On first. Rabbi Daniel Schon of the Light of Israel synagogue (1675 Monroe Avenue.) [Photo: David Kramer]
For decades, ballplayers have gathered at the Brighton school fields for a Sunday Pick Up game: “The Game at the Corners.” Over the last two years, we have humbly and light heartedly attempted to immortalize some of the games. FULL SERIES AT END
Over the decades, many of the players have attended the same synagogue or belonged to the Jewish Community Center. So – while of course the game is open to all who love softball for the fun of it – we’ve attracted a lot of Jewish players. This season we had what was probably a first for the game: a Rabbi. Rabbi Daniel Schon of the Light of Israel synagogue on 1675 Monroe Avenue.
Dani moved to Rochester from Cincinnati in August 2016 and heard about the game from Rabbi Avi Mammon. He’s been a steady third baseman all summer, although sometimes he has to leave the game early to teach a class at the JCC. Interestingly, Dani might be another first: the first male to have played softball in high school. I learned that in Queens where Dani grew up, Jewish schools don’t offer baseball. Instead, there is a boys softball league. So Dani had a head start on the rest of us.
I caught up with Dani before the game for batting and infield practice. He is so committed to his rabbinical calling that even plays in his formal outfit! I asked a few questions.
Our game is a very friendly one. We don’t have an umpire. Instead, players make the calls and a collective decision is reached. Everyone is expected to be unbiased, and almost always are. As a Rabbi, are you especially able to put objectivity over personal passion. Would a Rabbi make a good umpire?
While rabbis are trained to be objective, they are also disqualified from ruling on any dispute in which they have a personal bias. So, while I try my hardest to be totally honest, I don’t claim that my opinion is better than other people’s because I am a Rabbi.
Before each game, we break down into two teams. A few have jokingly said they want you on their side because of your potential connection to a “higher power.” Do you put any credence in their claim?
🙂 – I think we are all connected to a higher power 🙂
You have seven months until next season. What’s your training regime?
I play tennis to get some exercise and to keep up my hand eye coordination.
Do you have any favorite Jewish baseball players, past or present?
Sandy Koufax – people still remember his refusal to pitch in game one of the ’65 wold series which fell out on Yom Kippur. I think that reminded many American Jews of the importance of Yom Kippur.
UPDATE: reader and longtime Corner’s player Michael Raff adds:
As a matter of rabbinical note, many years ago Rabbi Vogel joined in for a few games using his background in cricket.
2015 Game at the Corners
2016 Game at the Corners
2018 Game at the Corners