The e-mail starts with the subject line, “Look who is celebrating Passover this year!”
Now, I knew I was probably getting this because of my Jews in sports fascination, so I read on. The text of the e-mail read:
The Red Sox Home Opener, this year, will be postponed for Passover.
Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein announced that the Boston Red Sox Home Opener will be postponed to April 14th … to avoid the eight days of the Passover holiday…. He noted, because three of his starters were Jewish, as were his box seat holders, he was forced to make this change in scheduling. There have been several complaints from fans, who are enraged at Epstein’s decision…. In fact, protests are being tendered to the Commissioner of Baseball’s office. However, Bud Selig, commissioner of baseball, will not be able to address these protests, mainly due to a scheduling problem. This has been caused by the family seders he and Mrs. Selig will be attending. Yes, this is an amazing country. (I love it!)
This would be an amazing thing, if it were true. But, alas, it’s not. Not even close. Let me take a minute to point out the obvious issues.
First, does anyone have an idea of how complicated Major League Baseball’s schedule is? Thirty teams, 162 games, unbalanced schedule. Try to do the math, I dare you. It’s 2,430 total games. For one team to decide to just postpone a home opener for the span of Passover would wreak havoc with the entire schedule. It’d be like taking a brick out of the middle of a pyramid.
OK, second problem: Since the first night of Passover is April 8, postponing the opener until April 14 wouldn’t actually avoid the eight days of the holiday, would it? It seems like this may have been initially written as a joke by someone a few years ago.
That leads to the third problem, another sign that this hoax is dated. The Sox do not have three Jewish starters. Frankly, they never have. But a few years back, they did have Kevin Youkilis (still there), Gabe Kapler (now with Tampa) and Adam Stern (who isn’t really Jewish and was last seen playing for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic) on the same roster.
Sorry to burst your bubble here if you got this e-mail and suddenly thought that we live in an amazing country because Theo Epstein cancelled the Red Sox home opener for Pesach. But as the 2009 season approaches, there’s plenty to love about baseball from a Jewish perspective. There’s still Youk in Boston, Braun in Milwaukee, Kinsler in Texas, Kapler in Tampa, Marquis in Chicago and even Grabow right here in Pittsburgh. There’s even top prospect Aaron Poreda, who should hit the White Sox soon. Hey, three of them – Youkilis, Braun and Grabow – just played on Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. That’s three legit Jews on the U.S. National Team. That’s no hoax.
So we haven’t gotten to the point where baseball is delayed by a Jewish holiday, and you know what, we never will. The only place that would happen would be in Israel. Unfortunately, the Israel Baseball League is no more, closing down after one season. But even with that, there’s hope. There’s talk of reviving the league in the next year or so. So you want to somehow combine Passover and baseball? It’s easy. During the seder, think of the IBL when you say, “Next Year in Jerusalem.”
(Jonathan Mayo, The Chronicle’s sports columnist and a staff writer for MLB.com, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)