling out of bounds untouched near midfield but the official inexplicably signaling for the clock to run.

Even the referees were sloppy.

Early in the third, Brady rolled toward the right sideline before throwing downfield to Amendola. As the receiver broke for the end zone, the play was whistled dead — apparently because the official thought Brady stepped out of bounds.

After a long discussion, the referee announced that there was an inadvertent whistle. The 14-yard reception counted, with a 15-yard penalty for interference from the Bills coaching staff.

The Patriots remain unbeaten at 10-0.

When the ‘real world’ intrudes on sports…

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Tue, 24 Nov 2015 15:54:50 | by Ron Kaplan

Prior to last night’s 20-13 win over the visiting Buffalo Bills, Robert Kraft’s New England Patriots paid tribute to Ezra Schwartz. The 18-year-old from nearby Sharon, Mass., was killed Nov. 19 by terrorists while he was volunteering at a nature preserve in Israel where he was taking his “gap year” before entering college.

While it was a heartfelt and emotional gesture — Schwartz was a hard-core Patriots fan — something immediately struck me as off with the pregame ceremony. Listen to the announcer and see if you notice it, too.


“Ladies and gentlemen, in a month when the NFL salutes the service of our brave men and women in our armed services, we also pause to remember the many who have recently lost their lives in senseless terrorist attacks abroad.

Last Thursday, this reality struck close to home, when 18-year old Ezra Schwartz, a native of Sharon, Massachusetts, was gunned down nearly 5,500 miles from home while studying abroad. At this time we would like to honor Ezra Schwartz and hundreds of victims like him with a moment of silence”

“Studying abroad?” That got my spidey-sense going.

http://49yzp92imhtx8radn224z7y1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/ezra.jpgKraft — a major presence in the sports world — is a  big-time philanthropist, with lots of Jewish causes on his plate, including Kraft Family Stadium, a multi-purpose artificial-turf athletic field in Jerusalem (JTA just published this story on his good works). So why not mention that Schwartz was studying in Israel, rather than just the generic “abroad?”

This morning, an NFL broadcaster who asked not to be identified told me the League makes decisions on the language used in such circumstances. Perhaps the powers that be — who look to control just about every aspect of their brand — thought it was too political to identify Israel  per se. Kraft was insistent that something be done to pay respects to Schwartz and might not even have been involved in the final details.


Jewps/Jice update, weekend edition

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Mon, 23 Nov 2015 18:33:31 | by Ron Kaplan


Omri Casspi had a double-double off the bench to help the Sacramento Kings win their fifth game of the year and four in their last six as they outlasted the host Orlando Magic, 97-91, on Saturday. Casspi scored 11 points and had the same number of rebounds in 32 minutes. He also had two assists and a steal to finish with a plus/minus of +18, second highest in the game.


Michael Cammalleri had a hand in all the scoring for the NJ Devils yesterday with one goal and two assists in 15:05 TOI in their 3-2 win over the host Vancouver Canucks. It was Cams’ 7th goal and 14th assist on the year. He took one shot on goal in 14:03 in Friday’s 5-1 loss to the host Edmonton Oilers.

Eric Nystrom returned to action for the Nashville Predators on Saturday after missing three weeks with an upper body injury. He was on the ice for 15:07 as his team lost to the host Minnesota Wild, 4-0. Jason Zucker took two SOG for the Wild in 16:15.

Mike Brown was in the penalty box longer than he was on the ice on Sunday, serving five minutes for fighting versus 4:56 time on ice in the San Jose Sharks’ 5-3 win over the host Columbus Blue Jackets. On Friday he took three SOG in 5:23 in a 3-1 win over the host Pittsburgh Penguins.

Jason Demers took one SOG in 9:50 in the Dallas Stars’ 3-0 shutout against the visiting Buffalo Sabres on Saturday.

Andre Burakovsky was a scratch for the Washington Capitals, who won, 7-3, over the visiting Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.

