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October 1, 2016 / 28 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘star’

Crossword Puzzle – “The Hills” Of Jerusalem

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

Across

1. MC

5. Head cover?

9. Sci-fi weapon

14. Type of enemy

15. Arm bone

16. Young Israel teen tours name

17. Bog

18. Baseball’s oldest team

19. Like high prices

20. Jerusalem campus locale

23. Lord of the Rings creature

24. ___ all good

25. Parts of bookstores

30. Taylor

32. A Gershwin

34. Lechem mishnah option

35. Fuel

37. Bite sized Twizzler

38. Israel Defense Forces, e.g.

39. Where many gedolim are buried

43. Novelist Mirvis

44. Sinai emotion

45. Tokyo, once

46. Bracha follower

47. One ___ customer

48. Small piece of land surrounded by water

52. Where to find 20, 39, and 57-Across

54. For

56. Santa ___

57. Holiest of places

61. Really dislike

65. Final page in a calendar

66. Redwood or Lemon

67. Bother

68. Half

69. Rip

70. ___ airplane

71. Have (archaic)

72. Former mobile

 

Down

1. Tool belt item

2. Ripken or Tejada

3. 9 days feature

4. Not now

5. Pitcher against the Mets in the 1986 World Series

6. Baldwin and Guinness

7. ___-China

8. Grating voice

9. Cowboy item

10. Perform

11. That girl

12. Seth’s mom

13. Sing like Matisyahu, at times

21. Pagan figure

22. Can’t

26. Cheers

27. Traditional knowledge

28. Shade trees

29. Clever

31. Spiny lizard

32. Surmise

33. Future Olympics locale

36. Yeah, they’ve got that (singular)

39. Ewes and mares, often

40. Done

41. Be in debt

42. Expression

43. ___ chi

49. Babes in Toyland co-star

50. Group of Egyptian pagan figures

51. Potatoes

53. Type of gas

54. Purple and/or red fruits

55. Set fire again

58. Common shorts material

59. Something copped

60. Von Bismarck with a palindrome

61. Place where Richard Kimble spent some time, with “the”

62. Yoko of note

63. Also

64. Piggy

 

(Answers, next week)

Yoni can be reached at yglatt@youngisrael.org

Yoni Glatt

Crossword Puzzle – “The Hills” of Jerusalem

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

Across

1. MC

5. Head cover?

9. Sci-fi weapon

14. Type of enemy

15. Arm bone

16. Young Israel teen tours name

17. Bog

18. Baseball’s oldest team

19. Like high prices

20. Jerusalem campus locale

23. Lord of the Rings creature

24. ___ all good

25. Parts of bookstores

30. Taylor

32. A Gershwin

34. Lechem mishnah option

35. Fuel

37. Bite sized Twizzler

38. Israel Defense Forces, e.g.

39. Where many gedolim are buried

43. Novelist Mirvis

44. Sinai emotion

45. Tokyo, once

46. Bracha follower

47. One ___ customer

48. Small piece of land surrounded by water

52. Where to find 20, 39, and 57-Across

54. For

56. Santa ___

57. Holiest of places

61. Really dislike

65. Final page in a calendar

66. Redwood or Lemon

67. Bother

68. Half

69. Rip

70. ___ airplane

71. Have (archaic)

72. Former mobile

 

Down

1. Tool belt item

2. Ripken or Tejada

3. 9 days feature

4. Not now

5. Pitcher against the Mets in the 1986 World Series

6. Baldwin and Guinness

7. ___-China

8. Grating voice

9. Cowboy item

10. Perform

11. That girl

12. Seth’s mom

13. Sing like Matisyahu, at times

21. Pagan figure

22. Can’t

26. Cheers

27. Traditional knowledge

28. Shade trees

29. Clever

31. Spiny lizard

32. Surmise

33. Future Olympics locale

36. Yeah, they’ve got that (singular)

39. Ewes and mares, often

40. Done

41. Be in debt

42. Expression

43. ___ chi

49. Babes in Toyland co-star

50. Group of Egyptian pagan figures

51. Potatoes

53. Type of gas

54. Purple and/or red fruits

55. Set fire again

58. Common shorts material

59. Something copped

60. Von Bismarck with a palindrome

61. Place where Richard Kimble spent some time, with “the”

62. Yoko of note

63. Also

64. Piggy

 

(Answers, next week)

Yoni can be reached at yglatt@youngisrael.org

Yoni Glatt

Play Ball!

