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

Senior moments

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Fri, 17 Apr 2015 15:05:28 | by Ron Kaplan

My 50-and-over softball season began yesterday. Not even sure what our team name is, since we don’t have uniforms. I’ve always been the type to say, just tell me when to show up and I’ll be there. I don’t need details.

Long story short, we lost. Outside the brief practice we had a few days ago, it was the first time I had picked up a bat or thrown a ball since we finished our season last year. Some of the guys play in several leagues. They talk about softball technology and equipment the way some car nuts talk about their autos. Never had much allure for me. Similarly, I consider myself uncoachable. Not that I’m arrogant or think I know it all. It’s just that I can’t put most suggestions into practice. I’m from the Tim McCarver school of philosophy. The former ballplayer/broadcaster always used to say, “You think long, you think wrong.”

In addition, I always seem to be the new guy, no matter how long I’m with the team. That is, the guys on my teams always seem to know each other, all seem to socialize afterwards. We have little in common and for someone who has never made friends easily, the prospect is too daunting.

In the seven years I’ve been in the league, I’ve only had one Jewish teammate, and he passed away in my second or third year (this is also an unfortunate reality of the situation). There is one team where most of the players seem to be Jewish; I wonder if I would feel more at home with them?

I was 0-4 in yesterday’s game, reaching base once on an error. I was the catcher, a fairly undemanding position but one that keeps you involved on every pitch. I don’t mind so much. I can play just about any position without embarrassing myself (except shortstop; poor range), although my arm isn’t what it once was either.

I used to keep track of my stats, taking pride in my accomplishments; now it all seems silly. I know my skills have been diminishing over the past few years. Gone are they days when I can hit the ball over the outfielders’ heads. So some day it will get to the point where I say, “What am I doing here? The hell with this.” But just as it’s hard to get rid of my baseball books, as previously discussed here, it would be hard to give up on the sporty side of life.


Jice update, playoff edition

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Fri, 17 Apr 2015 14:31:18 | by Ron Kaplan

Jason Zucker notched the first goal of the game for the Minn. Wild, who beat the host St. Louis Blues, 4-2 in opening round action. Zucker’s goal came just under three minutes into the first period. He took four shots on goal in 13:15 of ice time. Game two in the series is tomorrow.

Tonight sees the NY Islanders playing in Washington against the Capitals and the Nashville Predators hosting the Chicago Blackhawks. Neither Andre Burakovsky (Caps) nor Eric Nystrom (Predators) played in their teams’ first game. Both MOT teams trail in in their series, one game to none.


JML update, 4/17/15

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Fri, 17 Apr 2015 13:51:06 | by Ron Kaplan

Thursday are usually light on the schedule so there were just three games involving MOTs.

The Toronto Blue Jays (5-5) managed just four hits in their 4-2 loss to the visiting Tampa Bay Rays and none of them came from Kevin Pillar, who struck out in three of his four at bats. Pillars catch from the previous game was the subject of a segment on Pardon the Interruption yesterday. Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon compared it with another outstanding catch in a non-major league game (not sure if it was a minor league or college contest). The main difference was that Pillar scaled a 10-foot wall while the other outfielder jumped and fell over a much lower fence. Sine he falls out of sight, you can’t even be sure he really held onto the ball. You can listen to the show here (about the 16:20 mark), but it loses something without the visuals.

Danny Valencia appeared in the game as a defensive replacement at first base.

Ryan Braun was 1-4 as the Milwaukee Brewers (2-7) were shut out by the host St. Louis Cardinals, 2-0. Braun is batting just .261 and is still looking for his first extra base hit of the year.

The Detroit Tigers have the best record in the Majors early on at 8-1.  And that’s without the services of pitching ace Justin Verlander. So what are they saying about manager Brad Ausmus now?


JML update, 4/16/15

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Thu, 16 Apr 2015 16:24:54 | by Ron Kaplan

I’m not one to engage in hyperbole, but I would say Kevin Pillar pulled off one of the best catches I’ve ever seen. According to Ballparks.com, the height of the fences at the Rogers Centre, home of the Toronto Blue Jays, is 10 feet, but Pillar — who’s “only” six feet tall — shows a fantastic effort to take away a home run from Tim Beckham of the visiting Tampa Bay Rays. (Scroll down on the above link for Pillar’s explanation of his technique and notice the “divot” he left in the wall from his cleats.)

What I particularly like about the replays provided from the MLB site is that they show the coverage from both teams, so you get the “homerism,” from the home team, but also the version from the visiting crew.

