Jews vs. Gentiles

When Gary Turner first heard about the Jews versus Gentiles baseball game, he wondered, “What is that about?”

When Mark Schneiderman’s wife, Leslie, first heard about it, “she couldn’t stop laughing,” Schneiderman said. “Then she said, ‘You’re going to get killed.’ ”

The laugh’s on Leslie. The 12-man Dodgertown West Jews routed the Dodgertown West Gentiles 9-2 on Jan. 7 at Mary Star of the Sea High School in San Pedro.

“It was a lot of fun,” Mark Schneiderman said. “We played pretty good baseball. Everybody’s wondering when we’ll do it again.”

The game arose out of the Dodgertown West players looking for a different way to pair off. They have been playing together since 1984, when a small group of men who had just returned from a Dodgers fantasy camp in Vero Beach, Fla., wanted to continue the friendships that developed. The facility was called Dodgertown for the 55 years the Dodgers used it, so calling it Dodgertown West seemed natural. Only those who have attended at least one fantasy camp are eligible to join.

More than 130 players — the majority of whom are Jews — compete on six different teams, with the rosters changing every six months.

Previously, the players paired off as Orange County versus Los Angeles County. Turner, who pitched for the Gentiles, realized how odd Jews versus Gentiles might seem, “but we’re all such good friends [and] this seemed like fun,” he said.

Catcher Aron Levinson said playing this way made it seem like they’re really playing for something.

“We’ve been persecuted so much in the past, and it’s a way to show the league that Jews are good athletes,” he said.

Sandy Koufax proved that decades ago, Turner said. Schneiderman said he didn’t think he’d see a Koufax-like performance, although starting pitcher Steve Moritz held the Gentiles in check. The Jews led 9-0 into the bottom of the ninth inning before the Gentiles scored.

As is common with friendly rivalries, the trash talk spewed freely.

Turner predicted a Gentile victory and guaranteed he would strike out his good friend Schneiderman. Schneiderman, who grounded out against Turner, said there was “about as much chance of that happening as [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad converting to Judaism.”

Since indications are that the players want to play Jews versus Gentiles again, David Liptz, one of the game’s organizers, said he wants the next game to be in the desert so the Jews could be the home team.