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

      The 2008 baseball season is finally here. These are my predictions:

 

National League East


 


      Led by Johan Santana and a diminished version of Pedro Martinez – both in terms of innings pitched and talent – the Mets still have the arms to top the division. Atlanta, though, has old hands Tom Glavine and John Smoltz and an improved bullpen. Third baseman Chipper Jones and first baseman Mark Teixeira anchor a lineup that’s better than that of the Mets, who’ll need a good year from first baseman Carlos Delgado to stave off the Braves.

 

      Philadelphia has the most balanced lineup in the league but can’t match the starting pitching of the Mets and Braves. The Phillies did bolster their bullpen with the addition of Brad Lidge (acquired from the Astros). Washington has the division’s best stadium in new Nationals Park, and underrated manager Manny Acta will get his players to land above the Florida Marlins.

 

      Marlins fans are suffering through yet another dismantling of their team and can only wonder when baseball’s best offensive shortstop will be traded. Compare Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez’s 2007 numbers to Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter. Amazingly, both had 639 at-bats, but Ramirez outpunched Jeter -.332 average (Jeter, .322); 29 home runs (Jeter, 12); 89 RBIs, (Jeter, 73) and 51 stolen bases (Jeter, 15). So pencil in the Marlins for last and even though they’ll be last in attendance, they may be first in profits as the team collectively earns less than A-Rod.

 

National League Central

 

      The Cubs topped this division last year with only 85 victories and have enough punch to do it again. Their pitching is only adequate but no worse than that of other clubs in the Central. Milwaukee lost free agent closer Francisco Cordero to a better offer from the Reds and signed has-been closer Eric Gagne for the role. The Brewers’ young hitters will score runs but a leaky bullpen will give up a lot as well.

 

      Cincinnati should be the dominant team in the division by next year as top-notch prospects gain experience. Houston has a good young outfielder in Hunter Pence but not much more to brag about and will have a hard time bettering last year’s 73-89 record.


      St. Louis won’t match last year’s 78-84 record, and even if Albert Pujols stays healthy, the Cards may shuffle to the bottom. Pittsburgh has a great ballpark but the league’s worst team. 2008 will be the 16th consecutive season the Pirates will finish under .500 (tying a major league record).

 

National League West

 

      Arizona has strong starting pitching and good enough hitting to finish on top. Colorado has Matt Holliday and a better lineup but can’t top the pitching of the Diamondbacks. Los Angeles has a mixture of veterans and good young players, so new manager Joe Torre has the tools to compete.

 

      San Diego has better pitching than the Rockies and Dodgers, but not enough hitting. San Francisco has the worst lineup in the league and at times the defense makes it look like Harpo and Groucho are in the field. Without Barry Bonds, the Giants won’t even match last year’s dismal 71-91 record.

 

American League East

 

      The Yankees are a more talented and settled team this year. A-Rod is signed and the young pitchers proved they can win often in the big leagues. Second baseman Robinson Cano got better as last season wore on, hitting .343 with 57 RBIs after the all-star break.


      Boston is blessed with good starting pitching, great relievers, and strong hitting. Even though boppers David “Big Papi” Ortiz and Manny Ramirez combined to hit 391 home runs over the past five years with the Red Sox and there are a couple of other pesky hitters in the lineup, I’m going with the Yanks to top the division.

 

      Toronto is a good team that should be better this year. Adding veteran infielders David Eckstein and Scott Rolen improves the offense and Roy Halladay tops a pitching rotation that could beat the Yanks and Red Sox more often this season. Outfielder Vernon Wells had a bad shoulder last year (.245, 16 homers), and his numbers should be much higher this year. Look for a three-team race for the top spot.

 

      Tampa Bay might just be good enough to beat out most National League teams for the top spot. The Rays have several players tagged for stardom and should be even better next season. Baltimore needs to get better at several positions before it can compete in this tough division.

