With the major league season in the batter’s box and Passover on deck, this time of year is a reminder that Jews and baseball go together like peanuts and Crackerjacks (which is kosher). You don’t have to have the logo of your favorite MLB team on your yarmulke to appreciate the similarities between Passover and the American pastime.
Baseball has round, hard balls. Passover has round, hard matzo balls (unless you get one of my Aunt Sadie’s softballs).
Passover has a seder plate. Baseball has home plate.
Passover has miracles, such as the splitting of the Red Sea. Baseball has miracles, such as the splitting of the Red Sox first baseman’s legs in the 1986 World Series.
Passover has a burning bush. Baseball has Busch Stadium.
Moses freed his people from bondage, but never made it into the Promised Land. Marvin Miller freed major leaguers from the reserve clause, but never made it into the Hall of Fame.
Jews know how the Passover story ends, but still read it every year. Cubs’ fans know how their team’s season will end, but still watch the games with deluded hope and optimism.
Baseball has a designated hitter. Passover has a designated driver, for anyone who finishes all four cups of wine.
During the seven days of Passover, Israeli Jews are prohibited from drinking beer. After the seventh inning, baseball fans are prohibited from buying beer.
Baseball games are too long. Seders are even longer.
During baseball games, everyone argues with the umpires about the rules. During Passover everyone argues about the rules.
Egypt was subjected to 10 plagues. The Yankees are subjected to A-Rod’s 10-year contract.
Passover has an all-powerful Pharaoh who answers only to God. Baseball has an all-powerful commissioner who answers only to God.
Baseball has spring training. Passover has preholiday spring cleaning.
During Passover, some Jews cheat by eating foods that rise. Some baseball players cheat by taking drugs that make their muscles rise.
Moses was the star of Passover. Moises (Spanish for Moses) Alou was a six-time all-star.
In baseball there are home games and away games. In Passover there are seders at your home and seders at your mother-in-law’s.
At the end of each Passover seder, Jews say, “Next year in Jerusalem.” At the end of each season, Mets fans are usually left saying, “Wait ’til next year — or next decade, century, or millennium.”
Ben Krull is a family law attorney and freelance writer based in Manhattan.