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 © 2016 New Jersey Jewish News

Cardinals release Jake Bernstein

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Tue, 30 Aug 2016 16:41:15 | by Ron Kaplan

Another Jewish (potential) NFLer was released yesterday when the Arizona Cardinals parted ways with Jake Bernstein, an offensive guard out of Vanderbilt.

Bernstein signed as a free agent as undrafted free agent in April.


JML update, games of Aug. 29, 2016

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Tue, 30 Aug 2016 15:43:13 | by Ron Kaplan

Kevin Pillar was 1-4 and scored a run in the Toronto Blue Jay’s 5-1 win over the host Baltimore Orioles. Scott Feldman did not appear in the game.

For the first time since June 2 (when he batted seventh) Ian Kinsler did lead off for the Detroit Tigers. He hit second, getting one hit in two official at-bats and walking twice in a 4-3 win over the visiting Chicago White Sox.

Alex Bregman was 1-4 and drove in two runs for the Houston Astros in their 6-0 win over the visiting Oakland A’s. Danny Valencia was 0-3 with a walk for the A’s.

Ryan Braun was 1-4 with a walk and a strikeout as the Milwaukee Brewers blew a 5-3 lead in the eighth inning in an eventual 6-5 loss to the visiting St. Louis Cardinals.

Joc Pederson struck out twice in four at bats as the LA Dodgers lost to the host Colorado Rockies, 8-1.

Wishful thinking? “Will Red Sox call up Wellesley favorite Nate Freiman on Sept. 1?” If they do, he’s no longer on the roster for the Israeli team at the World Baseball Classic qualifier.

Geoff Schwartz an early victim of NFL cuts

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Mon, 29 Aug 2016 20:47:22 | by Ron Kaplan

According to the Detroit Free Press, the Lions have cut veteran offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz.

Schwartz has had a hard time staying on his feet the last few seasons. He missed all but two games after signing with the NY Giants in 2014, and missed another five last season. Prior to that, Schwartz had stints with the Carolina Panthers, Minnesota Vikings, and Kansas City Chiefs.

According to a report on the NBC sports football page, Schwartz is “healthy now and ought to find work soon.” Let’s hope.

He and his younger brother Mitchell, currently with the Chiefs after four seasons with the Cleveland browns, collaborated on Eat My Schwartz, due out early next month.

Demonstration by Polish soccer fans features burning Jews in effigy

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Mon, 29 Aug 2016 20:02:33 | by Ron Kaplan

From the JTA:

Several dozen soccer fans in Poland hung a banner containing anti-Semitic language at a train station in Lodz at a demonstration that featured the burning of Jews in effigy.

Approximately 50 men were photographed on a bridge at the Lodz Kaliska station on Aug. 26 with a banner reading “19.08, today the Jews got a name. Let them burn,” followed by an obscenity, the Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper reported.

The message referenced to the ŁKS Łódź team, which was founded in 1908 and many Poles associate with Jews because of the rich Jewish history of Lodz. The city in central Poland had a large Jewish population before the Holocaust, partly because it was a capital of the local textile industry.

The fans, some wearing balaclavas, set fire to at least three puppets hanging from the bridge and are understood to symbolize burning Jews.

Police are looking for the demonstrators, who are suspected of incitement to racial hatred and intimidation, the daily reported.

JML update, weekend edition (games of Aug. 26-28, 2016)

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Mon, 29 Aug 2016 18:24:52 | by Ron Kaplan

Ryan Braun was 2-5 for the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday in their 5-3 loss to the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates. He was 0-4 the next day with a walk and two strikeouts and grounded out as a pinch hitter on Sunday, both Brewers losses.

Ian Kinsler sandwiched two more 0-4 games with his 23rd home run of the year. It came in the first inning but wasn’t enough to prevent the Detroit Tigers from losing to the visiting LA Angels, 3-2. This was the 38th time he’s led off a game with a homer.

