Do you know what Brad Ausmus, John Grabow, Shawn Green, Al Levine, Jason Marquis, David Newhan, Scott Schoeneweis, and Kevin Youkilis all have in common?
They’re Jewish major leaguers.
I can’t tell you which of them, if any, speak Hebrew, but as promised, now that I’m in Israel, I’m going to teach you how to ask for a ball in the ancient language (I don’t know how to write it in Hebrew, so here’s how it would look in English):
“Z’rok li et ha-kaddur, b’vakkashah.”
It’s pronounced almost exactly how it’s spelled. Here it is phonetically with CAPS indicating where to put the emphasis:
ZROKE lee et ha-ka-DURE, beh-va-ka-shah.
If you ever use this phrase to get a ball, I get the assist.
(THE NON-BASEBALL TRAVEL UPDATE, DAY 5: Security was unbelievably tight at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. There were cameras all over the place and soldiers in camouflaged gear with machine guns, and we were grilled by other security personnel before we could pass through various checkpoints. It felt just like Yankee Stadium.
Every time I showed my passport, the agents gave me suspicious looks and made comments about my (lack of) hair. I mean it. EVERY time. The photo was taken eight years ago when my face was clean-shaven and my head was not. I’d show you the difference, but I can’t get my laptop online.
Tourist factor aside, the main reason why we’re in Israel is to visit my half-brother, Joe. He’s been here all year, studying to become a rabbi. He’s the one who taught me how to ask for a ball in Hebrew…and Japanese and Russian and Sanskrit. He knows nine languages.)