June 12, 2024
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June 12, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

It was recently reported that two Orthodox Jewish baseball players, Jacob Steinmetz and Elie Kligman, were selected in this year’s draft for Major League Baseball. Before Steinmetz and Kligman take the field, their families would be wise to bone up on baseball terminology, which sometimes can be confusing to those coming from the Jewish world. Some examples are provided below.

In baseball, a “double play” occurs when two offensive players are ruled out within the same play. See, Glossary at MLB.com. In the Jewish world, a “double play” occurs when parents marry off two of their kids at a two-for-one joint wedding.

In baseball, “around the horn” is a double play that begins with the third baseman and goes to second and then to first. In the Jewish world, “around the horn” occurs when Jews gather around to hear the shofar blowing.

In baseball, a “home run” occurs when a batter hits a fair ball and scores on the play without being put out or without the benefit of an error. In the Jewish world, a “home run” occurs when you marry someone who is culinarily-challenged and then, at least once a week, you run home for your mother’s incomparable cooking.

In baseball, an “intentional walk” occurs when the defending team elects to walk a batter on purpose, putting him on first base instead of letting him try to hit. In the Jewish world, an “intentional walk” occurs nearly every Shabbos when the weather cooperates.

In baseball, a “plate appearance” refers to a batter’s turn at the plate. In the Jewish world, a “plate appearance” refers to the fact that every time Jews get together, a meal ensues.

In baseball, a “sacrifice fly” occurs when a batter hits a fly-ball out to the outfield or foul territory that allows a runner to score. In the Jewish world, a “sacrifice fly” occurs when you forgo your vacation with your friends and instead fly to hang with your lonely parents or grandparents.

In baseball, a “walk-off” occurs when the home team victoriously takes the lead in the bottom of the ninth or extra innings. In the Jewish world, a “walk-off” occurs every time your overly-controlling parents ask “When are you going to get married?,” prompting you to storm away.

In baseball, a “quality start” occurs when a starting pitcher pitches at least six innings and allows three earned runs or fewer. In the Jewish world, a “quality start” is when a bar mitzvah boy reads the first three aliyot of his parsha without an error or even a hesitation.

In baseball, “caught looking” occurs when a batter is called out on strikes. In the Jewish world, “caught looking” occurs when a parent scolds a child for peeking at the Kohanim during duchaning.

In baseball, a “five-tool player” can do everything well including throw, run, field, hit for average and hit for power. In the Jewish world, a “five-tool player” also can do everything well including daven, read the Torah, read the Haf-Torah, deliver the d’var Torah and sponsor kiddush.

In baseball, a “wild pitch” occurs when a pitch is so errant that the catcher is unable to control it and, as a result, a baserunner advances. In the Jewish world, a “wild pitch” occurs when your meshuga relative comes over and presents an insane investment opportunity that is so crazy that it just might work.

In baseball, “win probability” indicates the chance a team has to win a particular game at a specific point in that game. In the Jewish world, “win probability” indicates the chance one spouse has of convincing the other spouse to approve a specific course of action, e.g., allowing the in-laws to move in.

In baseball, “arm strength” is defined as the maximum velocity of any throw made by a fielder. In the Jewish world, “arm strength” is defined as the number of columns that are displayed when a congregant performs hagbah.

In baseball, a “splitter” is a pitch thrown by gripping the ball with two fingers “split” on opposite sides of the ball. In the Jewish world, a “splitter” is the temporary mechitza set up on the dance floor at weddings and bar/bat mitzvahs.

In baseball, a “shortstop” is the player positioned between the third baseman and the second-base bag. In the Jewish world, a “shortstop” is when your family stops by your relatives’ home for a brief visit that, to your chagrin, usually turns into an all-day affair.

In baseball, the “closer” is the pitcher deployed for the final inning of a game when a narrow lead needs to be protected. In the Jewish world, the “closer” davens musaf or Ne’ilah.

Final thought: In baseball, a “pickle” is a rundown. In the Jewish world, a “pickle” is a pickle.

By Jon Kranz


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