It wasn’t a great day for several Tigers:

Alex Bregman just keeps on getting better. On Saturday he cracked his firth home run in his brief career and drove in another run to help the Houston Astros beat the visiting Tampa Bay Rays, 6-2. For the weekend, he totaled four hits in 11 at-bats, walked twice and scored three runs as the Astros took two out of three.

He also made this nifty play to end the fifth inning:

Danny Valencia was 3-4 for the Oakland A’s yesterday including his 18th double to get his batting average back over the .300 mark. He was 0-4 with a walk and was hit by a pitch as Oakland took two of three from the host St. Louis Cardinals.

Joc Pederson was 0-5 with three strikeouts for the LA Dodgers against the visiting Chicago Cubs (winning two of three), appearing twice as a pinch hitter and remaining in the game defensively.

Kevin Pillar did not play for the Toronto Blue Jays in their Friday game against the visiting Minnesota Twins. He did all right the other tweo days, going a combined 4-7 including two doubles (30 on the year now) and three runs scored.

Simone Biles, of Spring, who will participate in the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio, poses with Orbit and pitcher Scott Feldman after throwing out a ceremonial first pitch before the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners game at Minute Maid Park Monday, July 4, 2016, in Houston.  She performed a side aerial to throw the pitch. Photo: Melissa Phillip, Houston Chronicle / © 2016 Houston Chronicle

Scott Feldman picked up his seventh win by pitching just 2/3 of an inning in yesterday’s victory. Just goes to show, timing is everything. He was also the recipient of this unique ceremonial first pitch tossed by Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles.

Israeli medalist’s Olympic name patch raises over $50,000 for charity

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Mon, 29 Aug 2016 17:33:48 | by Ron Kaplan

From the JTA:

Israeli judoka Yarden Gerbi, a bronze medalist at the Rio Olympics, brought in $52,100 for charity in an auction for her Olympic name patch.

Yarden Gerbi of Israel celebrating victory over Miku Tashiro of Japan during the women's bronze medal judo bout on day four of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Carioca Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Aug. 9, 2016. (Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Twenty-two individuals placed 87 bids for the signed and dedicated patch during the weeklong auction on eBay that closed Monday. The buyer was not identified.

The proceeds will be donated to the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center to be used to purchase medical equipment, Gerbi said in her description on the auction website.

Gerbi defeated Miku Tashiro of Japan for Israel’s first Olympic medal since the 2008 games in Beijing. Another Israeli judoka, Ori Sasson, won a bronze medal in the men’s judo competition.

“The medal is for all of Israel, for everyone who supported me and cheered me on,” Gerbi said after her victory. “I’m waiting for someone to wake me up. I gave my soul and it paid off. Whoever said you can’t succeed in Israel is wrong.”

The phone book’s here! The phone book’s here!

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Mon, 29 Aug 2016 16:32:03 | by Ron Kaplan

Well, not exactly, but this is a nod to the Steve Martin classic, The Jerk.

The roster for the Israeli National team has been announced. As you can see, there are several members with Major League experience, including Craig Breslow, Ike Davis, Cody Decker, Nate Freiman, Ryan Lavarnway, Jason Marquis, Josh Satin, and Josh Zeid.  Nate Fish, “The King of Jewish Baseball” who will serve as a coach for the team, posted this item.

Current JMLs are, of course, unable to play since their season is still in progress. LA Dodgers sophomore Joc Pederson was on the 2013 team, as well Richard Bleier, who made his debut with the NY Yankees earlier this season.

Cutler, Satin, and Zeid were also members of the 2013 squad that lost out the chance to appear in the actual WBC with a 10-inning lost in their final game.

JML update, games of Aug. 24, 2016

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Thu, 25 Aug 2016 14:55:39 | by Ron Kaplan

Ryan Braun hit home runs No. 23 and 24 to lead the Milwaukee Brewers to a 7-1 win over the visiting Colorado Rockies. His solo shot in the fourth tied the game at 1-1. His seventh-inning two-run blast to straightaway center gave the Brewers a 5-1 lead.