 

American League Central

 

      Detroit started the season missing leadoff man Curtis Granderson, who often started games with a double or triple. When their star center fielder returns from a hand injury and gets his timing back, the Tigers will be back to winning more often. Even though closer Todd Jones is not as dominant as others in the division, the Tigers will get better as the season wears on and their two top set up men, relievers Fernando Rodney and Joel Zumaya come off the disabled list.

 

      Cleveland is a tough, experienced team and would dominate any division in the National League. But a talking fish from Monsey tells me the Tribe will finish behind Detroit, and Boston will take the A.L. wild card spot. It will be a tough off-season for Indians fans if free agent pitcher C. C. Sabathia signs elsewhere, and especially hard to take if Detroit lands him. (The Tigers are swimming in cash after selling 2.6 million tickets before the season even began.)

 

      The White Sox upgraded their offense with shortstop Orlando Cabrera (.301 last year with the Angels) and outfielder Nick Swisher (22 homers for Oakland), but Chicago’s pitching isn’t as strong as Cleveland’s or quite as good as Detroit’s.

 

      Minnesota will try to compete without Johan Santana and Torii Hunter. Twins fans showed they were behind their newcomers by trekking through seven inches of snow to fill the Metrodome with its largest opening day crowd in 15 years. The Twins always seem to come up with nobodies who end up becoming somebodies.

 

      The Kansas City Royals outplayed the Tigers in the season’s opening series, proving they aren’t pushovers and can beat any club at any time.

 

American League West

 

      Seattle has five good starters and some solid finishers. Even though the lineup led by Ichiro Suzuki isn’t as good as the Angels’, the Mariners have enough to land on top. Los Angeles won six more games than Seattle last year, and the Angels have added Torii Hunter’s bat and glove. On paper, this is the best club in the division but games aren’t played on paper. On the field, I’m going with the Mariners.

 

      Texas has some good prospects but they’re mostly in the low minors and if they ever make an impact, it won’t be for several seasons. Oakland has some good pitching prospects who may make an impact as early as late this season. The Athletics are clearly a club on the rise; look for the rich clubs (Yankees, Mets, Tigers, Red Sox), to make a pitch for some of the A’s pitchers as the season wears on.

 

*     *     *

 

      So, I’m picking the Mets, Cubs and Diamondbacks to top their divisions in the National League and the Yankees, Tigers and Mariners in the American League.

 

      My wild card picks are the Braves in the National League and the Red Sox in the American League.

 

      The last time the Cubs won a World Series was one hundred years ago, in 1908; the last time the Cubs participated in a World Series was in 1945. Both times they played Detroit.


      Will it be the Cubs and Tigers in this year’s Fall Classic? Will the two New York teams play each other? Will only one New York team make it? If so, which one?

 

      I’ll give you my World Series choices and winner next month.

 

      Which teams are you picking?


 


      Irwin Cohen, the author of seven books, headed a national baseball publication for five years before earning a World Series ring working as a department head in a major league front office. His “Baseball Insider” column appears the second week of each month in The Jewish Press. Cohen, who is president of the Detroit area’s Agudah shul, may be reached in his dugout at irdav@sbcglobal.net.   

Irwin Cohen

Fantastically Real Kabbalah Paintings

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

Artexpo New York

February 28-March 3, 2008


Javits Convention Center, New York



 


Some artists’ iconoclastic, bohemian behavior gets them into trouble. But David Gafni’s 1972 run-in with the law was more of a freak accident than an indication of his self-destruction, and it gave him a religious epiphany.

 

While he was involved in designing Israel’s Yad Vashem museum, Gafni, 66, was driving to Jerusalem when a bee flew into his car and so distracted him that he swerved and collided with a police car. A father of three young children, Gafni was badly injured and vowed to pray every day if he recovered. “I have done so since then,” he said.

 

Gafni’s work is currently on display at Artexpo New York. A graduate of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Gafni was chief designer of the Western Wall Tunnels for 16 years and worked at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. He has designed a museum and several exhibitions for Chabad(which were personally approved by the Lubavitcher Rebbe), and he has created exhibits for Orthodox communities in Jerusalem.

 

In the course of his studies, Gafni became attracted to the Vienna School of Fantastic Realism, which was founded in the ’40s as an offshoot of Surrealism and Art Nouveau and combined techniques of the Old Masters with religious and mystical iconography. The movement inspired Gafni with its “optimistic view of imagination and fantastic reality,” and “rich, happy colors and realistic execution.”

