Monday, August 18, 2008

Max Kellerman's Monday Musings Vol XXIII - Baseball, Basketball, and Bar/Bat Mitzva

Today's Max Kellerman and Brian Kenny show had a great deal of sports talk with appropriate measures of social commentary sprinkled in. Of course, that's just my opinion, you can form your own after reading this post.

There was some Mets discussion which focused on Johan Santana and his complete game shutout on Sunday. Max commented that "now Mets fans think that Johan is finally living up to his contract as he threw a complete game shutout." He theorized that Johan is actually not pitching any differently then before, he is just playing inferior competition. Without having analyzed Johan's stats I can't disagree. (Max did a breakdown of his stats, I just wasn't paying close attention at the time). I will say that his only other complete game was against the Cardinals three weeks ago and they are not exactly cellar dwellers.

There also was some refreshing intellectual honesty in discussing the Yankees outfield, including Brett Gardner. Max Kellerman felt that the outfield was OK, but that OK was not good enough when you were talking about the Yankees. He also said that Gardner should start for a team, but preferably one in the NL Central. I'm not sure exactly what he means by that, since three of the six teams in the NL Central (Chicago, Milwaukee and St Louis) have better records than the Yankees. Maybe he is just planning for the next fleecing of the Pirates. Hey, since Brian Cashman listens to the show, maybe he is making plans...

Speaking of Brett Gardner and his fall from HOF status, I'm wondering what another rookie NY outfielder needs to do in order to merit mention on the Kellerman and Kenny show. Daniel Murphy is hitting .415 with a .510 OBP and .659 slugging in 15 games. Now, I don't listen to the guys all day every day, but I would think that at some point I would have heard them mention him.

Although Max has come around with his views on the Yankee outfield, he is still predicting that the Yankees will make the playoffs since Phil Hughes, Joba, Dan Giese and Matsui are coming back. Well, two of the four may have an impact, but the chances of the Yankees making the playoffs are even worse than the Knicks chances of getting to the postseason .

Speaking of basketball, there was a fair amount of basketball chat, triggered by the 'Redeem Team' performance at the Olympics. The analysis was interesting in that Max and Brian were talking about players who attempted to be "the next Michael Jordan" but fell short. Max used a very interesting phrase in discussing Lebron James, saying that Lebron "was not under the anxiety of influence of Jordan" while Kobe tried too hard to be like Mike. Brian also had a great take on the Jordan come latelies (my term not theirs) as he believes that the whole "next Michael Jordan" is an invention of the media, used as a filler to stimulate talk, but lacking in substance. Its refreshing to hear this from a person who has spent decades in the sports media, although Brian always seems to be honest in his analysis and his candor is appreciated.

In connection to the Olympics, Max expressed his satisfaction that the US had trounced Germany in basketball. He then let on that he used to watch the Olympics with his zayde who would root that the German athlete would get injured. I'm jealous, since I never really got to know my grandfathers as they had both passed on by the time I was seven. However, given what that generation went through its more than understandable that he rooted that way. My father's generation (the children of survivors) were virulently opposed to buying German products. Considering that their parents could not even talk to them about the horrors they saw in Europe, how can they be questioned in avoiding German cars?

Max also had an interesting take on Brett Favre and as always, it lends itself to Torah thought. Max mentioned that Brett had a fine game against Washington, but that it does not mean all that much as it was only the preseason. Its funny, but I had just heard a speech on Shabbos at a bat mitzva where the Rabbi talked about how the girl would now be responsible for her actions since she is a halachic adult. He then asked a great question - what does that mean for the miztvos she did before she was bat mitzva, are they meaningless? The answer of course is no, they are not meaningless, there is just a greater level of reward now for her actions. The same can be said for preseason football. While the passes, catches or tackles may not count in the player's official statistics, they are still quite valuable. By getting repetitions with the team, the players will become familiar and will have done the practice necessary to succeed when the games are real. The same can be said of the concept of chinuch - learning how to do mitzvos before the child becomes a bar or bat mitzva. As the child learns how the mitzvos are to be performed, the child gains the invaluable experience of preparing for "the game" before the scores actually count. Much as the quarterback's completion for a TD in the preseason will leave both the QB and the receiver with a sense of accomplishment (despite the fact that the game does not count) a child should take pride in doing mitzvos before he or she becomes of age and the scores start counting for real.

If you have seen this post being carried on another site such as JBlog, please feel free to click here to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up!

No comments: