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On one of those cable financial stations the other day, one of the talking heads was explaining the concept of “Mancations.”
“Men leave their wives home and visit another city and usually see a ballgame as part of their itinerary,” the talking head said.
Well, I’ve been doing that for a couple of years. I’ll tell you about my latest “Mancation.” Of course, we have permission from our wives, who’d rather shop in Boro Park or see people in Lakewood. We men are usually gone two nights as that gives us enough time to experience our destination.
We decided on Pittsburgh for our latest trip. It was an almost five-and-a-half hour trip from Detroit but more than worth it. Pittsburgh is a great city to visit.
We left on a Sunday morning and made it to PNC Park, the home of the Pirates, in time to see the afternoon game. The ballpark may be the nicest in the major leagues. Located just a couple of steps from the Allegheny River, PNC Park offers great views of boaters, bridges and buildings.
After the game we trekked across the Roberto Clemente Bridge (open to foot traffic only on game days) to the downtown district, which is sort of a mini-lower Manhattan. We walked pretty much in a straight line through downtown and exited on the Monongahela River side (less than a mile) and walked over the Smithfield Bridge to take a boat ride. We agreed it was like walking over a bridge from New Jersey to lower Manhattan and crossing another bridge to Brooklyn.
The one-hour sightseeing boat took us on the two aforementioned rivers as well as the Ohio River, which borders the tip of downtown and morphs into the other rivers. Pittsburgh, we were told, has over 400 bridges, the most of any city in the world.
We chose a hotel in the university district about ten minutes from downtown and ten minutes down Forbes Avenue to the Orthodox community of Squirrel Hill. There are a couple of good kosher eateries on Murray Avenue and we also sampled the shuls and kollel nearby.
While we dined on Murray Avenue, a nice fellow recognized me from my column photo and introduced himself. Jesse Salem and his Mrs., knowledgeable baseball fans, were visiting from New York, where the mister deals in home furnishings out of West 33rd street in Manhattan.
In a beautiful park-like atmosphere, surrounded by buildings that make up the University of Pittsburgh, you’ll find the outline and remnant of the outfield wall of Forbes Field, the storied old home of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
PNC Park on the other side of the Allegheny River from downtown Pittsburgh
Built in 1909 by Barney Dreyfuss, the Jewish owner of the Pirates, Hall of Famers from Honus Wagner to Roberto Clemente plied their trade there. Hank Greenberg finished his career with the Pirates in 1947 and became a tutor and friend to upcoming slugger Ralph Kiner. Dreyfuss named his ballpark Forbes Field because of the famous avenue that ran from downtown past the exterior of the third base side and into Squirrel Hill.
Today, home plate of the old ballpark is embedded in the floor, covered by Plexiglass and plainly visible in the Wesley Posvar Hall of the University of Pittsburgh. A few feet away are rest rooms, drinking fountains and benches. A great place for a rest stop.
Outside the building you’ll find gardens and the actual vine-covered wall that Ralph Kiner hit balls off and over. The centerfield portion still retains its 453-foot marker and the flagpole, a few feet in front of the wall is in its original spot. Red bricks embedded in the sidewalk show the outline of the rest of the outfield wall and a plaque marks the spot where Bill Mazeroski hit his World Series ending home run in 1960 against the Yankees of Casey Stengel.
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Yet all are part of one neshamah, planted in rich, verdant soil, determined to grow. May our garden continue to produce a glorious assortment of flowers and trees, each attached firmly to its roots. Our diverse southern vegetation flourishes and grows into different trees, flowers, and fruits, and a rainbow of glorious shades and hues appears. Yet each shoot is rooted in the same soil, stretching its branches and blossoms heavenward in an endless pursuit of growth and connection to the One above.
This past Lag B’Omer, we were blessed to make our first upsherin, where we celebrate our son’s first hair cut. It’s a wonderful milestone that mimics the three years that we refrain from plucking a tree’s first fruits and symbolizes the entry of the child into the world of Torah learning. It’s a clear sign to everyone; this boy is no longer a baby.