I would point out the reaction by the player wearing Number 42, but yesterday everybody was wearing number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson’s debut in 1947. Up until 2013, Mariano Rivera was the last person to wear 42, but now that he retired, no one will ever have that privilege again. It is the only uniform number retired by Major League Baseball, as opposed to an individual team.

Pillar was also 2-4 at the plate in the 12-7 Jays win with his second double of the year. He scored twice and drove in his fourth run of 2015.

Fellow Blue Jay Danny Valencia flied out as a pinch hitter in the eighth.

Sam Fuld hit triple #3 (tied for tops in the American League) for the Oakland As lost to the host Houston Astros, 6-1. Fuld also has four doubles for the year, giving him seven extra base hits in his nine games. Teammate Ike Davis was 2-4 with his fourth double. They are batting .361 and .333, respectively.

Joc Pederson was on base in each of his plate appearances (one hit, three walks) and drove in RBI number four to help the LA Dodgers beat the visiting Seattle Mariners, 5-2. He also threw out a runner at the plate and made this nifty diving catch.

Ryan Braun was 2-5 and drove in one of the Milwaukee Brewers’ runs in a 5-2 loss to the host St. Louis Cardinals. Braun has yet to notch an extra base hit.

Ian Kinsler was 0-4 as the Detroit Tigers eked out a 1-0 win over the host Pittsburgh Pirates.

Jason Marquis allowed five runs (four earned) in the first three innings as the Cincinnati Reds were shut out by the host Chicago Cubs, 5-0 on juts four hits. Marquis (0-1) gave up seven hits, including a two-run homer in the opening frame. On the plus side, he has more strikeouts than hits allowed in his first two outings, 13-12. He struggled in his first game of the year, too, giving up two runs in the first two innings of what would be a 5-4 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. He settled down in that one, shutting down the Cards for the next four innings. Missed this the other day, but Marquis appeared as a pinch-hitter on April 12 as the Reds lost to the Cads 7-5 in 11 innings. Marquis — a lifetime .197 hitter with five home runs and 56 RBI — came to bat in the 11th inning with one out and a runner on base and  fouled out to the catcher

Craig Breslow made his fourth appearance of the season for the Boston Red Sox, throwing two scoreless innings in a 10-5 loss to the visiting Washington Nationals. Breslow has yet to allow a run through 6.2 innings of work.

Did not play: Ryan Lavarnway in a 7-5 Baltimore Orioles win over the visiting NY Yankees. Scott Feldman in the Astros’ game.

Collectively, the MOTs are doing great at the plate (stats through April 15):

Fuld 9 39 36 8 13 4 3 0 23 3 0 0 3 3 0 0 0.361 0.410 0.639 1.049
Davis 9 35 30 4 10 4 0 0 14 5 0 0 5 6 0 0 0.333 0.429 0.467 0.895
Kinsler 9 43 38 11 13 2 1 0 17 8 1 0 4 7 0 1 0.342 0.395 0.447 0.843
Braun 7 24 23 1 6 0 0 0 6 2 0 0 1 5 0 0 0.261 0.292 0.261 0.553
Pederson 9 36 29 6 9 3 0 1 12 4 1 2 7 11 0 0 0.310 0.444 0.517 0.962
Pillar 9 35 35 8 11 3 0 1 17 4 1 0 0 3 0 0 0.314 0.314 0.486 0.800
Valencia 4 6 6 1 2 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0.333 0.333 0.333 0.667
Lavarnway 2 7 6 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0.167 0.286 0.333 0.619
Marquis 3 4 4 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.250 0.250 0.250 0.500
61 229 207 40 66 17 4 2 93 26 3 2 21 36 0 1 0.319 0.380 0.449 0.829

I expect (hope?) that the power numbers will improve as Braun, Kinsler, Davis (and Pederson) heat up. Valencia is also good for some pop.

Jice update, Playooff edition

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Thu, 16 Apr 2015 14:38:43 | by Ron Kaplan

Andre Burakovsky was scratched by the Washington Capitals, who lost to the NY Islanders, 4-1, in opening round action.

Still suffering from that “lower body injury,” Eric Nystrom did not appear for the Nashville Predators, who lost to the visiting Chicago Blackhawks in double overtime, 3-2.

Tonight, Jason Zucker and the Minn. Wild visit the St. Louis Blues.

Jewps update, end regular season

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Thu, 16 Apr 2015 13:58:30 | by Ron Kaplan

One team goes home, the other moves on.

After coming on so strongly as a starter over the past several games, Omri Casspi had to miss the Sacramento Kings’ final game with gastroenteritis. The Kings (29-53) beat the host LA Lakers, 122-99, dooming them to their worst season in franchise history with a 21-61 record. Casspi averaged almost 20 points per game during April (compared with 8.9 PPG overall) and was especially effective during the last several days.   He appeared in 67 games 19 as a starter, 15 in the Kings’ last 16 contests. But while Casspi was fairly effective, the team wasn’t, compiling a 51-1 record during that span.

David Blatt‘s Cleveland Cavaliers had to  battle all night against the visiting Washington Wizards. Lebron James did suit up at all and the other starters played just half the game in the 113-108 overtime victory.

(As an aside, I know coaches up many playoff-bound  teams sit their stars, giving them a little extra rest, but what about the non-playoff teams? The players have the whole off-season to rest and the fans pay good money to see them play. So unless there’s some compelling reason to sit them, they owe it to their “clients” to put the best product out there.)

Blatt’s rookie season had its ups and downs. He was expected to win and people had little patience when the Cavs didn’t perform as expected, especially in the early going. There were even rumblings that Blatt would be fired, that he didn’t get along with some of his players, especially James.They finished second in the Eastern Conference and will face the #7 seed Boston Celtics.

The #8 seed — the Brooklyn Nets (yay) will test their mettle against the #1 Atlanta Hawks beginning on Sunday. Why they need two off-days between games in the same city I can’t figure out. They talk about the baseball season lasting too long. Maybe they should cut back and make the first round best-of-five with fewer days off. My vested interest, of course, is that it gives my daughter Rachel the opportunity for more freelance photo work with the Nets.


As for the other Jewish players who started the year in the NBA, Jordan Farmar was released by the LA Clippers after 36 games and wound up playing in Turkey. He could have signed with the Cavs, but said he didn’t want to be a backup anymore. This is a question I used to discuss with my friends, one of whom told me he would rather be the worst player on the best team than the best player on the worst team. Very altruistic. But I wonder if Farmar is regretting that decision now.

The final MOT, Gal Mekel, appeared in four games for the New Orleans Pelicans before they released him. He wound up with Nizhny Novgorod in the European League.

“Passing” thoughts

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Wed, 15 Apr 2015 15:39:00 | by Ron Kaplan

Note: This is going to be a sports-generated entry, although very personal. If you’re not into that kind of thing, feel free to skip this one.

Yesterday was an “interesting” day, and I’m still not sure how to define “interesting.”

For the first time in more than a year, I took up an opportunity to play tennis with my old group. I’ve been dealing with an unrelenting mild-to-moderate case of tennis elbow and carpal tunnel syndrome in my right arm which has severely curtailed my ability to exercise as I had in the past. This in turn has led to occasional bouts of depression, thinking about getting older and not being able to do some of the things I love, things that define me.

The group, with which I’ve played for about 10 years, is getting ready to sign up for next season, so I thought I’d give it a try, a test to see if I was up for rejoining. As expected, my game was off, but it wasn’t too bad, although the elbow hurt like hell. Part of it was the brace I now wear must have had remnants of previous heat lineament that seeped into my pores as the match progressed. Today, not so bad so that’s a good sign.

Let’s backtrack just a bit:

Because of the miserable, long winter, my 50-and-over softball league is getting a late start. I had not heard from the manager of the team on which I played last year; fortunately, the muscles used in softball are different and the elbow/CTS situation wasn’t that much of an issue. But because I had not heard, I started thinking, maybe they just don’t want me back and were just being cowardly (or indifferent) about telling me. Let’s be honest, I’m not the player at 57 I was at 50, when I was the “rookie of the year” for the team I was on at the time. Great for the confidence.

Finally got an e-mail on Friday that a practice would be held the next day. The season starts tomorrow (April 16).

Now would be an appropriate time to bring up another physical consideration: a strained abdominal muscle. At least I think that’s what it is. I had it before. Doctors have ruled out anything nefarious and advised it “just takes time,” that at this age the body doesn’t heal as fast, yada yada yada. Well, it lasted a looong time then mysteriously vanished. It has recently returned. So with that to deal with now, I wondered if I should just bag softball altogteher, at least for this year. The heart wants what the heart wants, and my heart wants me to play, even though my head (and abs) tell me to be prudent.

