Batting For the Other Team

Published March 02, 2007, issue of March 02, 2007.
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Two years ago, on Jewish Heritage Day at Shea Stadium, home of the New York Mets, rookie first baseman Mike Jacobs electrified the crowd when he used his first major league at bat to hit a home run. The fairy tale had just one unfortunate wrinkle: Jacobs turned out not to be Jewish.

Last year, the Mets smartened up. Just before Jewish Heritage Day, they acquired a bone fide member of the tribe — not a Cleveland Indian, but slugger Shawn Green.

This season, they seem to be splitting the difference. In addition to Green, who has been known to sit out games played on Yom Kippur, and pitcher Scott Schoeneweis, whose mother is Jewish, the team now has on its roster utility fielder David Newhan.

A sportswriter’s son, Newhan had a bar mitzvah at a Conservative synagogue and remained Jewish while attending Pepperdine University, which is affiliated with the Churches of Christ. After a series of difficult seasons early in his career, though, he started looking to the Bible for consolation. It was around this time, he told The New York Times, that “a different train pulled into the station.”

Today he considers himself a messianic Jew.

Then again, now that he’ll be riding a whole new train —the 7 subway — who knows what the future holds?

CORRECTION: The print version of this article misidentified New York Mets player David Newhan.

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