 

Gafni infused his abstract work with Jewish content, and he was influenced by Mordechai Ardon, then-director of Bezalel who used Kabbalistic motifs, and Shmuel Beck, whose work centered on the Holocaust. For his final project in calligraphy at Bezalel – which required designing a hand-written and painted book – Gafni created a prayer book based upon ancient Jewish art. He drew the typography from the Dead Sea Scrolls, and incorporated ancient Kabbalistic paintings, including one with a seven branch Menorah whose pedestal was made of the feet of the lion, eagle, bull, and man from Ezekiel’s vision.

 

 



David Gafni. “The Throne of God and the Creatures of the Chariot – Merkabah”


 

 

The animals from Ezekiel’s vision surface in Gafni’s “The Throne of God and the Creatures of the Chariot – Merkaba”, which shows the three animals and the man near the heavenly throne in the seventh palace of Paradise. The four, who are essentially disembodied heads attached to the cloud formations, contemplate a menorah with orange, green, blue, and purple branches. Gafni plants two mountains in the foreground, so the viewer only experiences the vision from a distance.

 

“Jerusalem at the End of Days: Gog and Magog” is the first of five omens, “which shall be revealed to all, to usher in the revelation of the ‘King Messiah,'” according to Gafni’s website. The landscape depicts Jerusalem’s Old City in black and gray, but the city rests on an unstable foundation that resembles tree roots. The Tower of David has twisted almost beyond recognition into a configuration that resembles a corkscrew, as a blue, red, and white form, which evokes the Caduceus (the ancient astronomical sign of a staff with two intertwined snakes, which is used as a symbol of medicine) hovers above the city. An accompanying text on Gafni’s website cites Zecharia 14:8 and interprets it: “The Mount of Olives is cleft in two, and water gushes forth from the depths of earth, forming two streams, one flowing towards the ‘Primeval sea,’ i.e. the Dead Sea, and one towards the ‘Last Sea,’ i.e. the Mediterranean.”

 

 



David Gafni. “Jerusalem at the End of Days: Gog and Magog.” All images courtesy of the artist.


 

 

In “The Crimson Star and Flame of Fire,” the fourth of the Messianic signs, Jerusalem is again comfortably resting on solid foundation, but the sky is ablaze and a large meteor-like object seems poised to smash the buildings. The painting’s reliance on a palette of mostly primary colors heightens the piece’s dreamy look. Gafni’s website identifies the reference as the Zohar‘s commentary on Balak 22, “And then a terrible crimson star shall arise in the firmament and shall burn and glow throughout the day for all the world to behold.” Gafni adds that the star faces a flame of fire for 40 days, when the two wage war upon each other. “In the end, the star engulfs the flame. The star remains in the sky, where it drifts about for 12 days,” Gafni writes on his site.

 

 



David Gafni. “The Crimson Star and Flame of Fire”


 

 

A star waging a battle against a flame and a sea gushing forth as mountains are split in half might sound a bit unusual, but Kabbalistic and apocalyptic symbols have figured in many artists’ works, perhaps most significantly that of painter and poet, William Blake. In his very detailed etchings of Biblical and mystical scenes, Blake depicted angels and demons often with human faces, which serves to make Kabbalah more accessible and recognizable. Where previous artists depicted demons as black creatures with horns and cloven hooves, Blake chose to represent his demons as men, often even wingless.

 

Gafni’s works, in their quotations of Surrealism, address Kabbalah from more of a humble distance. By positioning his Kabbalistic scenes in landscapes that are fantastical, Gafni presents narratives that are gripping and lifelike, but also dreamy and unnatural. If Blake causes the viewer to fear she or he will wake up to an apocalypse tomorrow, Gafni’s apocalypse is a little further off in the future.

 

 



David Gafni. “The War of One Star Against the Seven Stars”


 

 

To be clear, not all of Gafni’s work is religious. He has designed many exhibits and exhibition spaces, including shows for the Israel Aircraft Industries, NASA, and a memorial exhibit for the Israeli Intelligence Community. But even as he has achieved distinction as a designer and painter, Gafni has always returned to the “basic art of the Jewish nation,” which expresses hope and “a vision for the reinstatement of the Jewish people and world peace.” Gafni sees his work as an heir to the Judaica tradition of painted synagogues, religious artifacts, and holy books. “I believe I continue to contribute my share to this industry in my way and with my openness towards any viewer, Jew and non-Jew alike,” he said.

