All Braun and Some Brain

Sandy Koufax and Hank Greenberg stand out as iconic figures among Jews who have played the game of baseball in America at its highest level.  There have however been many, many more non-descript players who would have retired in total annonymity were they not members of the tribe (not to be confused with the Cleveland Indians’ organization).

Let’s face it.  Other than Koufax, can you think of any pitcher who struck fear into opposing pitchers with his brush back pitches?  According to our tradition, arms were made for wrapping phylacteries not perfecting trajectories.  You say he’s got great spin, and we think advertising campaigns.  Other than Hank Greenberg, can you think of any hitter who received an intentional pass?   You say intentional pass and we think of free entrance to ballpark museums. Stereotyping is commonplace, but it’s always different when the quip comes from “oonzereh”, or one of us.

This makes the case of Ryan Braun all the more intriguing.  It is curious that sportswriter Mike Lupica, calling into question the plausibility of Braun’s story, labels Braun’s defense of victimization as iconic of victim-hood dating back to Capt. Alfred Dreyfus.  Perhaps it’s a coincidence that the Dreyfus Affair had Judaism as it centerpiece, and Braun is a Jewish baseball folk hero of sorts, the first in many years with the potential star status of a Koufax, and evidently quite a scholar-athlete at that.  It’s unfortunate because aside from this veiled reference to Jewish victimhood exonerated, Lupica acknowledges that Braun is one of the rising young stars in baseball.  I’m not saying there is any implication that Braun overturned his suspension because he was able to use his brain better than Bonds or Clemens or the hordes of non-Jewish players who have been flagged for performance enhancing drugs.  It will be interesting however to see how this continues to play out in the media, and how Braun is greeted by fans of opposing teams.

What would a protest sign for Braun look like?  It’s hard to envision the link between matzoh balls and steroids, though I knew some cooks in the Catskills with pretty interesting trade secrets.  Right about now I could use some good chicken soup for the baseball soul.



About Leonard J. Press, O.D., FAAO, FCOVD

Developmental Optometry is my passion as well as occupation. Blogging allows me to share thoughts in a unique visual style.
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2 Responses to All Braun and Some Brain

  1. Daniel Wohlgelernter says:

    I’m troubled that Braun won his appeal on a technicality, rather than on any irrefutable rebuttal of the veracity of the drug test.

  2. Len Press says:

    Agreed. It almost gives anyone who has previously tested clean free license on their first failed test to claim tampering, then strategize on how to stay ahead of the curve on future testing.

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