I went to the practice. Only four other guys showed up. Great. We just threw the ball around for a bit (no additional injuries, yay), but in that brief time I managed to break my glove. Another “dilemma” to deal with: fix or replace? I’ve had that glove for more than 20 years and it was the butt of a lot of jokes. But to buy a new one at this stage of the game, as it were, almost struck me as silly.


GloveSince the New Jersey Jewish News goes to press on Tuesdays, that’s usually a late night. With tennis scheduled for 9 p.m., it didn’t make sense to go all the way home and come all the way back (the venue is fairly close to the office). Instead, I decided to hit the local sporting goods store to check out gloves.

As I tired them on — marveling at how prices have increased since I last had to purchase one — I was reminded of the catchphrase for a high-end timepiece company: “The last watch you will ever own.” This always struck me as creepy and the fatalist in me ascribed it to other products: The last suit, the last roll of toilet paper, the last hot dog. At some point, they’re going to be right. I ended up buying a reasonably-priced model, realizing this probably would be the last glove I ever buy. Sad.

Sadder still — after buying the glove and a couple of slices of pizza (not at the same place), I was waiting in the parking lot of the tennis club when my wife called to tell me that my old camp friend, Della Hurwitz had died suddenly, the victim of a massive heart attack.


I met Della in 1977 at Camp Maromac, an upscale establishment in the Laurentian Mountains, some 70 miles northeast of Montreal. We were among a group of people up a few days early to get the place in order: painting, moving stuff, setting up the kitchen. Without the campers around yet, the group developed an extra bond of accomplishment. Della, three years my senior, struck me as a serious yet sarcastically funny person who seemed to keep most at an arm’s distance. She was also quite stubborn, refusing to accept help, even in the face of substantial difficulties.I later made the acquaintance of her sister, Della, and her then-fiance/later-to-be-divorced husband, Brian, who also became fast friends. In my memory, I see Della, Debbie, and I sitting around their parent’s kitchen table after camp ended, shooting the breeze and thinking about what the future held.

Suffice it to say, Della made quite an impression and I emulated her in many ways, most notably in taking up running seriously. In a roundabout way, Della was responsible for my future: If I had not taken up running, I never would have joined the NY Road Runners Club; would never have answered the personal ad placed by my now-wife, Faith, in the club’s monthly magazine; and would never have had our great daughter, Rachel. Funny how things work.

Although Della and I had not been in regular touch for the last decade or so, she remained an important part of my younger days. Her passing is another reminder — as if I needed one — that that’s gone, too.




The “No Dry Eye” Zone

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Tue, 14 Apr 2015 16:24:41 | by Ron Kaplan

Offered for your view, two videos regarding very emotional situations:

The Urmans happen to be Jewish, not that it should make a difference in matters like this.

JML update, 4/14/15

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Tue, 14 Apr 2015 16:06:14 | by Ron Kaplan

In the  first MOT-on-MOT meeting, Scott Feldman and the Houston Astros took on Sam Fuld, Ike Davis, and the Oakland As. Suffice it to say, it did not go well for Feldman, who gave up all eight runs (seven earned) on 10 hits (three home runs), with a walk and zero strikeouts in the 8-1 loss. Feldman continues he Jekyll and Hyde ways, following up a decent performance with a stinker. His record drops to 0-2. Fuld was 1-4 with a walk and two runs scored. He reached on an error in the first and grounded into a double play in the second before singling off Feldman in the fifth; Davis was 1-3 with a walk — both courtesy of Feldman — and an RBI, his fifth in seven games.

Kevin Pillar had one of the Toronto Blue Jays’ two hits (a double) and scored their only run in a 2-1 loss to the visiting Tampa Bay Rays.

Ian Kinsler was 1-4 with his second double of the year and scored a run, but the host Pittsburgh Pirates handed the  Detroit Tigers their first loss of the season, 5-4.

Ryan Braun was 1-4 with a run scored as the Milwaukee Brewers held off the host St. Louis Cardinals, 5-4.

Joc Pederson was 1-4 with two RBI to help the LA Dodgers beat the visiting Seattle Mariners, 6-5, in 10 innings.

Did not appear: Craig Breslow in the Boston Red Sox’s 9-4 win over the Washington Nationals: (Schadenfreude: I know it’s way early, but the chesty Nats, been picked to win the whole shooting match, have lost five of their first seven games.) Ryan Lavarnway in the Baltimore Orioles’ 6-5 loss to the NY Yankees. Jason Marquis in the Cincinnati Reds’ 10-inning, 7-6 loss to the Chicago Cubs. Danny Valencia in the Blue Jays-Rays game.

