Bagels, Lox and Baseball

June 24, 2008 – 12:29 am by Matthew Glenesk

I’m sure you’ve picked up by now the fact that I’m a fantasy addict. I’ll play fantasy anything, and pretty much have, including golf and NASCAR. It was only a matter of time before I incorporated my faith with my passion for fantasy leagues. No, I didn’t join a rabbinical fantasy league, though Shlomo Goren would’ve been a hell of a pick.

Instead I figured I’d pick something us Jews are synonymous with – running Hollywood.

In honor of Jewish funny fan Mel Brooks, we named the league “The Producers,” and each of the eight teams has five producers (all members of the Tribe). At the end of the year, the teams whose producers grossed the most dollars at the U.S. box office wins. Oh, and it’s a keeper league.

It’s pretty simple. There are plenty of names to choose from. Steven Spielberg, Ivan Reitman, Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, Adam Sandler, Harvey Weinstein and the Coen Brothers, to list a few.

But the bell cow by far is Jerry Bruckheimer, who just happens to share a birthday with yours truly. Bruckheimer is the Dan Marino of Hollywood. He puts up huge stats but can never seem to win the big game, coming closest early in his career.

I mean the dude produced studs like “Top Gun,” “Beverly Hills Cop” and “The Rock” during a 12-year stretch only to give us “Kangaroo Jack,” “Pearl Harbor” and the last two installments of “Pirates of the Caribbean” more recently. But The Bruck, for lack of a better word, produces. The second “Pirates” pulled in more than $423 million alone.

For years I dominated the league after pulling off a 3-for-1 deal to get my hands on Spielberg. Then Stevie Poo stopped making movies. In 2003, he gave me shit. I mean absolutely nothing and a year later all I got was “The Terminal,” a cute flick but not the box office juggernauts I was used to. So fed up, I pulled off what has been called the worst deal since Napolean signed over half of the United States to Thomas Jefferson.

The deal: Spielberg for the Reiners, Rob and Carl.

Well since the deal, Spielberg has gone on to produce seven films, including “Munich,” “Flags of our Fathers,” “Transformers” (which brought in $318 million) and the latest “Indiana Jones” installment.

The Reiners have given me one film combined – “The Bucket List.”

My fall from grace has soured me on the league, so imagine my excitement when I found a new way to work my faith into my fantasy fixation.

Baseball!

Baseball?

Yup, baseball. This might come as a shock as the Jew athletic heyday has long since passed. Heck, we’re so bad the U.S. turned a light-hitting Jewish catcher into a spy (see Berg, Moe).

Now it remains to be seen if there’s a Sandy Koufax, Hank Greenberg, Steve Stone or Moses Solomon in the group, but don’t look now, there’s a minor revolution brewing (I blame intermarriage).

Who can forget the summer of 1999? The Tribe (no, not Cleveland) had two All-Stars (Shawn Green and Brad Ausmus) and thought it had a third. But Mike Lieberthal broke Hebrew National hearts claiming to be as Jewish as Mel Gibson.

However, in this year’s edition of the Midsummer Classic, there might actually be three lox and bagel eaters called into action: Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun, Boston’s Kevin Youkilis and Texas’ Ian Kinsler.

That got me thinking. If three were good enough for an All-Star team, that must mean there are at least enough Jewish ballplayers to field a viable fantasy team, no?

It’s harder than you’d think. At first glance, you think there might be a bunch. But it’s easy to be fooled by Jewish sounding names (just ask the Florida Marlins).

Gary Majewski, not a Jew. David DeJesus isn’t either. Neither is J.J. Putz (which I’ve been called a few times) nor Kevin Mench.

Zimmerman, Berkman and Eckstein sounds more like a Philadelphia law firm than a batting order, but alas they all subscribe to the Jesus walking on water notion.

It’s definitely a top heavy group, and if this were my actual fantasy team I’d better wait for football season to start up, but let me have a little fun.