 

For more information on David Gafni’s work, please visit his website at: http://www.davidgafni.com.

 

Menachem Wecker is a painter, writer and editor based in Washington, D.C. He welcomes comments at mwecker@gmail.com.  

Menachem Wecker

Title: A Taste of Challah: A Complete Guide to Challah and Bread Baking

Wednesday, October 10th, 2007


Title: A Taste of Challah: A Complete Guide to Challah and Bread Baking

Author: Tamar Ansh
Publisher: Feldheim

 

         Bubby’s Bobka never knew that it would become an international star. Now it is, thanks to Tamar Ansh and Feldheim Publishers.

 

         The eye-catching cover of this easily held book compels you to open the pages and coo over the cleverly photographed processes of preparing each recipe inside. The framework of an authentic Jewish life is explained as the pages unfold, with explanations and blessings to guide you through baking day and all the days of your life. Treat the book with utmost respect as the Hebrew name of G‑d appears in it several times. You can also salute the author for including time-tested tips for setting up your workspace and creating perfect recipes.

 

         You want a No-Pocket Pita or a Yemenite Saluf with a roasted top, perfect for chilbeh and schug? No problem! The recipes for the spicy dips appear on the very next page. And if you need something milder for your tender tummy, see the Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls instructions nearby. Eat your hearts out, bakery owners. This is one can-do cookbook for beginners and experienced kitchen mavens.

 

         Rabbis, rest assured that all will go well. Pages 190-199 teach the readers how to separate challah and explain the halachic ramifications of hafrashat challah.

 

         Olim from non-metric countries will surely treasure the metric and other conversion charts at the back of the book. Life in Israel is measured somewhat differently, as are recipes in the Holy Land.

 

         Add this essential ingredient to your kitchen today.A Taste of Challah: A Complete Guide to Challah and Bread Baking is a must-have item. Give it to your local bride-to-be and get one for her mother, too.

 

 


Yocheved Golani is the author of It’s MY Crisis! And I’ll Cry If I Need To: A Life Book for Helping You to Dry Your Tears and Cope With a Medical Challenge (Booklocker Publishing).

Yocheved Golani

All-Star Musings And Memories

Wednesday, July 11th, 2007

        Hope everyone enjoyed this year’s All-Star Game, which was played on Tuesday this week, after this column was prepared.

 

         Shawn Green was the last Jewish player to appear in the starting lineup at an All-Star Game. Green, then an outfielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers, had one hit in three at-bats in the 2002 All-Star Game in Milwaukee. It was in Milwaukee some seven weeks earlier, on May 23, 2002, that Green had his real dream game, hitting four home runs, a double and a single for a major league record 19 total bases.

 

         (Green doesn’t have all-star stats this year but is having a pretty good season for the Mets.)

 

         A different shade of Green, Rabbi Simcha Green, was the spiritual leader of a shul in Portland, Maine, around that time Kevin Youkilis played there as a member of the Sea Dogs, a Red Sox minor league club. Rabbi Green led a delegation to meet Youkilis and told manager Ron Johnson that the synagogue was a 10-minute walk from the ballpark. “I want you to drop in there on occasion,” the manager advised his young Jewish player. Kevin scored by answering, “Fine, I will.”

 

         Before the next day’s davening rolled around, Youkilis left for a promotion to triple-A Pawtucket, one step away from the big leagues. Rabbi Green credits the blessings of the delegation of shul congregants for Youkilis’s quick trip upward. While Youkilis made it to Boston and is having an all-star year, he failed to receive enough votes to be named to the starting lineup and didn’t make it as a reserve, either.

 

         Rabbi Green, however, became a free agent and went from one end of the country to the other; he is now the spiritual manager of the Young Israel of Santa Barbara in sunny California.

 

         Second baseman Charles “Buddy” Myer of the Washington Senators was the very first Jewish player to become an all-star. Myer made the all-star team in 1935, two years after the first ever All-Star Game was played. Tigers star Charlie Gehringer, however, played all nine innings at second base. In 1937 Myer became an all-star again but sat and watched as Gehringer, again, was stationed at second for the whole game.