Although there are more direct and faster routes to Beer Sheva and Eilat and all the sites and towns in-between, the Basor River is one of the beauties of the Negev that defiantly justifies a diversion.
The importance of death customs has been ingrained in me since birth. When I served as a shomeret for my grandmother, I was instructed not to eat, drink or perform a mitzvah in the same room. In the shock of death, it seemed rather inane to be told it would be considered mocking the dead. My grandmother was gone; she couldn’t do those things because she didn’t exist anymore, a fact that still makes me tear up.
I would have to say that one of the most annoying things about having a newspaper advice column, aside from all these people writing to me and asking for advice, is that they frequently don’t tell me WHY they’re asking.
Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv zt”l, who passed away on 28 Tammuz, (July18) this year at age 102, spent all of his days and most of his nights learning Torah. He was the paramount leader of our generation, and inspired tremendous awe and reverence in everyone who knew him. Now, every woman has the stunning opportunity to do something in his memory. A Sefer Torah is being written in his memory and women around the world have the chance to dedicate a letter.
Due to her family situation, it is understandable that she will have more responsibilities than other girls her age, but she would benefit from having some free time and receiving more appreciation for her hard work.
For children, summer means outdoor sports, picnics, and of course, no school! Teachers and students work hard all year long – and everyone deserves a break from education over the summer. However, this two-month break can often have some pretty devastating consequences.
It was only after we celebrated the great news that we were expecting twins that we saw the first sign of problems. First of all, my wife was losing, not gaining weight, even as the babies continued to grow normally. Soon after, routine blood work revealed that my wife was suffering from gestational diabetes.
Rabbi Pinchas Gruman is the new rav of the Minyan at Aish Tamid.
One of the most respected Torah figures in Los Angeles, Rabbi Gruman has been described as “The Los Angeles link in the mesorah of the yeshiva world” by Rabbi Nachum Sauer. As a talmid in Lakewood in the 1950s, Rabbi Gruman received semicha from Rav Aaron Kotler, zt”l, and Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt”l. Soon after, he moved to Los Angeles.
Another tree is down.
I’m driving down Lakewood Avenue, figuring that maybe, just maybe, the tree that blocked the middle of North Lake Drive has been removed, and I can go through. After all, they had a whole day. I’m sure things have been taken care of.
Readers of my monthly Baseball Insider column may have noticed its absence last week (the column appears in the second issue of every month). The reason for that is I have something more serious and personal to share with you, something that didn’t seem appropriate for a baseball column.
Let me tell you about my new book.
Like you, I’m interested in Jewish baseball players and Jewish history. So, after years of research, first-hand observations and interviews, I combined the aforementioned information from the post-civil war era to the present and came up with a book titled Jewish History in the Time of Baseball’s Jews: Life on Both Sides of the Ocean.
Many of the baseball beat writers feel the Detroit Tigers are the best team in the major leagues. While I haven’t seen all of the pre-season articles, the ones I have read pick the Tigers to top the Central division in the American League.
A few months ago I wrote about the passing of my brother-in-law, Rabbi Shmuel Kunda, z”l, and how he never got around to a project I urged him to take on. I wanted him to title it “Boruch Goes to Ebbets Field” and tell the story of how Boruch bonds with Brooklyn’s beloved Dodgers – with Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider, Gil Hodges and the rest. (The Duke was my brother-in-law’s favorite.)
Last season the Philadelphia Phillies had a Rosenberg, the St. Louis Cardinals had a Rosenthal, and the Arizona Diamondbacks had a Goldschmidt.
As of early December, some 72 former major leaguers had died in 2012. The number is much higher than any of us would have guessed.
What an unusual postseason it was.
The Yankees looked inept against the ferocious Tigers and the Tigers in turn looked toothless against the San Francisco Giants as they were swept in the World Series.
Ralph Kiner turns ninety on the 27th of October.
Where have the years gone?
Many Jewish Press readers grew up watching Kiner’s Korner, the post-game television show featuring yesterday’s heroes and the Mets’ one-day wonders.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/sports/the-glories-of-pittsburgh/2011/08/10/
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