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Marquis to Pitch on Kol Nidre

‘Your team expects you’ says Jewish National

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Jason Marquis earlier this year.(Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

I will be saying this to myself every year until the day I die: One shouldn’t go to work on Yom Kippur, because during one Yom Kippur Sandy Koufax refused to pitch in Game 1 of the World Series. The cool thing about this Jewish mothers’ tale is that it is actually true (Koufax’s Los Angeles Dodger teammate Don Drysdale started instead, lost the game, and told his manager afterward, “I bet right now you wish I was Jewish, too”).

The basement-dwelling 2010 Washington Nationals are no 1965 Dodgers, and Nats pitcher Jason Marquis, who is Jewish, is certainly no Koufax. But Marquis is slated to start Friday night—Kol Nidre—at the Philadelphia Phillies, and (via Kaplan’s Korner) he plans on doing so (in fact, he has in past years, too). “Your team expects you to do your job and not let your teammates down, and that’s the approach I take,” he said.

Now, look. That is not an invalid response. And for every Koufax, there is also slugger Hank Greenberg, who in 1934 played on Rosh Hashanah while his Detroit Tigers were in a tight pennant race, only to sit out Yom Kippur once a World Series spot was all but secured. Moreover, I don’t think the importance (or lack of importance) of a big game should make a difference: If you feel you shouldn’t play on Yom Kippur, then that should include the World Series; if you feel you should, that should include a meaningless September regular season outing. And Marquis didn’t ask to be made a role model (which, given his 6.60 ERA this season, is maybe a good thing!).

But: Dude. Ask your manager to move your start. C’mon. How are Jewish 8-year-old Nats fans—poor schmucks—going to learn to observe the Highest of the Holidays?

Meanwhile, check Kaplan’s Korner for updates on Kevin Youkilis, Ryan Braun, and the rest.

Marquis Plans To Make Start on Kol Nidre [Miami Herald]
Earlier: Huge Yankees-Sox Game Set for Kol Nidre

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“Hank Greenberg, who in 1934 played on Rosh Hashanah[.]” This is misleading. In the documentry on Greenberg he states that he asked a Detroit Rabbi if he could play on Rosh Hashana. The Rabbi quoted a passage from the Talmud stating ‘the children of Jerusalem played in the street of Jerusalem on Rosh Hahsenah’ and therefore permited Greenberg to play. What Hank found out afterwards was that the Rabbi was a Tigers fan and had “forgotten” to tell Hank that the talmudic passage was actually about Roman kids playing in Jerusalem on Rosh Hashanah after the destruction of the temple.

Wow. I’m guessing he’s totally non-observant. If it involved saving a life, I’m down. But wow. Kol Nidre night? There’s really not much that would be more important in my life — and G!d(dess) knows I’m not orthodox.

I think one should worry about his/her own level of observance and not worry about another person’s. And again we shouldn’t place sports figures as “heroes” for children to worship.

Thanks for the shout-out, Marc. At the risk of offending some, we’re dreaming if we think ALL Jews visit the shul and fast on Yom Kippur, even if they “do” nothing Jewish the rest of the year. Sure, we want our “role models” to set examples, but we also don’t want them to be phony about the situation; that doesn’t set a good example either. An everyday play like Youkilis or Kinsler (have they ever sat on YK?) can skip a day, but a pitcher, especially a starter like Marquis, might think their chances are much more limited. No excuse, I know. As you say, if Koufax can skip a WS opener, surely Marquis can forgo a Sept. start for a last play club. Who knows, his teammates might even respect him more for it.

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Marquis to Pitch on Kol Nidre

‘Your team expects you’ says Jewish National

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