The Sports Yentas
3BRyan Braun, Milwaukee (.285, 20 HR, 55 RBI)
I know he plays left field now, but the former University of Miami star was a third baseman up until last year when people realized his fielding was as bad as the movie “Jumper.” Seriously, I watched that piece of shit on the plane ride home from Europe. And with nothing better to do, I was still tempted to take my earpiece out and READ! The Hammerin’ Hebrew is undoubtedly the top Jew in the game. He’s hotter than a corn beef sandwich on rye from Katz’s Delicatessen on the Lower East Side.

1BKevin Youkilis, Boston (.305, 13 HR, 47 RBI)
While Braun struggles with the glove, “Youk” handles the leather better than most Dr. Goldbergs and Steins handle scalpels. Youkilis broke the Major League record for errorless games by a first baseman (194) earlier this year and is among the Red Sox most important hitters. Of note, Youkilis had one line in Melanie Griffith and Ed Harris’ warming story of a prostitute and a 12-year old kid in “Milk Money.”

2BIan Kinsler, Texas (.305, 12 HR, 47 RBI)
The surprise package of our All-Heeb fantasy team. The 26-year old ranks 1st in the AL in runs (64), 5th in steals (19) and 9th in RBI (47). Glad to see he got a five-year contract extension and raise earlier this year because, you know, his brother is a doctor.

SSMe. The Sweaty ABCs (.260, 0 HR, 4 RBI)
Those are my softball stats from senior year in college. There is no Jewish shortstop currently in the majors and there isn’t much evidence that there ever was one. Though they say Hall of Famer Lou Boudreau was half-Jewish. And no, Eddie Zosky doesn’t count.

CF - Gabe Kapler, Milwaukee (.311, 5 HR, 22 RBI)
Former Minor Leaguer of the Year, Kapler is known simply as “The Body.” There hasn’t been a Jew this jacked since Judah Maccabee.

RFBrian Horwitz, San Francisco (.292, 2 HR, 4 RBI)
OK, so he’s not an everyday player (11 pinch hit appearances, just four starts), but we’re running thin.

LFRyan Spilborghs, Colorado (.299, 4 HR, 24 RBI)
With Matt Holliday coming back from injury Spilborghs’ playing time is going to be cut like a knife through warm challah. But hopefully Brad Hawpe keeps hitting under .260. Spilborghs is a nice utility player to have around.

C - Brad Ausmus, Houston (.221, 1 HR, 10 RBI)
OK, so he hits like a Jew, but the man fields his position. A three-time Gold Glover, Ausmus, a career .252 hitter, ranks fifth all-time of all Jewish major leaguers in hits and eighth in RBI and home runs. That sums it up right there.

SPJason Marquis, Chicago Cubs (6-3, 4.43 ERA)
I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for Marquis. A few years back when I was covering the Reds-Cardinals series, I made my way to the Cards’ dugout before the game and was doing an enterprise piece that basically required me to interview as many players as possible. Knowing Marquis was on my “team,” I made sure to track him down. So, I approached him and asked him if I could toss a few questions his way. This draws the ire of Tony La Russa, who (wobbly) heads in my direction. Before La Russa gets to me, Marquis puts up his hand to call Tony off. “Sure kid, but next time don’t interview the guy who is starting. It’s not baseball etiquette.” Damn baseball and its rules. Who knew? But what a nice Jewish boy. I should introduce him to my sister.

SPScott Feldman, Texas (1-3, 4.64 ERA)
Has pitched at least six innings in eight of his last nine starts, including a seven-inning performance against the Braves last week allowing just five hits and two runs. I know we’re grasping at straws here, but at least he starts. Interesting note: Might be the only Jew born in Hawaii to play Major League Baseball. Just a hunch.