Alex Bregman added his ninth double to his resume, his only hit in four at-bats. He also scored what proved to be the winning run for the Houston Astros in their 5-4 win over the host Pittsburgh Pirates.

Danny Valencia was 1-4 for the Oakland A’s in their 5-1 win over the host Cleveland Indians. He and Billy Butler were fined for the clubhouse altercation last week.

Kevin Pillar was 0-4 and Scott Feldman continued his shaky pitching for the Toronto Blue Jays in their 8-2 loss to the visiting LA Angels. Feldman allowed one run on three hits and two walks in 1.1 innings.

Joc Pederson struck out in two of his three at-bats as the LA Dodgers held off the visiting San Francisco Giants, 1-0.

The Detroit Tigers gave Ian Kinsler the night off. The struggling second baseman relzed by watching his team beat the host Minnesota Twins, 9-4.


Check your couch cushions

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Wed, 24 Aug 2016 19:25:21 | by Ron Kaplan

If you’ve got $5,000 laying around that you’re not doing anything with, consider supporting Team Israel as they prepare for the World Baseball Classic qualifiers, held this year at MCU Park in Coney Island, home of the Brooklyn Cyclones, the Mets’ single-A affiliate.

The fundraiser will be held Monday, Sept. 19, at 7 p.m. at the City Winery, 155 Varick Street in Manhattan. For more information, contact Peter Kurz, ASAP as space is limited.

Israel is scheduled to take on Great Britain on Sept. 22 at 7 p.m. Here’s info on tickets. Rosters are not yet set, but because the Major League season will still active, don’t look for Joc Pederson to be on the squad this time around. If Israel manages to qualify, though, any of the current JMLs — Pederson, Ryan Braun, Ian Kinsler, Scott Feldman, Kevin Pillar, Danny Valencia, and Alex Bregman — will be eligible to play, since those games are held during spring training.

Here’s a story I did back in 2012 in advance of the team’s first foray into international baseball competition. Members of that squad included current and former Major Leaguers such as Pederson, Richard Bleier, Josh Zeid, Cody Decker, Nate Freiman, Josh Satin, Shawn Green, Gabe Kapler with Ausmus, current manager of the Detroit Tigers, serving as skipper.


Moving forward in Olympic hosting…

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Wed, 24 Aug 2016 14:44:06 | by Ron Kaplan

Michael Powell wrote this excellent evaluation about the problems with hosting the Olympics, not just for Rio, but for previous venues and future ones.

Given the long-term impacts on the population and environment, I don’t know what any country would want to serve as host, aside from the few weeks of added attention and perhaps a bit of money (certainly not enough to cover the costs. When was the last time the Games turned a profit? Anybody?)

JML update, games of Aug. 23, 2016

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Wed, 24 Aug 2016 14:12:16 | by Ron Kaplan

Alex Bregman cracked his eighth double in 27 games and scored the only run for the Houston Astros in the 7-1 loss to the host Pittsburgh Pirates.

Welcome back,  Kevin Pillar. The Toronto Blue Jays outfielder returned to action after a stint on the 15-day disabled list. He was 1-4 with a run scored in their 7-2 win over the visiting LA Angels with none of his outstanding defensive plays. Scott Feldman pitched a scoreless ninth inning.

Ryan Braun came to bat four times without putting the ball in play: He struck out twice and walked twice (scoring once) as the Milwaukee Brewers beat the visiting Colorado Rockies, 6-4.

Ian Kinsler continues to spiral deeper into his slump, adding an 0-5 day to his worries. The Detroit Tigers beat the host Minnesota Twins, 8-3.

Danny Valencia was 2-5 including his 17th double of the year, and scored two runs as the Oakland A’s beat the visiting Cleveland Indians, 9-1. Details about his altercation with teammate Billy Butler have started to emerge. On the face of it, it just seems like a stupid couple of comments on Butler’s part, probably kidding when he tried to scotch an endorsement deal for Valencia.

Joc Pederson entered the game between the LA Dodgers and visiting San Francisco Giants as a defensive replacement, going 0-1 in a 9-5 win for his team.

JML update, games of Aug. 22, 2016

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Tue, 23 Aug 2016 15:14:26 | by Ron Kaplan

A typically light Monday:

After making a sweet defensive play in the eighth inning, Alex Bregman led off the ninth with his fourth home run to give the Houston Astros an insurance run in their 3-1 win over the host Pittsburgh Pirates. The solo shot was his only hit in four at-bats.

The LA Dodgers muscled up on the host Cincinnati Reds in their 18-9 win. Joc Pederson, however, was just a minor contributor, singling in five at bats, walking once, and scoring twice, including this play, which was upheld on challenge.

Ryan Braun contributed one of the Milwaukee Brewers’ four hits, but those were enough to beat the visiting Colorado Rockies, 4-2. Braun got credit for his 71st run of the year when he reached base on an error in the first.

Danny Valencia struck out as a pinch-hitter in the ninth as the Oakland A’s were shut out, 1-0, by the visiting Cleveland Indians. He’s come under a cloud following his altercation with teammate Billy Butler. The stories bring up a good point: what does it say about you when you move from team to team so often?


The Detroit Tigers were off last night, but this article makes a fun suggestion for those games that go deep into extra innings: bring in the managers! Brad Ausmus looks in pretty good shape. There was a time when teams tried to save some money by using playing managers. Some examples include Mickey Cochrane, who led the Tigers to a world’s championship in 1935; Lou Boudreau (supposedly a MOT), with the Indians in the 40s (he led the team to a World Series win in 1948); and Bucky Harris (Washington Senators, 1920s; world champs in 1927).


Sour grapes?

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Tue, 23 Aug 2016 14:30:10 | by Ron Kaplan

This, from the JTA. Unless Israel was the only country subjected to the “poor training conditions,” this comes across as just whining. I must admit, I don’t keep up with the serpentine world of rhythmic gymnastics, so I don’t know all the intrugue that goes on. But isn’t the “politics,” as inappropriate as it might be, a part of any sports organization?

Israel’s rhythmic gymnastics coach raps Olympic politics, poor training conditions

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The coach of Israel’s rhythmic gymnastics team said she never expected to win a medal, citing poor training conditions and politics as two reasons.

Ira Vigdorchik, whose contract with the national team expired at the end of the Olympics, told Israel’s Channel 2 that since Israel does not have a judge in the International Gymnastics Federation, there is no “neutralization of subjectivity.”

“Even if we were to do it without any mistakes, there is no chance to bring back a medal from the Olympic Games,” she said.

The team, which won a gold medal in the hoops and clubs discipline at the European Championships in June, finished sixth in the team competition in Rio on Sunday. Russia won the gold medal; Spain and Bulgaria tied for the silver.

Parents of the gymnasts have accused Vigdorchik of abusing team members verbally and physically, and drinking alcohol during training and competitions.

“I never changed how I looked at the girls, I never spoke to them or treated them differently. Everything in terms of training, attitude, belief and desire did not change” in the wake of the accusations, she told Channel 2.

Vigdorchik told Israel’s Channel 10 that her team’s poor training conditions at the Wingate Institute in central Israel prepared them for their practice in a “hot and wet tent” in Rio. She said all the teams that finished ahead of Israel in the final standings trained in the main gymnastics pavilion.


Olympic update: The end

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Mon, 22 Aug 2016 19:15:59 | by Ron Kaplan

So what will people remember most about the Olympics as it pertains to Jews? That Ally Raisman was successful in her final Games as the “grandma” of the U.S. Women’s team? That Israel won two medals? Or that the Egyptian exhibited poor sportsmanship by not shaking the hand of the Israel judoist who beat him? That Saudi Arabia forfeited a judo match just to avoid Israel? Or the bus incident? (Three strikes, man.)

Israel's Or Sasson, left, trying to shake hands with Egypt's Islam Elshehaby after their Olympic judo match in Rio de Janeiro, Aug. 12, 2016.(Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP/Getty Images)

The Forward ran this “glass half full” piece as the Games came to a close.

Here’s a rundown of how the Israeli delegation did in all their events.

And not to minimize anyone’s connection with Judaism, but items like this — “Physician with Jewish roots at center of Russia’s Olympic doping scandal” — really annoy me. How is it germane that this guy has Jewish roots? Does that explain why he did what he did? If anything, it just feeds into those who have in in for Jews anyway, like they need an excuse. Kind of like Bernie Madoff. Does the fact that he is Jewish have anything to do with the crime? Are the religious backgrounds of criminals in general or embezzlers in particular relevant?

Also, I can’t say I was in love with the way the Times covered the Games. I realize there are only so many ways you can report on the actual, you know, competition. And, yes, people are interested in some backstories, if they’re compelling enough. But all this side stuff about reporters trying to see how many events they can attend, not once but twice? Each set of Games has its set of problems; in this case it was the displacement of the impoverished locals to make way for the rich and famous to have a good time and how wasteful hosting the Olympics have become (weren’t they always) in conjunction with the temporary notoriety and income, which is almost never enough to match the host nation’s costs.

In yesterday’s “Week in Review,” there was this piece about how the Times has moved into the arena of producing video for Facebook, because people don’t actually read anymore (which seems counter intuitive given the length of those two pieces on covering one day’s program). I guess you get more eyes on a headline and hope they’ll click it for more.  That must explain this although, strictly speaking, it’s not a Facebook piece. While the topic of how men and women are covered by the media is very interesting, turning it into a sound bite seems like just doing it for the sake of doing it.

Okay, I think I need to go lie down now. All this complaining is just exhausting.

JML update, weekend edition (games of Aug. 19-21)

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Mon, 22 Aug 2016 16:02:45 | by Ron Kaplan

Alex Bregman is coming into his own. In  the first two games of the Houston Astros’ weekend sweep of the host Baltimore Orioles, the rookie infielder was 6-11 with two doubles (seven), his third home run (which gave them a 2-0 lead on Saturday in what would be a 12-2 decision), and five RBI. He was 0-4 in yesterday’s game, but we’ll ignore that.

Danny Valencia also homered on Saturday, his 15th. It came in the ninth and broke up a shutout bid as the Oakland A’s 4-2 loss to the host Chicago White Sox. Valencia was 4-9 in the first two games and did not play yesterday.

No homers for Ryan Braun but two doubles and five RBI in the Milwaukee Brewers set against the host Seattle Mariners. They avoided a three game sweep by scoring four runs in the ninth inning yesterday for a 7-6 win.

Ian Kinsler‘s woes continued: he was 0-10 for the Detroit Tigers who dropped two of three to the visiting Boston Red Sox. His average has fallen from .317 on June 6 to .278 and he has just two home runs this month.

Joc Pederson was 1-8 for the weekend series against the host Cincinnati Reds (two losses), including strikeouts in each of his four at-bats on Saturday. I wonder if this piece was written before that one.

Scott Feldman did not pitch for the Toronto Blue Jays who dropped two of three to the host Cleveland Indians. Although he’s been striking out batters at a great rate since coming over from the Astros, his ERA is almost 10 in his eight-plus innings. All things being equal, Kevin Pillar is due to return tomorrow. He appeared in two rehab games for the Jay’s Class-A affiliate in Dunedin, Fla., where he went 6-for-7 with a double, three runs scored, and two RBI.



Olympics update, Aug. 19, 2016

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Fri, 19 Aug 2016 16:35:51 | by Ron Kaplan

French Olympian apologizes for comparing Rio fans to Berlin games

Palestinian with Israeli roots wins Jordan’s first Olympic medal

I might get into trouble for this, but I really don’t care much anymore.

