JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Maybe we should change our motto from “People of the Book” to “People of the Blog.”

Eight of the 180 prospects who will play in the Arizona Fall League this year have agreed to blog about their experiences. Two of the 8 are Jewish.

P Josh Zeid, a 23-year-old Philadelphia Phillies prospect who will play for the Mesa Solar Sox, has already started his blog, Phinally Phocused. The New Haven, Conn., native’s debut entry actually addresses being Jewish, and why he initially chose to attend Vanderbilt University:

It was not only one of the best academic universities this side of the Mississippi, excluding the Ivy League’s, but because it was becoming a baseball powerhouse, with guys like David Price and Jeremy Sowers.  It also gave my family a peace of mind.  Growing up in a Jewish household, we focused on having a sound foundation based on private schools and living very close to my extended family.

I only had Sandy Koufax and Hank Greenberg to look up to as legitimate Jewish heroes, so in the back of my family’s mind was a hesitation and a desire for me to focus on getting a good education.  Where I grew up Jewish kids dreamt of playing pro sports, but in reality, becoming doctors, lawyers, accountants, or real estate entrepreneurs was more realistic. I felt I had a platform to be different, and I had the support from my parents and sister to do that.

Zeid, a 6’5″ right-hander, played for the “A” Lakewood BlueClaws during the regular season, going 8-4 with 8 saves and a 2.93 ERA. He worked both as a starter and a reliever. The BlueClaws went on to become the 2010 South Atlantic League champions.

Also blogging about the Arizona Fall League is 2B Jason Kipnis, a 23-year-old Cleveland Indians prospect who will play for the Peoria Javelinas and who spent part of his college career at Arizona State University. He opens his new blog, Kip’s Korner, thusly:

Finally, back in the SunDevil Nation! 1,800 miles, 2 days, 4 Redbulls, and a charged I-pod later, I’ve finally arrived in Arizona. It’s been a long journey to get to this point but it’s been a great one at that.

Kipnis had a phenomenal regular season in 2010. Split between the Indians’ “A-advanced” and “AA” teams , he had a combined batting average of .307, 8 triples, 16 HRs and 74 RBIs. When the “AAA” Columbus Clippers called him up for the playoffs, the Clippers won the championship, and Kipnis played a big role, hitting for the cycle in one game,  falling a single short of a cycle in the next, and going 10/22 overall. Baseball America named him a “Top 20 Prospect” in two leagues this year, the “A-advanced” Carolina League and the “AA” Eastern League.

The Arizona Fall League begins its 32-game season today (10/12/2010). According to, Major League Baseball created the AFL so it could keep a closer eye on its “best” ballplayers, who might otherwise leave the country to play winter ball. All games are played in Spring Training stadiums, and each MLB team gets to send six top prospects to play, mostly from “AA” or “AAA” leagues.

Many go on to Major League careers. According to, 56 percent of the players on the 8 MLB teams that reached the 2010 playoffs are Arizona Fall League alumni.