September 23, 2019

Is the next big (Jewish) baseball star here in Los Angeles?

As the baseball flared into short center field in the bottom of the 2nd inning at Dodger Stadium last night, most of the crowd stood up and gave the batter, Joc Pederson, now standing on 1st base, an excited, prolonged ovation. 

Sitting a few rows behind home plate, my friends and I were unaware why a basically routine single elicited such a response from the fans—and then we saw on the scoreboard that it was Pederson’s first ever hit in the major leagues.

He had a solid night, replacing Yasiel Puig in the lineup and reaching base twice against Washington Nationals’ pitcher Doug Fister (2.66 earned run average…that’s really good) including the 2nd inning single, a 2-2 fastball in on his hands that he fisted into center field. 

Pretty cool, right? But nothing huge. First hits ever happen all the time in baseball—Pederson’s seemed like another one of those. Most position players in the MLB don’t produce particularly notable hitting statistics throughout their careers, if they even manage to consistently stay at the major league level and not waffle between the big leagues and the minors.

But this morning, I came across ” target=”_blank”>this on Yahoo! Sports, and ” target=”_blank”>this in the Los Angeles Times. Sports columnist Bill Plaschke wrote in the Times that Pederson could take over center field, push Puig back to right, and become a “viable playoff piece” in October.

Coming from the Dodgers’ top minor league team in Albuquerque (of