RPJohn Grabow, Pittsburgh (4-2, 3.22 ERA)
Grabow is making more in 2008 than Pittsburgh starters Tom Gorzelanny, Paul Maholm and Ian Snell combined. Must have a good lawyer/agent in the family. The 29-year old left-hander was having a fantastic year with a sub-3.00 ERA before the White Sox put four on him June 19th. Still, we need innings and he does have 27 strikeouts in 36 innings.

RPScott Schoeneweis, New York Mets (0-2, 2.40 ERA)
Another lefty, Schoeneweis wins the award for most Jewish sounding name in the bigs. In 35 games this year, the Schoen has allowed just 21 hits with an impressive 1.03 WHIP. Something tells me the New Jersey native is a big Bar Mitzvah target for prepubescent, Torah reading Mets fans.

I am aware our staff is a little on the soft side, we’ve got more pitchers on the way with Arizona’s flamethrower Max Scherzer and Colorado’s Jason Hirsh. But come on, we’re Jewish, give us a break – or at least a discount.

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  1. 13 Responses to “Bagels, Lox and Baseball”

  2. It mystifies me why people continue to try to force Ryan Braun into a box he does not belong. The supposed “Hebrew Hammer” nickname is a total fabrication – he wasn’t raised in the faith, his mother is not Jewish, and he actively avoids trying to glom onto the religion.

    Several Jewish news outlets have already reported on this – why do people continue to spread misinformation? There are enough outstanding Jewish athletes out there without trying to make someone into something he is not.

    By Janey on Jun 24, 2008

  3. For many, Judaism is about heritage, not faith. For those, Braun is among the chosen people.

    By Anonymous on Jun 24, 2008

  4. But he, himself, does not claim to be Jewish. His mother recoiled at the notion. Why, then, are other people allowed to force him into a category he does not believe himself to be a member of?

    Where is this “heritage” coming from? He certainly doesn’t see it.

    By janey on Jun 24, 2008

  5. The Jews have had a rough go of it for, oh the past 4,000 years, can’t we just let them have Ryan Braun? I mean, nit-picking really isn’t fair at this point.

    By Phillips on Jun 24, 2008

  6. Seems like it’s a legitimate question – asking about sloppy reporting.

    And saying “let them have Ryan Braun” sounds awfully patronizing, dude.

    By Mike on Jun 24, 2008

  7. you are the laziest, smelliest jew ever. the sweaty abcs must have been the worst athletic team ever with you at SS and Daryl as a ball boy. good luck geting some of that internet money though

    By Michael on Jun 24, 2008

  8. Michael, tell Randy I say, “Hi.”
    Oh, and your sister is hot.

    By The Baker on Jun 24, 2008

  9. Mike,
    Obviously you missed the tongue-in-cheek nature of my comment. Also, many people feel that even if you don’t practice the religion, you can still be “Jewish” based on heritage. So I reject the “sloppy reporting” angle. In fact, here’s a quote from the article Janey linked:

    “Although raised in no faith, he clearly is proud of his Jewish background, as an interview earlier in the summer with The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle made clear.”

    It’s clear Braun identifies himself as Jewish, regardless of his faith or lack thereof.

    By Phillips on Jun 24, 2008

  10. Ryan Spilborghs isn’t Jewish.

    By Anonymous on Jun 24, 2008

  11. What about everyones favorite? Doug Meientkiewicz? And what about the OTHER Ryan Braun? He’s nothing special, but if he’s Jewish and in the Royals ‘pen, he can take some innings.

    By Anonymous on Jun 24, 2008

  12. Oy vey, all this kvetching has me thinking we’ll just have to put together an all Orthodox Jew team next year.

    By Hick Flick on Jun 24, 2008

  13. With the first pick I take Mel Gibson… err

    By bakerslifecoach on Jun 24, 2008

  14. great blob. Florida Marlins had a jewish heritage night a few years ago featuring Mike Jacobs. Unfortunately for the Marlins & the tribe, Jacobs is not a jew.

    By sloots on Jun 28, 2008

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