The Brian Lehrer Show recently featured a segment about “Olympic Level Sexism” in which several instances of perceived examples were raised. It’s easy for me, as a male, to gloss over some of these concerns, as did guest Mike Pesca, who pointed out that you can always find for instances of “wrongdoing” if you look hard enough.

The Olympics is never what we want it to be: a chance for people of all races, religious, sexism, etc., to compete on a global stage, free from all the “isms” out there. But, sadly, that is not the case. Something always intrudes, whether it’s nationalism, racism, or sexism.

I only have the experience of watching through the lens of American broadcasters who often nudge the good old red-white-and-blue, with a smattering of feel-good and/or empathetic/sympathetic profile of athletes from other countries, especially if they happen to be underdogs, because who doesn’t love a good underdog story?

And yes, they do highlight the “attractive” sports: the swimming, the gymnastics, the track-and-field (primarily runners). What do all these have in common? Good-looking people in tight and/or relatively skimpy clothing. Why do you think beach volleyball is so popular?

Compare that with what their male counterparts wear

One of the guests on the BLS said some of the male athletes have expressed a desire to play topless but Olympic officials denied the request because they would have a difficult time identifying the athletes without numbers/names on shirts. Really?

Another issue: women are sometimes (often?) described as being under the “control” of their (male) coaches, as if all the credit should go to them rather than the athlete. This isn’t the case for male athletes. Is this true? Someone who has the time to sit down and pore over the tapes and stories will have to tell me because I haven’t really been paying attention. And I don’t think that’s because I’m insensitive because I’m a man.

U.S. gymnast Gabby Douglass was criticized for not appearing happier with winning a silver to the degree that she neglected to pay proper respect during the medal ceremony

Look, you hate want to hang someone out to dry over one thoughtless display. And that’s the right word: thought-less. She wasn’t thinking about the ceremony, she was thinking about her personal disappointment. Maybe that’s slightly more forgivable in someone of her age and immaturity. Maybe she feels badly about this, maybe she doesn’t. Again, don’t really care. There are more pressing things to worry about.

So what’s the takeaway in all this? Perhaps it’s just not the place of someone who hasn’t walked a mile in the shoes of the aggrieved to say get over it, it’s not a big deal, life isn’t fair. On the other hand, in the words of the late Tug McGraw following the 1973 World Series between his NY Mets and the Oakland A’s, “Ten million years from now, when the sun burns out and the earth is just a frozen snowball hurling through space, nobody’s going to care whether or not I got this guy out.”

JML update, games of Aug. 18, 2016

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Fri, 19 Aug 2016 13:36:43 | by Ron Kaplan

Alex Bregman hit his second home run, his lone hit in four at-bats, but it was nowhere near enough to prevent the Houston Astros from losing to the host Baltimore Orioles, 13-5. He’s now up to the .200 mark in batting average. Small steps.

Ian Kinsler was 1-4 with a run scored for the Detroit Tigers in their 4-3 win over the visiting Boston Red Sox.

Maybe Ryan Braun came back too soon? He was 0-5 after missing a game for what at the time appeared to be a pretty serious leg injury. The Milwaukee Brewers lost to the juggernaut Cubs in Chicago, 9-6.

Joc Pederson was 0-4 with two strikeouts as the LA Dodgers fell to the host Philadelphia Phillies, 5-4.

No game for Scott Feldman and the Toronto Blue Jays.  Kevin Pillar remains out until next week at the earliest. Danny Valencia and the Oakland A’s also had the day off.


The Olympic spirit, movie division

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Thu, 18 Aug 2016 14:38:37 | by Ron Kaplan

Esquire  posted this piece on Gold, Silver, and Bronze-medal “winning” sports films. I’m sure there are some you feel deserve consideration that didn’t make their grad. Enjoy.