Paying it forward

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Tue, 14 Apr 2015 15:31:03 | by Ron Kaplan

NadelA few weeks ago, I published a Q&A with Matt Nadel, the 16-year-old blogger and author of Amazing Aaron to Zero Zippers. So I got this brilliant of idea of killing two birds with one stone: cleaning up and “investing” in the future of baseball scholarship.

I’ve been trying to cull the herd of my baseball library with little success, but I thought, here’s someone — a budding baseball historian — who might appreciate adding a few books to his own collection. So accompanied by his dad, Steve, he came over to the house to take his pick. Have to say, I was hoping he’d take more than the 60 or so volumes he selected, but you have to start someplace.


Jice update, Playoff edition April 14

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Tue, 14 Apr 2015 15:17:00 | by Ron Kaplan

In first round action tonight, Andre Burakovsky and the Washington Capitals host the New York Islanders  and the Nashville Predators while the Nashville Predators host the Chicago Blackhawks. Eric Nystrom is listed on the Predators’ roster but it is questionable whether he will be on the ice.

Jewps update, April 14, 2015

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Tue, 14 Apr 2015 14:39:29 | by Ron Kaplan


  • For the second straight night, Omri Casspi was dubbed by ESPN.com as the star for the Sacramento Kings. Last night he led the team with 26 points (in 37 minutes as a starter) and six assists. He also had nine rebounds as the Kings beat the depleted LA Lakers 102-92. The Lakers had six “DNPs (did not play), including one player out with a fractured kneecap, one with a sprained ankle, one with a sore left knee, and one out with the designation “right shoulder.”
  • Evidently David Blatt‘s Cleveland Cavaliers were just fooling around when they lost back-to-back games to the Boston Celtics, the second by almost 40 points. Yesterday they got back to business,defeating the visiting Detroit Pistons, 109-97. Despite his success in his rookie year, don’t look for Blatt to get much consideration for Coach of the Year honors; anyone who took over the Cavaliers was pretty much expected to make it deep into the playoffs, given the personnel.


  • Both teams finish out the string on Wednesday: the Cavs host the Washington Wizards while the Kings visit the Lakers.
  • The Brooklyn Nets are in a precarious position. They lost last night to the visiting Chicago Bulls, 113-86. At one point while I was watching, they were down by seven. I come back a few minutes later from the Yankees game and they were down by 26! What the hell? They dropped out of the eighth playoff spot (37-44) in the East by a half game to the Indiana Pacers (37-43). As far as I can tell, the Nets have to win their finale tomorrow against the 25-56 Orlando Magic (doable) and the Pacers have to lose one of their last two games against tough opponents: the Washington Wizards (46-34) tonight or the Memphis Grizzlies (57-24) tomorrow. Maybe the lack of rest will work against them. The Nets beat the Pacers in two of their three meetings, so if they both finish with the same record, the Nets would gain the last spot.

JML update, weekend edition

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Mon, 13 Apr 2015 16:36:23 | by Ron Kaplan

As mentioned earlier today, Kevin Pillar and Joc Pederson had the first two MOT home runs of the season, but the rest of the boys were no slouches either, for the most part.

Jason Marquis had a rough couple of innings in hist first start for the Cincinnati Reds, allowing three runs in the first two frames. But he was solid after that, tossing four shutout innings before coming out with the Reds leading the visiting St. Louis Cardinals, 4-3. Unfortunately, the bullpen let his first win of the year slip away even though Cincy eventually won, 5-4. Marquis allowed five hits and gave up two walks in his six innings but struck out seven. He was also singled to second to start the third inning and scored ahead of Joey Votto’s second home run of the game. Marquis is a lifetime .197, pretty good for a pitcher.

Both Sam Fuld and Ike Davis are off to hot starts for the Oakland As. Fuld already has four extra base hits (two doubles, two triples) while Ryan Braun is still looking for his first extra base knock.

The last line of the following tables is the year-to-date totals. Stats are as of end of play on April 12 and are provided by Baseball-Reference.com (Don’t get on me for the presentation of the weekend wrap; this is a work in progress.)

Ian Kinsler, Detroit Tigers (6-0, 1st, AL Central)

Date      Opp Rslt AB  R  H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB   BA
Apr 9     MIN W7-1  3  2  0  0  0  0   0  2  1  0 .364
Apr 11    CLE W9-6  5  3  4  0  0  0   2  0  1  0 .455
Apr 12    CLE W8-5  3  2  1  0  0  0   0  2  0  1 .440
                   25 10 11  1  1  0   7  4  4  1 .440

Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers (1-5, fifth, NL Central)

Date    Opp  Rslt AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB   BA
Apr 10   PIT  L2-6  4 0 1  0  0  0   0  0  2  0 .286
Apr 11   PIT  W6-0  3 0 0  0  0  0   0  1  1  0 .200
Apr 12   PIT L2-10  4 0 1  0  0  0   0  0  1  0 .214
                   14 0 3  0  0  0   1  1  5  0 .214

Ike Davis, Oakland As (3-4, fourth, AL West)

Date     Opp  Rslt AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB   BA
Apr 10   SEA W12-0  5 2 3  2  0  0   4  0  0  0 .286
Apr 11   SEA  L4-5  2 0 1  1  0  0   0  0  1  0 .313
Apr 12   SEA  L7-8  3 1 1  0  0  0   0  0  1  0 .316
                   19 4 6  3  0  0   4  4  5  0 .316

Sam Fuld, Oakland As

Date     Opp  Rslt AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB   BA
Apr 10   SEA W12-0  5 2 3  0  0  0   1  0  0  0 .412
Apr 11   SEA  L4-5  3 0 0  0  0  0   0  0  1  0 .350
Apr 12   SEA  L7-8  4 1 2  2  0  0   2  1  0  0 .375
                    24 5 9  2  2  0   3  2  1  0 .375

Kevin Pillar, Toronto Blue Jays (4-2, T First, AL East)

Date    Opp  Rslt AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB   BA
Apr 10   BAL W12-5  5 1 1  1  0  0   0  0  0  0 .294
Apr 11   BAL  L1-7  3 0 0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0 .250
Apr 12   BAL W10-7  4 1 1  0  0  1   1  0  1  0 .250
                   24 5 6  1  0  1   2  0  3  1 .250

Danny Valencia, Toronto Blue Jays

Date      Opp Rslt AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB   BA
Apr 11    BAL L1-7  1 0 0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0 .000
                    5 1 2  0  0  0   0  0  1  0 .400

Joc Pederson, Los Angele Dodgers (3-3, third NL West)

Date      Opp Rslt AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB   BA
Apr 10    ARI L3-4  4 1 1  0  0  0   0  0  0  0 .214
Apr 11    ARI L0-6  3 0 0  0  0  0   0  0  3  0 .176
Apr 12    ARI W7-4  4 2 3  1  0  1   1  1  1  0 .286
                   21 5 6  3  0  1   1  3  9  1 .286

Ryan Lavarnway, Baltimore Orioles (3-3 T second, AL East)

Date      Tm Opp  Rslt AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB   BA
Apr 12   BAL TOR L7-10  4 0 0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0 .167
                        6 0 1  1  0  0   0  1  0  0 .167

Craig Breslow, Boston Red Sox (4-2, T first, AL East)

Date      Opp  Rslt  IP H R ER BB SO HR  ERA BF
Apr10     NYY  W6-5 2.0 0 0  0  0  1  0 0.00  7
Apr12     NYY L4-14 1.2 0 0  0  3  1  0 0.00  7
                    4.2 1 0  0  4  3  0 0.00 19

Scott Feldman did not pitch over the weekend for the Houston Astros, who are 3-3 and tied for first place in the AL West. He works the opener today as the As come to Houston.

Finally, where’s PETA when you need them? This little guy seems to have been out of his element when forced into labor in Cincinnati yesterday where the weather was 67 degrees and sunny. (And how do we know the critter  was “lovable?”) It’s just a little thing, but if you’re going to promote this as a penguin delivering a baseball, shouldn’t you, like, show the baseball?



Jewps update, weekend edition

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Mon, 13 Apr 2015 15:30:14 | by Ron Kaplan

Omri Casspi had perhaps his best game in his NBA career yesterday when he had team-highs in points (22) rebounds (seven), and assists (seven) in 35 minutes as a starting shooting forward. Glass half-full, since the Sacramento Kings lost to the host Denver Nuggets, 122-111. On Friday he played 28 minutes, scoring 15 points with six rebounds and one steal in a 116-103 loss to the host Oklahoma City Thunder.

