web analytics
August 27, 2014 / 1 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

A Pinstriped People


Ah, the sights, sounds and smells of spring. Fathers roasting succulent hot dogs on a flaming grill; children frolicking carefree on the lawn, playing with their little friends; bees buzzing excitedly over their newest source of sweet, golden nectar; ducks quacking incessantly, splashing in a pond; white, puffy, cumulous clouds sailing through the clear blue skies like an armada of misty ships going out to sea.

Spring heralds the upcoming z’man cheruseinu, as busy preparations for Pesach are underway. We start looking forward to summer – to a time of relaxation and rejuvenation, of reflection and thought, of a thousand little moments that enable us to make those lasting connections to the ones we love.

But when I think of spring, one thought invariably pops into my head: Baseball. The sound of a bat connecting with a ball; the scent of a freshly broken-in baseball glove smothered in oil to protect the leather and make it supple; freshly-cut grass and a soil-splattered uniform, dirty from a hard slide into second base.

When I think of baseball in this town, I think of only one team in only one stadium: The Bronx Bombers, in the home office for baseball – i.e., the New York Yankees in a brand new House that Ruth Built, the new Yankee Stadium. The mind conjures up images of baseball’s gedolim – Ruth and Gehrig, DiMaggio and Mantle, Jackson and Gossage, Mattingly, Jeter, Rivera.

What is it about the Yankees that makes them unique – so loved and so loathed? Respected, feared, held in awe and esteem, yet sneered at in contempt?

I believe the uniqueness of the Yankees begins with the fact that they are taught they are different. They have a glorious history replete with world-class players and historic moments – moments that stretch back through baseball history.

To be a Yankee isn’t always easy. The Yankees carry themselves in a professional way. You don’t show up the other team when you’re a Yankee. Any home run, great play in the field, or game-ending strikeout is celebrated with dignity. The Yankees’ clubhouse demeanor is different. They have to dress a certain way, speak a certain way, act a certain way and, in reality, just be a certain way.

The Yankees have a tough boss who expects – no, demands – excellence from his players. If they achieve success they are handsomely rewarded, but if they lose, there is nothing worse.

Because they have dominated baseball for so long, other teams, though they bear them a grudging respect, will go out of their way to hurt them. If the Yankees want to make a trade with another team they always have to give something extra. Nobody will let the hated Yankees get the best of them. When the Yankees lose, fans of other teams rejoice. They are quite sick of seeing them have so much success.

But just about anyone who has played baseball would almost certainly jump at the chance to just once put on those hallowed pinstripes and be – even for one day – a Yankee.

By now a reader might rightfully wonder about the point of this little essay. Is it really necessary for a rabbi to pontificate about some grown men playing a child’s game?

Yes – because the story of the Yankees is merely a mashal, a parable, for Klal Yisrael. For we too have a glorious history with the greatest of leaders who have impacted the world for good. We have had many magnificent moments and have achieved far more than our meager numbers would indicate. Non-Jews sense this and world history has been filled with contempt, hatred, loathing – and at the same time grudging respect – for the Jew.

The Jew has been forced to play the game of life with one hand tied behind his back, yet he has somehow always succeeded. Throughout history we have experienced the thrill and ecstasy of accomplishment and greatness, yet have also fallen to the lowest depths and even into the abyss of despair. Our sins were never worse than those of the nations that surrounded us, but we are different and so we must behave better. Our national mission demands this of us.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “A Pinstriped People”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
The three salesmen -Netanyahu, Ya'alon and Gantz
Netanyahu Tries to Sell Bill of Goods that Israel Won Goals in the War
Latest Indepth Stories
Eisenstock-082914

But the world is forever challenging our Jewish principle and our practices.

MK Moshe-Feiglin

If this is how we play the game, we will lose. By that I mean we will lose everything.

Reportedly, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have formed a bloc that seeks to counter Islamist influence in the Middle East.

One wonders how the IDF could be expected to so quickly determine the facts.

While there is no formula that will work for everyone, there are some strategies that if followed carefully and consistently can help our children – and us – gain the most from the upcoming school year.

We risk our lives to help those who do what they can to kill to our people .

Twain grasped amazingly well the pulse of the Jewish people.

The entertainment industry appears divided about the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Israelis in Gaza border communities need to get out; who will help them?

The contrast between the mentality of Israel and the mentality of Hamas was never so loudly expressed as when the Arab killers became heroes and the Jewish killers became prisoners.

There is a threat today representing a new category of missionary:They call themselves “Hayovel.”

Just as we would never grant legitimacy to ISIS, we should not grant legitimacy to Hamas.

Is Woodstock still leading the world to destruction?

Wye would be seen to have set the groundwork for the creation of a Palestinian state

More Articles from Rabbi Meir Goldberg

Summer’s warmth gives way to autumn’s chill. A new year beckons, not just for Klal Yisrael but also for the game that has become our country’s favorite sport – no, our national obsession: football.

The Stories

1. Josh is a 20-year-old college student who was given a yeshiva education from kindergarten through 12th grade. No doubt his parents spent well over $100,000 for his solid Jewish education. He is involved in Jewish life on campus and attends minyan regularly, though life on campus is a spiritual battle. So when he told me he went to his college football team’s stadium to attend a game on a Shabbos afternoon, I was a little disappointed.

Ah, the sights, sounds and smells of spring. Fathers roasting succulent hot dogs on a flaming grill; children frolicking carefree on the lawn, playing with their little friends; bees buzzing excitedly over their newest source of sweet, golden nectar; ducks quacking incessantly, splashing in a pond; white, puffy, cumulous clouds sailing through the clear blue skies like an armada of misty ships going out to sea.

Forty years ago, the teshuvah movement was in its infancy. Since then, due to the efforts of some determined individuals, the phenomenon has blossomed, positively impacting Jewish communities worldwide. It would be beneficial to take a step back to see where we are today and what the trends are for the future.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/a-pinstriped-people/2009/03/18/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: