July 11, 2011
Youkilis talks about pressure of being a Jewish ballplayer
With the Midsummer Classic tomorrow night, I’m enjoying the Home Run Derby right now. What better time to blog about Jews in baseball?
Guys like Ryan Braun and Kevin Youkilis and Hank Greenberg and, of course, Sandy Koufax have made frequent appearances on this blog. (As have the Dodgers. Coincidentally, yesterday was Jewish Community Day at Dodger Stadium.) Koufax is maybe as well known for skipping the opening game of the 1965 World Series as he is for pitching the perfect game seen in the above video. Would any of today’s Jewish baseball stars make the same showing of religious commitment?
The Jewish Exponent has a story asking and answering that question as it pertains to Youkilis. An excerpt:
As regular readers of this blog know, and as I recently discussed in a post about Rays outfielder Sam Fuld, Jewish athletes feel a lot of communal pressure to practice in ways they otherwise might not—sometimes secular or unaffiliated Jews, like basketball player Jordan Farmar, who feel like they’re letting Jews down when they don’t so conviction like Koufax or Greenberg.
It’s understandable. By all means. We all need heros, and often those heros taken on mythical characteristics. They become giants—until those heros let us down. But it isn’t really fair.