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The Jewish Sport Report: This Jewish publicist is Hall of Fame-bound

Also in the Sports Report . . . Orthodox MLB prospect and Team Israel pitcher Jacob Steinmetz has been heating up in Single A

Hello! We’ve got a fun one for you today.

Orthodox MLB prospect and Team Israel pitcher Jacob Steinmetz has been heating up in Single A: in his first nine starts this season, the 20-year-old has 50 strikeouts in 45 innings with a 3.60 ERA and a 2-2 record.

He’s been so good, in fact, that I had to see the righty for myself. So I made the trip to Rancho Cucamonga, California, last night for Steinmetz’s latest outing — he went six strong innings with four strikeouts and one earned run as his Visalia Rawhide beat the Quakes 2-1 in 10 innings. Stay tuned for more on the rising star.

Thinking outside the box got Fred Sternburg into the Boxing Hall of Fame

Jerry Izenberg, Manny Pacquiao and Fred Sternburg

Fred Sternburg, right, with clients Jerry Izenberg, left, and boxing world champion Manny Pacquiao. (Courtesy of Fred Sternburg)

As a reporter covering the Jewish sports world, I have gotten to know many of the PR professionals who work on each side of my beat — and the few who cover both. One of those is Fred Sternburg — and before long, I got used to seeing his name pop up in my inbox.

Sternburg, a veteran publicist with more than four decades of experience, has represented some of the biggest names in boxing, from Manny Pacquiao and Winky Wright to Israeli champion (and now rabbi) Yuri Foreman.

He’s also worked with numerous journalists, authors and documentarians, including the prominent sportswriter Jerry Izenberg. In fact, Sternburg connected me with Izenberg when he published his memoir last year.

This weekend, Sternburg finds himself in the spotlight: the PR pro will be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in New York on Sunday. So for a change, I talked to Sternburg about his own story.

Halftime report

FINALS ‘COUNTDOWN’. The NBA Finals began last night, with the Boston Celtics facing the Dallas Mavericks. While none of the players are Jewish, there is one prominent Jew on the court: Malika Andrews, the award-winning analyst and host of ABC’s “NBA Countdown” studio show. “I knew back when we were studying for her bat mitzvah that she was a force to be reckoned with,” Andrews’ childhood cantor Ilene Keys told J. The Jewish News of Northern California.

MAV AND MAUS. Speaking of the Finals, some have noticed that Dallas’ alternate jerseys, which say “MAVS” on the front, look a lot like “Maus,” the name of Art Spiegelman’s 1986 best-selling Holocaust graphic novel. “Maus” has been back in the news in recent years due to school district efforts to ban the book. The Forward has more on the coincidence — including what Spiegelman himself had to say about it.

TITLE-BOUND? The NCAA Division I College Baseball World Series is underway, with the Super Regionals phase beginning today. According to Jewish Baseball News, at least six Jewish players remain in the tournament: pitcher Adam Arther (Kansas State University), infielder Henry Godbout (University of Virginia), pitcher Charlie Goldstein (University of Georgia), catcher Max Kaufer (Texas A&M University), pitcher Ryan Prager (Texas A&M University) and pitcher Brian Zeldin (University of Virginia).

PRIME TIME. Sports docuseries are all the rage these days, and the NHL is getting in on the action. The league announced a new Amazon Prime series that will chronicle the lives of some of the sport’s biggest stars on and off the ice. Boston Bruins goalie Jeremy Swayman and Vancouver Canucks defenseman and captain Quinn Hughes will both be featured.

NANCY SPEAKS OUT. The biggest topic on sports talk shows this week has been Caitlin Clark and her impact on the WNBA — a discourse sparked anew last Sunday with Chicago Sky player Chennedy Carter’s flagrant foul against Clark. Jewish basketball Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman, whose namesake award Clark won three years in a row, did not mince words about the controversy. “If I were Caitlin Clark, I would’ve punched her in the face,” Lieberman said on a FanDuel TV show. “I’m from New York, and I would have told her to ‘F— off.’”

ALL-STARS OF DAVID. Voting for this summer’s MLB All-Star Game opened this week, and five Jewish players are on the ballot: Oakland A Zack Gelof (second base), Houston Astro Alex Bregman (third base), New York Met Harrison Bader (outfield), L.A. Angel Kevin Pillar (designated hitter) and Arizona Diamondback Joc Pederson (designated hitter). Fans can also submit write-in votes, while pitchers are selected through a players’ vote.

Donald Sterling’s downfall is back in the spotlight

Ed O'Neill and Jacki Weaver in "Clipped"

Ed O’Neill, center, as Donald Sterling and Jacki Weaver, left, as Shelly Sterling in FX’s new Hulu series “Clipped.” (Screenshot from YouTube)

A decade after Donald Sterling was banned from the NBA and forced to sell his Los Angeles Clippers franchise, a new FX series on Hulu tells the story of the disgraced Jewish billionaire.

“Clipped,” which premiered this week, is based on “The Sterling Affairs,” a podcast series by ESPN reporter Ramona Shelburne, who is Jewish, and who is also an executive producer on “Clipped.”

Sterling, born Donald Tokowitz to Ashkenazi Jewish immigrant parents, owned the Clippers from 1981 until 2014, when he received a lifetime ban and a $2.5 million fine from the NBA after private recordings revealed him making racist comments about Black people. During his years atop the franchise, the Clippers were among the worst teams in all of sports on the court, and a laughingstock off of it.

The debacle featured several references to Sterling’s Jewishness — from mentions of racism in Israel and Nazi Germany on the recording itself to a discussion of Jewish free loan groups during Sterling’s infamous interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

Tap here for a full refresher on the former Clippers owner.

Jews in sports to watch this weekend (all times ET)

🏒 IN HOCKEY…

Zach Hyman and the Edmonton Oilers take on the Florida Panthers in the Stanley Cup Finals, beginning with Game 1 Saturday at 8 p.m.

⚾️ IN BASEBALL…

Max Fried, who was masterful again on Tuesday against Boston, takes the mound for the Atlanta Braves Sunday at 1:35 p.m. against the Washington Nationals. Kevin Pillar and the Los Angeles Angels host Alex Bregman and the Houston Astros in a three-game series this weekend. Across the pond, Harrison Bader and the New York Mets face Garrett Stubbs and the Philadelphia Phillies in the third edition of MLB’s London Series. Game 1 is Saturday at 1:10 p.m. on Fox and Game 2 is Sunday at 10:10 a.m. on ESPN.

⚽️ IN SOCCER…

Daniel Edelman and the New York Red Bulls play the New England Revolution Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

⛳️ IN GOLF…

Max Homa is in Dublin, Ohio, this weekend for the PGA’s Memorial Tournament.

🏎️ IN RACING…

The Formula One championship continues with Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll’s home race, the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, Sunday at 2 p.m.

Taking flight

Speaking of sports docs, the new documentary about Jewish WNBA legend Sue Bird is now streaming on Netflix. “Sue Bird: In the Clutch” debuted at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. I know what I’ll be watching this weekend!

 

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This article originally appeared on JTA.org.

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