(JTA) — Alex Bregman is hoping to return to his near MVP form, Max Fried will be doing something no Jewish lefthanded pitcher has done in nearly five decades and World Series winner Joc Pederson is wearing a new jersey as the 2021 Major League Baseball season gets underway Thursday.
That trio is among eight Jewish players who will don uniforms on Opening Day. As the game returns, so will some of the in-person fans: As of Wednesday, all 30 teams will allow some percentage of attendance, ranging from a few thousand seats to full capacity in the case of the Texas Rangers’ stadium in Arlington.
One familiar Jewish face will be missing, though — former Most Valuable Player Ryan Braun, doesn’t have a team after accepting a buyout from the Milwaukee Brewers in the offseason.
But let’s deal with the guys who will be on rosters and representing the Jews, including some who have played for Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic, as we begin anew following the 60-game COVID-abbreviated campaign.