Rob Friedman, right, with Jewish pitcher Max Fried at the 2022 MLB All-Star Weekend red carpet event in Los Angeles. (Courtesy of Rob Friedman)

The Jewish Sport Report: How a Jewish lawyer became baseball’s favorite ‘Pitching Ninja’

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The Jewish Sport Report: How a Jewish lawyer became baseball’s favorite ‘Pitching Ninja’

Rob Friedman, right, with Jewish pitcher Max Fried at the 2022 MLB All-Star Weekend red carpet event in Los Angeles. (Courtesy of Rob Friedman)

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Happy Friday, Jewish sports fans! We’re kvelling over this story from our friends at the New York Jewish Week — about a newlywed couple who celebrated their wedding during a game at Yankee Stadium.

“I grew up in a home where, I think, the two pillars were Judaism and the New York Yankees,” said Maya Rosen. “When we thought about where to do sheva brachot, there was just no other place.”

Read the charming story right here.

How Rob Friedman became the “Pitching Ninja”

Rob Friedman, left, interviews three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw at MLB’s 2023 All-Star Weekend in Seattle. (Courtesy of Rob Friedman)

Rob Friedman never meant to become famous.

A Jewish lawyer who co-founded a tech company in the late ’90s, Friedman became obsessed with the art of pitching when he coached his son’s youth baseball teams.

Friedman started tweeting clips of pitchers back in 2014 with the hope of sharing his love of pitching with the world. The world noticed.

Fast forward to 2023, and Friedman’s multimedia brand “Pitching Ninja” has amassed over a million followers across social media. Friedman can be seen offering pitching analysis on numerous TV networks and, perhaps most impressively, MLB pitchers themselves turn to him for advice.

“There are days I wake up and I’m like, how the heck did I get that lucky to do this?” Friedman told me. “This is so cool.”

Read more about the “Pitching Ninja” right here.

Halftime report

MOVING ON UP. Israeli goalkeeper Daniel Peretz has signed a long-term contract with F.C. Bayern Munich, the German powerhouse with a rich Jewish history of its own.

ICYMI. Pro tip: Don’t tick off a UFC fighter. Natan Levy, the third Israeli to ever compete in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, challenged an online troll who supports Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes to a fight. It went about how you’d expect.

ANALYZE THIS. Super Bowl champion Julian Edelman will join Fox’s NFL coverage this season. The former New England Patriot, who retired in 2021, worked as an analyst on another show for the past two years.

ON FIRE. Oakland Athletics rookie Zack Gelof continues to rake — the second baseman has 40 hits and 10 homers through his first 35 games. He’s already setting records for the A’s.

PERSPECTIVE. When Bill Silvers tried playing pickleball for the first time, it didn’t go well. Just 10 minutes into playing, Silvers suffered a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed. As he overcame the accident, Silvers drew inspiration from his parents, who survived the Holocaust. Here’s his story.

RESPECT. When soccer superstar Lionel Messi joined the MLS’ Inter Miami this year, Jewish player DeAndre Yedlin understandably relinquished his role as the team’s captain. But when the club won the Leagues Cup this week, Messi made a gracious gesture to his predecessor. Check it out.

MAZEL TOV. Tennis GOAT Serena Williams and her husband Alexis Ohanian welcomed their second baby this week, and gave her a beautiful Hebrew name.

Jared Armstrong, right, playing professional basketball in Israel. (Courtesy of Jared Armstrong)

Jared Armstrong hopes to use basketball to make a change

Jared Armstrong, the Jewish basketball player who made headlines with his fight for Israeli citizenship last year, is preparing to head back to Israel for his second season as a pro basketball player.

Before he leaves the United States, he’s using his platform for another issue he’s passionate about: promoting Black-Jewish relations.

This Sunday in Philadelphia, Armstrong is hosting a free basketball clinic for middle schoolers.

“With a rich history of Black and Jewish relations, and kind of where we’re at in society, it’s only right that we come closer together,” Armstrong told me. “I thought it would be great to do that starting from the youngest age and up.”

More on his new project here.

Jews in sports to watch this weekend

⚾️ IN BASEBALL…

Atlanta Braves ace Max Fried takes the mound against the San Francisco Giants for the second weekend in a row. He and teammate Kevin Pillar will face Joc Pederson Saturday at 4:05 p.m. ET. The Milwaukee Brewers and slugger Rowdy Tellez, who returned this week after missing six weeks with an injury, face the San Diego Padres this weekend. The Los Angeles Angels and reliever Kenny Rosenberg, who was just recalled from the minors, take on the New York Mets.

⚽️ IN SOCCER…

Manor Solomon and the Tottenham Hotspurs play Bournemouth Saturday at 7:30 a.m. ET, while Matt Turner and Nottingham Forest match up against Man United Saturday at 10 a.m. ET. Daniel Peretz could join his new club Bayern Munich for their game against Augsburg on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. ET.

⛳️ IN GOLF…

Max Homa, who finished fifth in last week’s BMW Championship, is in Atlanta this weekend for the Tour Championship, the culminating event of the PGA Tour Playoffs for the FedEx Cup.

🏈 IN FOOTBALL…

It’s the final week of the NFL preseason! Catch Jake Curhan and the Seattle Seahawks against AJ Dillon and the Green Bay Packers Saturday at 1 p.m. ET. Greg Joseph and his Minnesota Vikings play the Arizona Cardinals at the same time.

🏎️ IN RACING…

The Formula One summer break is over, and Jewish Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll is in ninth place with 47 points. The Dutch Grand Prix is Sunday at 9 a.m. ET.

The stars are out in the Hamptons

Tennis star Diego Schwartzman at Maccabi USA’s clinic, Aug. 20, 2023. (Courtesy of Maccabi USA)

Jewish-Argentine tennis star Diego Schwartzman joined Maccabi USA for a tennis clinic and Q&A in the Hamptons last weekend. Here he is showing a young player how it’s done.

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