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Browsing Posts tagged Justine Siegal

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Justine Siegal, a Jewish woman who recently made history by pitching batting practice to several MLB teams, has her own baseball card.

According to Jewish Sports Collectibles, a 2009 card depicts Siegal in her role as a coach of the Brockton Rox, a team in the independent CanAm League. The card reportedly is available for roughly $2.50 on eBay, though blog author Josh Platt notes that he obtained his copy from specialty dealer Minor League Singles.

A nice gift for your baseball-loving Bat Mitzvah girl, perhaps.

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Daily highlights

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS –Here are your highlights for Wednesday, March 9:

For the second day in a row, Boston Red Sox prospect Ryan Lavarnway helped earn his team to victory.

Pinch-hitting for DH David Ortiz, Lavarnway led off the bottom of the 9th inning with a rally-starting single that culminated in a 2-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles. Who followed Lavarnway with another single? Why, RF Ryan Kalish.

So far this Spring Training, Lavarnway is 3/7 (.429) with a double, HR, and 3 RBIs.

Over in Washington, D.C., Nationals pitcher Jason Marquis continued his encouraging recovery from a dismal 2010 season, earning the win in an 8-4 triumph over the Florida Marlins. In his two starts this Spring Training, Marquis has held opposing batters scoreless all 7 innings, giving up just 3 hits and one walk while striking out 4.

Tampa Bay Rays prospect Sam Fuld went 0/2 in a 4-3 exhibition win over the Netherlands, but he did have the privilege of taking batting-practice swings against Justine Siegal. A seasoned ballplayer, coach and Jew, Siegal made headlines this Spring Training by becoming the first woman to pitch batting practice to a Major-League team.

Eagle-eyed Jewish Baseball News readers may have noticed that today’s Jewish Box Score contained a name we haven’t seen in a while: 2B David Newhan.

Newhan was raised Jewish but adopted Messianic Judaism — a movement that combines Jewish ritual with evangelical Christian ideology — after his inaugural MLB season (1999). He last played Major-League ball with the Houston Astros in 2008 and minor-league ball with the Philadelphia Phillies’ “AAA” team in 2009.

Newhan recently hooked-up with the the San Diego Padres, and on Wednesday he made his first Spring Training appearance since 2009, going 1/2 with a single.

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Photo courtesy of BaseballGlory.com

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — If you follow baseball news closely, you probably read this week about the woman who made history by pitching batting practice to an MLB team, the Cleveland Indians (see video).

Ohio native Justine Siegal isn’t just a fan of the Tribe, though. She’s a Member of the Tribe, too.

In an e-mail to Jewish Baseball News, Siegal revealed that her daughter attends a Jewish day school and, like her mom, had her Bat Mitzvah in Israel, using a Torah that “was passed through 4 generations.”

“I would spiritually have to lean towards being a secular humanistic Jew,” Siegal wrote. “But I do tell people I am Jewish.”

Her Jewish roots run deep. In 2002, Cleveland College of Jewish Studies was renamed Siegal College of Judaic Studies in honor of her grandparents, who were key benefactors.

Siegal’s baseball resume — she actually has one devoted to the sport — is lengthy. It includes playing on her high-school’s boys baseball team, coaching men’s college and minor-league teams, founding a nonprofit group devoted to training female baseball players, and pursuing a Ph.D in sports psychology at Springfield (Mass.) College.

Media coverage of Siegal’s batting-practice stint has bordered on condescending. The reason women hadn’t pitched batting practice before is not because they weren’t capable of it. Indeed, anyone who has watched an MLB team take batting practice knows the balls are practically lobbed in, and that hundreds of female athletes could pitch it perfectly well.

No, the reason women don’t pitch MLB batting practice is because it’s normally pitched by full-time coaches, many of whom played MLB ball, and 100% of whom are male.

To graduate from publicity stunts to real change, the Indians and other teams will need to take the next step and hire full-time female coaches.

In the meantime, we should congratulate Siegal not only for breaking the B.P. barrier, but for exposing one of the MLB’s ongoing flaws.

— Scott Barancik

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