 

         Hank Greenberg made it for the first time in ’37 but also rode the bench as Lou Gehrig played first base. So the two Jewish all-stars never showed up in the American League box score. Meyer never got another all-star nod, but Greenberg did in 1939. Hank played the entire game, going one-for-three as the National League downed the A.L. before nearly 63,000 fans at Yankee Stadium, not far from Greenberg’s boyhood Bronx home.

 

         By the way, next year’s All-Star Game will be held in Yankee Stadium, the last year of the storied stadium’s existence. The new version now rising behind the left field bleachers is scheduled to open in 2009. The present Yankee Stadium, which opened in 1923, hosted All-Star Games in 1939, 1960 and 1977.

 

         I covered the latter, but the one in Philadelphia the year before was much more memorable for me. Philly got the nod because it was America’s Bicentennial year and the evening before Tuesday’s game found Independence Mall roped off for food and festivities for baseball’s stars, officials and media.

 

         It was a very memorable Monday. I flew to Philadelphia that morning with the American League’s announced starting pitcher, Mark Fidrych — tagged “The Bird” because the tall, lanky, curly-haired youngster looked like Sesame Street’s Big Bird.

 

         Only 21 and in the Detroit starting rotation for two months, The Bird was a national sensation, winning nine of his first 11 starts and compiling a low ERA of 1.79. The colorful Fidrych patted the dirt on the mound before each inning, talked to the ball, congratulated infielders on good fielding plays and quickly endeared himself to Tigers fans.

 

         America had only recently discovered The Bird. The ABC Monday Night Baseball crew of Al Michaels and Bob Prince had come to Detroit on June 28 to cover the game between the Tigers and the Yankees. Fidrych, who sported a 7-1 record at the time, was going against lefty Ken Holtzman, who was 5-5. The quick-working Bird dispatched the Yanks, 5-to-1, in a game that took just an hour and 51 minutes.

 

         The Tiger Stadium crowd of over 48,000 wouldn’t stop cheering and The Bird shook hands with everyone he could reach as he made his way to the dugout. After several curtain calls, The Bird was ready to be interviewed. Baseball had its newest phenomenon. The national press vied for his attention but Tigers skipper Ralph Houk and the team’s upper management couldn’t and wouldn’t grant most requests.

 

         Two weeks later, at the all-star festivities in Philadelphia, the national media all wanted a crack at The Bird, and many pleaded with me to get them to him.

 

         A bunch of reporters had seen us arrive together (we shared a ride from the airport) and register at the all-star headquarters hotel, the Bellevue Stratford in downtown Philadelphia. As the reporters moved toward Fidrych, I whispered that we should switch rooms so he could get some sleep. “Thanks,” he said, “but I’ll just take the phone off the hook.” With those words of wisdom, he sprinted to the stairwell.

 

         After unloading my gear – including gefilte fish cans and salami – in my room, I headed to the media buses for a shuttle to Veterans Stadium to watch the player workouts and, hopefully, to get a couple of interviews.

 

         The Bird was already in uniform in the clubhouse. I told him he should stay in fair territory on the field. “Because,” I said, “once you’re in foul territory the media will be all over you. Especially the ones from National League cities. Remember, you have a press conference tomorrow morning at the hotel, so they’ll get a crack at you then.”

 

         The Bird shook those curly locks and made his way onto the field where he heeded my advice. Outside the dugout, a photographer from Philadelphia who did some work for the publication I headed, introduced me to a slim, distinguished-looking older man. “This is James Michener,” the photographer said. I offered my hand, and as we shook, Michener said he subscribed to my monthly.

 

         The famous author of umpteen best-sellers asked me about The Bird and told me how lucky he felt that he’d been granted media credentials. Michener had a soft spot for Philadelphia because he was raised and went to college in Pennsylvania.

 

         The photographer asked if we’d like to see Connie Mack Stadium, home of the old legendary Philadelphia Athletics until they moved to Kansas City in 1954. The Phillies played there before moving to Veterans Stadium in 1971. We jumped at the chance, as the old ballpark was in the process of being demolished. It was also a chance to spend more time with Michener, who was 69 at the time.

 

         A short time after arriving home, I received a letter from Michener telling me about his old friend, former Postmaster James Farley, who expressed a desire to write a column for my publication.

 

         Tall and thin and always wearing a flat-topped straw hat in the summer, Farley was the longest-running season-ticket holder at Yankee Stadium. The former head of the Democratic Party, he almost bought the Yankees prior to World War II. A close confidant of FDR, Farley, who had been urged by some to run for president, witnessed history as few had.

 

         Flying and driving with The Bird, spending time with and getting a letter from James Michener, roaming Independence Mall with baseball people, all teamed to make the time spent around the 1976 All-Star Game in Philadelphia the most memorable ever for me.

 

* * * * *

 

         Score one for Avi Rosalimsky. The 13 year old went with the Senter family to Shea Stadium to see a Mets-Phillies game. An 11th inning Phillies homer broke a tie and almost the hand of a fan.

 

         The ball bounced off the man’s hand and headed downward. Avi, whose uniform was topped off by a yarmulke and tzitsis, scampered toward the ball, found it and handed it to the surprised fan, who hadn’t bothered to chase it.

 

         Avi was hoping the fan would give it back to him, but the man didn’t. Perhaps he was too surprised by what the boy did. While Avi didn’t go home with the home-run ball, many went home with a memory of a great young member of the Orthodox Jewish team.

 

         Irwin Cohen, the author of seven books, headed a national baseball publication for five years before earning a World Series ring working as a department head in a major league front office. His “Baseball Insider” column appears the second week of each month in The Jewish Press. Cohen, who is president of the Detroit area’s Agudah shul, may be reached in his dugout at irdav@sbcglobal.net.

Irwin Cohen

Just One Pitch

Wednesday, June 6th, 2007

      Adam Greenberg holds a major league record.

 

      He was hit in the head by the very first and only pitch he ever saw – or almost saw – in his big league career.

 

      Only one other player was hit in the head in his first at-bat and never batted again in the major leagues. That happened fifty years before Greenberg was hit. Fred Van Dusen was with the Philadelphia Phillies on September 11, 1955, when he was beaned, but on the fifth pitch to him.

 

      Born in New Haven, Greenberg starred in several sports at Guilford High School in Guilford, Connecticut. He graduated with honors in addition to being tagged as Connecticut’s male athlete of the year in 1998-1999. Unlike most recent Jewish athletes who grew up with little or no attachment to Judaism, Greenberg attended Friday night services regularly and had a bar mitzvah.

 

      The 5-foot-9 lefthanded batter went on to become a star outfielder and hitter at the University of North Carolina and was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in June 2002. After three years in the minor leagues, Greenberg was called up to the majors on July 7, 2005. Greenberg phoned his parents and shared the good news. They gathered three of Adam’s siblings and flew to Miami where Adam was waiting and the Cubs were playing.

 

      On July 9, the Greenbergs were patiently sitting in the stands wondering when their favorite Cub would get a chance to play. With the Cubs leading the Marlins 4-to-2 in the top of the 9th and one out, Greenie, as he was quickly nicknamed, was told to grab a bat and hit for the pitcher. Applause could be heard from the Greenberg contingent among the crowd of 22,863 as Adam stepped in the batters box ready to begin his major league career.

 

      A 91-mile-per-hour fastball caught Adam in the side of the head. His batting helmet absorbed part of the blow, but Adam went down as his family rose in concern. Mrs. Greenberg, a nurse, waited patiently for word on her son’s condition while he was attended to in the trainer’s room by doctors from both the Cubs and Marlins.

 

      Adam never lost consciousness. His mother stayed with him that night tending to his needs before results of a CAT scan revealed he had a mild concussion. That was the good news.

 

      The bad news was that the next few weeks brought bouts of dizziness every time he tried to tie his shoes or tilt his head back at a certain angle. Adam found relief by sleeping upright. He also discovered he had more problems looking down trying to field ground balls than he had trying to hit pitches.

 

      Before the beaning, scouts had him pegged as a prospect with good speed, not much power, a good batting eye who’d get his share of walks, could get a key hit every now and then, a real hard worker with a great attitude. After the beaning, he went from prospect to suspect.

 

      Hoping a new location would change his luck and improve his stats, Greenberg prevailed on the Cubs to grant him a release. He caught on in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ minor league system. The vertigo was long gone but his ability to hit for a high average disappeared as well – his batting average was .228.

 

      The Dodgers were unimpressed and let him go. After a winter of strenuous workouts, Greenberg accepted a spring training chance with the Kansas City Royals. He made the Royals’ Double-A Wichita team in the Texas League, two rungs below the major league level.

 

      Greenberg showed speed on the bases and patience at the plate; he was among the team leaders in stolen bases and walks. Unfortunately, his batting average remained low.

 

      Greenberg is now 26, so a return to the majors doesn’t seem to be in the cards. My advice to him would be to try to stay in the game as a coach or manager in the lowest rung of the minors and work his way up to the big leagues. Or there’s the new Israel Baseball League – he could be a big star there and capitalize on his fame by opening a baseball training academy.

 

      At any rate, good luck to Adam Greenberg. By the way, he’s not related to Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg. He does, though, have a grandfather named Hank Greenberg.

 

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      One of the rewards of writing this column is that I get numerous e-mails from readers. They’re from great baseball minds and from people I’d like to meet. Of course, unless they tell me, I don’t know where they’re from or how old they are. I wish they’d include more information about themselves. One recent e-mail that made me put on my thinking cap was from ZF of NYC.

 

      ZF wonders how the career of Babe Ruth might have been affected if the designated hitter rule had been in place back when he played. Perhaps the Babe would have remained a pitcher and bat on days when he wasn’t on the mound. Personally, I think Ruth would have preferred pitching. Ruth loved to be the star – the dominant figure – and as a pitcher he would control each pitch.

 

      Ruth was a great pitcher for the Boston Red Sox (89 wins, 46 losses); with the Yankees he pitched once in 1920, twice the following year, once in 1930 and one last time in 1933. He won all five times for the Yanks, bringing his career stats to 94-46, (2.28 ERA). Ruth pitched in the 1916 and 1918 World Series for the Red Sox, winning three games, losing none and allowing only 19 hits in 31 innings with a super low ERA of 0.87.

 

      With those great-hitting Yankees teams, Ruth should have easily won 300 games, and not having to play the field between starts would have enabled him to improve on his already staggering career stats (.342, 714 home runs). And that doesn’t include the 15 homers he slugged in 41 World Series games.

 

*     *     *

 

      Even if the Red Sox continue to widen their margin over the Yankees, this won’t be a wasted season for the Bronx Bombers. The Yankees never before had five rookie pitchers make their debut in one season, but because of injuries, five rookie pitchers started 20 of the Yanks’ first 42 games. At least the Yankees now know they have some pretty good young pitching, and while prospects for postseason play this year look bleak, the team is in pretty good shape, starting-pitching wise, for the future.

 

      A great place to see future Yankees is at Scranton’s suburban PNC Field, home of the team’s Triple-A farm team. A nice woodsy background is quite a change from New York’s crowded backdrops. Columbus -where the Yankees had their top farm club for decades – was too far from New York. Detroiters are lucky to have the Tigers’ top minor league club in downtown Toledo, only an hour away from most of our shuls.

 

*     *     *

 

      Martin Berger, 40, a trial lawyer from Miami who had been a vital player in setting up the Israel Baseball League, now has the title of president and chief operating officer of the IBL. The six teams in the league boast new colorful caps that can be purchased on the IBL website (www.IsraelBaseballLeague.com).

 

      Three of the team’s managers are former major leaguers – Ron Blomberg, Ken Holtzman and Art Shamsky – while the three other managers also have baseball yichus: Steve Hertz is a college baseball coach in the U.S.; Shaun Smith is well known in Australian baseball circles; and Chicago-born Ami Baran, a legend in softball and baseball coaching in Israel, is also a major in the Israel Police, active in the High Crimes Investigation Unit. It’ll be interesting to see if his team, the Netanya Tigers, leads the league in stolen bases.

 

      Irwin Cohen, the author of seven books, headed a national baseball publication for five years before earning a World Series ring working as a department head in a major league front office. His “Baseball Insider” column appears the second week of each month in The Jewish Press. Cohen, who is president of the Detroit area’s Agudah shul, may be reached in his dugout at irdav@sbcglobal.net.

Irwin Cohen

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/sports/just-one-pitch/2007/06/06/

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