There’s always next season

Last night’s Wild Card loss to the Giants was the end of the season for the Mets. There were too many losses in the regular season to suggest the Mets would do anything but struggle if they made it to the post season, so a single game knockout may have been the least painful exit after all that. (But that ninth inning collapse after Noah Syndergaard‘s domination over seven innings must have hurt.) If they are to do better next season, they will need to strengthen the offense, hope for less injuries, and see if they can find that magic ingredient: consistency – especially in winning!

There’s always next season.

Let’s go Mets!

Later today, the 2016 Major League Baseball season begins. There are four matches scheduled for today, one of which is a rematch between last year’s World Series finalists: the New York Mets and the Kansas City Royals. The Royals came out on top in that encounter, and although the Mets did better than expected by getting there, the loss must have hurt. Early season form is notoriously unreliable, but the Mets will sure want some revenge to get them a good start to the season. Plus, they only managed to snap a fourteen game losing streak with their very last pre-season 8-1 win over the Cubs. So, you could not exactly say they were in a championship dominating state of mind.

So far as the long term prospects for the season are concerned, I’ll be very surprised if the Mets repeat last year’s success, although many pundits say they are better now. The pitching quality and depth is excellent. But it has to perform. Fielding and batting could be better. Maybe we will get some pleasant surprises from those areas? Regardless, it’s going to be an interesting season, and true Mets fans will support the team no matter what.

It’s worth noting that many are expecting the Royals to be back in the World Series again this year. How will they handle the burden of expectation? (Somehow, the Mets and ‘burden of expectation’ do not belong in the same sentence.)

Let’s go Mets!

Yom Kippur – Remembering the sermon on the mound

It’s been 50 years since the Sermon on the mound. Unbelievable. The Jerusalem Post reminds us:

This Yom Kippur marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most seminal moments in postwar American Jewish life, an event – or, to be more precise, one that did not occur – that had a profound impact on how US Jewry came to feel about itself and its place in society.

In 1965, the Day of Atonement coincided with October 6, the date on which the Los Angeles Dodgers were going up against the Minnesota Twins in the first game of baseball’s World Series.

The Dodgers’ best pitcher, Sandy Koufax, was expected to lead the charge for the team. With a dazzling overhand curveball that seemed to defy gravity and a blazing fastball that was virtually unhittable, Koufax was dubbed by Hall of Famer Ernie Banks “the greatest pitcher I ever saw.” Or, as Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci once wrote, “Koufax was so good, he once taped a postgame radio show with Vin Scully before the game.”

But Koufax wasn’t just a baseball superstar.

He was also a Jew from Brooklyn, and a proud one at that. And although he was completely secular, he found himself facing a dilemma: stand by his teammates and play, or respect the sanctity of the day.

Koufax chose the latter, sitting out the first game (which the Dodgers went on to lose). His choice caused a sensation among an entire generation of American Jews, from the most observant to the least active. It underlined that Jews need not feel discomfort about their identity while taking part in American public life.

One of many such examples, but one of the most famous and enduring.

As we head in to this Yom Kippur, it remains only for me to say:

“G’mar chatima tovah 5776”

An easy fast to one and all taking part.