(P.S. – None of these selections have any Jewish content, unless you consider Rudy Stein in Bad News Bears or Ira Lowenstein in League.)

JML update, games of Aug. 17, 2016

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Thu, 18 Aug 2016 14:35:47 | by Ron Kaplan

Alex Bregman singled twice in four at bats and drove in the first run for the Houston Astros in their 8-2 loss to the visiting St. Louis Cardinals. He has hit in 11 of his last 13 games — hitting .312 since Aug. 6 — after getting just one hit in his first 32 at-bats.

Joc Pederson was 3-4 with a walk as the LA Dodgers beat the host Philadelphia Phillies 7-2.

In contrast to Bregman, Ian Kinsler has been struggling for the past several weeks. He was 0-3 with a walk last night in the Detroit Tigers’ 4-1 loss to the visiting KC Royals. He has three hits in his last 27 at bats going back seven games and his hitting a relatively poor .262 over the last 30.

Danny Valencia was 2-4, including his 15th double, as the Oakland A’s lost to the host Texas Rangers, 6-2. With the A’s mired in fourth place in the AL West (and just a game and a half out of last place), the team is making some changes. One of those includes cutting into Coco Crisp’s playing time. Why is that a major factor? Because he was set to get a bonus of $13 million by appearing in 130 games. At the rate he’s going, he’ll make 126. At 36, he’s not going to get too many more chances, so losing that money would be a hard pill to swallow. On the other hand, this is business and if I were in charge, I’d probably want to save the money, too. But it reminds me of the scene from the movie Eight Men Out in which a pitcher on the Chicago White Sox had been promised a bonus for winning 30 games. The owner, Charles Comiskey, was a notorious cheapskate and most probably had the manager keep the pitcher on the bench late in the season so he couldn’t reach the goal and get his bonus. When the ballplayer protested, Comiskey reminded him of the cold hard facts and refused to pay simply to be kind.

But I digress…

Scott Feldman did not appear for the Toronto Blue Jays in their 7-4 win over the host NY Yankees. Kevin Pillar remains on the disabled list but is “confident” he will return next Tuesday.

As expected, Ryan Braun — who injured his knee trying to catch a foul fly ball on Tuesday — was not in yesterday’s lineup as the Milwaukee Brewers dropped a 6-1 decision to the host Chicago Cubs. He announcers — pay attention to the game!


Olympic update, again

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Wed, 17 Aug 2016 15:14:36 | by Ron Kaplan

Just a few observations.

We know about the Egyptian who refused to shake the hand of the Israeli who beat him in a judo match. I asked on Facebook if sending him home was really a punishment. I would have assumed that, having lost, he was finished in the Olympics anyway. So sending him home a few days early was NBD. This was a few days after the Libyan team refused to ride on the same bus to the opening ceremonies with the Israeli delegation. So muh for the competition outweighing the political.

And sure, the ceremonies were impressive, but you don’t hear too much about all the impoverished locals who were displaced by this unnecessary spectacle.

Then there was sore loser Hope Solo who called the Swedish soccer team “a bunch of cowards” after they beat the US in a shootout.

Now there’s Irish boxer Michael Conlon who accused the sport’s governing body of cheating after his questionable loss to a Russian. (He might have a point. I don’t know. I didn’t see the fight and not an expert.)

It’s a shame that these get in the way of some wonderful accomplishments and stories.

I haven’t been watching a lot of the events, but I did happen to see South African 400 meter runner Wayde van Niekerk just after NBC ran a profile on him and his family and 74-year-old coach. And then he goes and wins, most improbably. How sweet was that?

Then there was Usain Bolt winning the 100. Again. And pausing an interview to be respectful as the U.S. national anthem was playing in the background.

But I’ll always roll my eyes when listening to some of the commentators who just can’t shut up especially during a judged event like gymnastics or diving, putting in there two sent s about flaws and deductions. That’s always struck me as picayune, like when the retired baseball player-turned-broadcaster starts complaining about today’s players.


It’s a shame