Five of the top tens teams in the latest ESPN Power Rankings have MOTs on their roster: Dallas (#1 with 34 points on the strength of their 17-4-0 record, good for first place in the Central Division), Washington, (#4, 27 points, 13-5-1, second in Metropolitan Division), Minnesota (#6, 25 points, 11-5-3, tied for third in Central), Nashville (#7, 25 points, 11-5-3, tied for third in Central)), and San Jose (#8, 26 points, 13-8-0, first in the Pacific Division). The Devils come in at #14 (23 points, 11-8-1, fourth in Metropolitan).


JFL update, Week 11

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Mon, 23 Nov 2015 16:41:21 | by Ron Kaplan

Taylor Mays started at one of the safety spots for the Oakland Raiders, who blew a 13-9 lead in the fourth quarter to lose to the host 18-13. The Raiders, who scored all their points in the third quarter, fall to 4-6, third in the AFC West. Mays appeared on 11 defensive plays (15 percent) and another 16 (59 percent) on special teams, contributing two solo tackles. As it turns out, he was the only MOT to play yesterday.

Ali Marpet missed his third straight game because of an ankle injury. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers crushed the host Philadelphia Eagles, 45-17 in his absence. Tampa is 5-5, third in the NFC South. (See Giants, below, who have the same record.)

Geoff Schwartz and the NY Giants were in their bye week. Brother Geoff and the Cleveland Browns were also off. Wonder if they got together for a little family reunion? The Giants lead the NFC East with  5-5 record (because everyone else in their division is stinko). The Browns are 2-8, last in the AFC North.

Nate Ebner and the 9-0 New England Patriots host the Buffalo Bills tonight.

Jewps/Jice update, Nov. 20, 2015

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Fri, 20 Nov 2015 16:17:18 | by Ron Kaplan


The Sacramento Kings absorbed their ninth loss in 13 games with a 116-109 take-down by the host Miami Heat. Omri Casspi made his first start of the season at strong forward, scoring 16 points 39 minutes, a season-high. He also contributed six rebounds, a steal, and a blocked shot. Only the LA Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans have worse records in the Western Conference.


Once again, Mike Brown had the briefest time on ice for the San Jose Sharks, who beat the host Philadelphia Flyers, 1-0, in overtime.

The Boston Bruins beat the visiting Minnesota Wild, 4-2. Jason Zucker tied the game at 1-1 in the second period with his sixth goal of the year. He took four shots on goal in 21:52.

In another meeting of the MOTs, Andre Burakovsky and the Washington Capitals came out on top of Jason Demers and the Dallas Stars, 3-2. Each skate took one SOG, Burakovsky in 14:46, Demers in 21:24.

JML update, Nov. 19, 2015

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Thu, 19 Nov 2015 15:29:54 | by Ron Kaplan

What do you mean, none of the Jewish pitchers got any votes for the Cy Young Award? Outrageous! What about Scott Feldman? He was arguably the best of the bunch that included Jason Marquis, Jon Moscot, and Craig Breslow (and perhaps even Ike Davis).

Whatever happened to…Ryan Kalish? This brief piece reminds us about the outfielder who played for the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs, but it doesn’t really get into the meat of things.




Jewps/Jice update, Nov. 19, 2015

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Thu, 19 Nov 2015 14:25:20 | by Ron Kaplan


Omri Casspi scored eight points with four rebounds and two assist in 22 bench minutes in the Sacramento Kings’ 103-97 loss to the host Atlanta Hawks. That drops the Kings to 4-8. Casspi was the subject of this profile on Kings.com.


In the only MOT-based game, Andre Burakovsky played 10:50 in the Washington Capitals’ 2-1 overtime win over the host Detroit Red Wings. The Caps are 12-4-1, second in the Metropolitan Division.

Spring training commences in T-minus

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Wed, 18 Nov 2015 21:23:26 | by Ron Kaplan
78Days 06Hours 41Minutes 20Seconds

A sad anniversary for fans

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Wed, 18 Nov 2015 16:01:27 | by Ron Kaplan

And not just Jewish fans.

On this date in 1966, Sandy Koufax announced his retirement from baseball at the tender age of 30. HT to the folks at Jewish Sports Heritage Inc. for providing the link.

I find the lack of narration gives in a somewhat creepy tone.

SSP: Makes it official then

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Wed, 18 Nov 2015 15:56:59 | by Ron Kaplan

This arrived this morning.


This sums up my sentiments in a surprisingly appropriate theme: