Fastballs not matzah balls
Here’s this year’s list of Jewish major leaguers. All the players below have at least one Jewish parent and were raised Jewish or secular. This list was prepared with the aid of Jewish Sports Review.
The number of Jewish players is down this year: The Dodgers cut outfielder Gabe Kapler, 34, at the end of spring training and Texas Rangers pitcher Scott Feldman, 27, a Burlingame native, is recovering from surgery and is out indefinitely.
On major league rosters: Ryan Braun, 27, outfielder, Milwaukee Brewers. The 2007 National League rookie of the year, Braun has made the N.L. all-star team every year since 2008, and he had another outstanding year in 2010 (.304, 25 homers, 103 RBIs); Craig Breslow, 30, relief pitcher, Oakland A’s. Now in his third season with the A’s, Breslow was effective in 2010, notching four wins, five saves and a 3.01 ERA in 75 appearances. He has a degree from Yale in biophysics and biochemistry, and was named by the Sporting News as the smartest professional athlete in any pro sport; Ike Davis, 23, first basemen, New York Mets. In his rookie season, Davis hit .264 with 71 RBIs. Plus he can field; Sam Fuld, outfielder, Tampa Bay Rays. The former Stanford star played only 19 games with the Cubs last season and was traded to Tampa in the off-season. He is off to a hot start; John Grabow, 32, relief pitcher, Chicago Cubs. After a serious knee injury in 2010, the team is hoping he’ll return to form; Ian Kinsler, 28, second base, Texas Rangers. After launching 31 homers in 2009, he was injured last year and his power stats declined. But he did hit three homers in 16 postseason games (as the Rangers made it to the World Series); Jason Marquis, pitcher, Washington Nationals. Alternately brilliant and ineffective in 10 years as a big leaguer, Marquis was out for much of 2010 with injuries; Danny Valencia, 26, third base, Minnesota Twins. He was called up to the big club in June and had a good rookie season, hitting .311 with seven homers; Kevin Youkilis, 32, Boston Red Sox. He was a 2010 All-Star and was posting his usual great numbers when an injury on Aug. 2 sidelined him for the rest of 2010.
A sweet teen movie
Walt Disney Studios’ “Prom” focuses on how a number of incipient romantic couples get together, rather than on just one romance. Opening Friday, April 29, the movie is about the excitement over an upcoming high school prom.
The director is Joe Nussbaum, 38, who specializes in non-raunchy teen movies (“Sydney White”) and is a practicing Jew who keeps kosher. The cast includes relative newcomers, such as Jared Kunitz, 20, and Jonathan Keltz, 23. Last year, Keltz joined HBO’s “Entourage,” playing the new assistant to star character Ari Gold.
Rivers does royalty
Joan Rivers, 77, is at her best when she has a focused target for her acerbic humor — so I’m looking forward to the special royal wedding edition of her E! show “The Fashion Police.” (10 p.m. Friday, April 29 with many encore showings). Kathy Griffin, who says Rivers is her role model, will offer her vinegar-laced comedic take on the nuptials on the TV Guide Channel at
8 p.m. the same night. I expect these two women will provide the only reality check on the “royal fairy tale” mishigas on the other stations. It’s worth recalling that Princesses Margaret and Anne and Princes Charles and Andrew all had “fairy tale marriages” that ended in divorce.
Columnist Nate Bloom, an Oaklander, can be reached at email@example.com.