With the Cleveland Cavaliers headed for the playoffs, David Blatt rested most of his starters in yesterday’s game against the visiting Boston Celtics and it showed: the Celtics whomped their host by almost 40 points (117-78). They had already lost to the same team on Friday in Boston, but by a much more respectable margin, 99-90.

Tonight the Cavs host the Detroit Pistons while the Kings do the same for the LA Lakers.

Lastly, The New York Times ran this piece featuring basketball Hall of Famer Dolph Schayes, marking the  60th anniversary of  the seventh and deciding game of the 1955 N.B.A. championship series between the Fort Wayne Pistons and the Syracuse Nationals.


Tucker, left, Billy Kenville, center, and Dolph Schayes on Friday, the 60th anniversary of their N.B.A. championship. Credit: Heather Ainsworth for The New York Times

I wonder what they would have thought of the practice of players saluting each other at the free throw line, as reported by the Times on Saturday.)


Jice update, end of regular season

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Mon, 13 Apr 2015 14:55:17 | by Ron Kaplan

That’s all she wrote for the majority of the Jewish hockey players.


Andre Burakovsky played 13:33 for the Washington Capitals in their 4-2 loss to the visiting NY Rangers. The Caps (45-26-11) finished fourth in the Eastern Conference and move on to the playoffs where they will face the NY Islanders.

The Nashville Predators lost to the host Dallas Stars, 4-1, in their last game of the year. Eric Nystrom was out once again and seems questionable for the playoffs. Their record of 47-25-10 was good for third place in the Western Conference. They play the Chicago Blackhawks in the postseason.


Jason Zucker played 15:22 in the Minn. Wild’s 4-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues. They finished in sixth place in the West at 46-28-8 and will face the St. Louis Blues in first round action.


Michael Cammalleri had an assist on the NJ Devils’ last goal of the year in a 3-2 loss to the host Florida Panthers. The Devils finished with a record of 32-36-14, 13th in the East.


It was a lost season for the San Jose Sharks’ Mike Brown, who played just 12 games (without a goal or assist), including 11:26 in the finale, a 4-1 loss to the host LA  Kings. The Sharks finished at 40-33-9, 12th in the West.

Jason Demers played 16:36 for the Stars in their win over the Predators. The Stars ended the campaign at 41-31-10, 10th in the West.

Other MOTS who had a “cup of coffee” in the NHL this season included Dylan Reese of the Arizona Coyotes and David Warsofksy of the Boston Bruins

What’s the point?
End of Regular Season

Player Games Goals Assists Points
Mike Brown, SJ Sharks 12 0 0 0
Andre Burakovsky, Wash. Capitals 53 9 13 22
Michael Cammalleri, NJ Devils 68 27 15 42
Jason Demers, SJ Sharks / Dallas Stars 81 5 20 25
Eric Nystrom, Nash. Predators 60 7 5 12
Dylan Reese, Ariz. Coyotes 1 0 0 0
Trevor Smith, Tor. Maple Leafs 54 2 3 5
David Warsofksy, Boston Bruins 3 0 1 1
Jason Zucker, Minn. Wild 51 21 5 26

And the honor goes to…

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Mon, 13 Apr 2015 13:46:32 | by Ron Kaplan

The first MOT home run of the year was hit by Kevin Pillar of the Toronto Blue Jays in the third inning of yesterday’s 10-7 win over the host Baltimore Orioles. At the time, it gave the Jays a 3-2 lead.

Pillar also made two great defensive plays.

Runner-up: A few hours later, Joc Pederson connected on his first career round-tripper (and RBI) as the LA Dodgers beat the host Arizona Diamondbacks, 7-4.

JML update, April 9, 2015

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Thu, 09 Apr 2015 14:07:18 | by Ron Kaplan

Ian Kinsler was 2-4 with a sacrifice fly, two runs scored, and four RBI to help the Detroit Tigers beat the visiting Minn. Twins, 11-0. This marks the first time the franchise has won its first two games via shutout.

Kevin Pillar was 1-4 with a run scored and Danny Valencia grounded out as a pinch hitter in the ninth as the Toronto Blue Jays lost to the host NY Yankees, 4-1.

Ryan Lavarnway got the start behind the plate for the Baltimore Orioles. He doubled in two official at bats and walked as the Os were shutout by the host Tampa Bay Rays, 2-0.

Ryan Braun was not in the starting lineup for the Milwaukee Brewers but he still contributed. He came to bat as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning with his team trailing the visiting Colorado Rockies, 4-2. Braun had an infield single to cut the lead to one run. Carlos Gomez followed with the game-tying RBI but the Brewers lost in the 10th, 5-4, on Wilin Rosario’s pinch-hit homer.

Scott Feldman deserved better. The Houston Astros’ starter gave up one run on five hits in 6.2 innings, but one of those hits was a home run. He ended up taking the loss Astros could muster just four hits en route to a 2-0 loss to the the visiting Cleveland Indians. Feldman struck out five and walked none, surpassing any outing he had during spring training.

Joc Pederson doubled in three at bats and scored a run as the LA Dodgers beat the visiting San Diego Padres, 7-2. It was Pederson’s second two-bagger on the young season. Teammate Adrian Gonzalez is batting a ridiculous .729 (10-13) with. He has homered in each of the first three games (five in total) and has driven in seven of the Dodgers’ 16 runs. Crazy, man.

DNPs: Ike Davis and Sam Fuld in the Oakland As’ 10- win over the Texas Rangers; Craig Breslow in the Boston Red Sox’s 4-2 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies; Jason Marquis in the Cincinnati Reds’ 5-4 11-inning win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Jewps/Jice update, April 9, 2015

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Thu, 09 Apr 2015 13:39:50 | by Ron Kaplan
  • David Blatt‘s Cleveland Cavaliers won heir fourth straight, coming out on top of the host Milwaukee Bucks, 104-99. The clinched clinched the Central Division title and the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. Tonight they host the Boston Celtics.
  • Also tonight, Omri Casspi and the Sacramento Kings visit the Oklahoma City Thunder.


Each of the three games were “MOT teams” and each was a shut out. Strange.

  • Andre Burakovsky played 11:23 as the Washington Capitals (45-25-11) beat the visiting Boston Bruins, 3-0.
  • Jason Demers played 21:02 in the Dallas (40-31-10) Stars’ 4-0 win over the host Anaheim Ducks.
  • Trevor Smith missed another game with his upper body injury as the Toronto Maple Leafs (30-44-7) lost to the host Columbus Blue Jackets, 5-0.
  • Tonight: Michael Cammalleri and the NJ Devils visit the Tampa Bay Lightning. Jason Zucker and the Minn. Wild visit the Nashville Predators (Eric Nystrom). Mike Brown and the San Jose Sharks visit the Edmonton Oilers.



Breaking JML news: Kinsler klouts in Tigers’ win

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Wed, 08 Apr 2015 20:58:13 | by Ron Kaplan

Ian Kinsler went 2-4 with a sacrifice fly, two runs scored, and four RBI to help the Detroit Tigers improve to 2-0 with their 11-4 win over the visiting Minn. Twins.

Kinsler connects for a two-run single during the third inning against the Twins. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Kinsler connects for a two-run single during the third inning against the Twins. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

JML Update, April 8

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Wed, 08 Apr 2015 14:36:21 | by Ron Kaplan

I dislike Day Two of the regular season. Many teams have adopted the practice of taking off the day after their opener. I’m guessing the decision has to do with the possibility of inclement weather that could postpone the first game, combined with the hope that the open date will be better?

Anyway, there weren’t that many MOT teams in action yesterday.

Sam Fuld had his second triple in as many games and scored the lone run in the Oakland As’ 3-1 loss to the visiting Texas Rangers. Fuld, who batted in the leadoff spot, also single in four at bats. Ike Davis, batting fifth and played first base, was 1-3 with his third walk in two contests.

Joc Pederson was 0-4 with two strikekouts in the LA Dodgers’ 7-3 loss to the visiting San Diego Padres. I only saw his first at bat and he didn’t look great as he went down swinging. But I’d rather have that then a called third strike.

Ryan Braun was absent from yesterday’s Milwaukee Brewers’ 5-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies. According to ESPN.com:

Braun was not in the starting lineup, a day after leaving the team’s opener because of a strain in his right side. Braun had an MRI on Tuesday morning. “The results were good,” manager Ron Roenicke said. “He should be back in there tomorrow.” Braun insisted the injury isn’t significant. “From that perspective I’m fortunate and encouraged by it. Yesterday I wasn’t sure,” he said.

Scott Feldman — who had a terrible spring training — gets the start for the Houston Astros who hope to keep their record perfect as they host the Cleveland Indians.

The Baltimore Orioles promoted catcher Ryan Lavarnway to the active roster. He is slated as the backup catcher, but if Caleb Joseph (one hit in seven at bats through the first two games) continues to perform poorly, maybe Lavarnway will get a shot.