day 2: the homage

Today is two days of the omer: gevurah she’b’hesed. (Because of Shabbat, I’m posting this before the second day actually begins.)

I should be writing about Derek Jeter. I know it, you know it, my blog co-authors who know only a little about baseball probably know it. My cats know it. Jeter is pretty much undisputedly the best player to ever wear the number 2. But these posts aren’t necessarily about the best player with each number. And what better day than two to showcase someone who is not #1?

IMG_3777
cat Alex Bregman (non-mandatory credit: me)

So I’m going today with a guy who chose his number as an homage to Mr. November: Alex Bregman, for whom I have unusual affection. Those aforementioned cats? One of them is named for the Astros third baseman. (Plus, Bregman is Jewish. I have to include as many Jewish baseball players as I can in a project about Jewish ritual!)

Day 2 of the omer is the quality of gevurah in the week of hesed. The two qualities are generally understood as opposites, two qualities that try to balance each other out. If hesed is overabundance of openheartedness, then gevurah is an overabundance of intransigence.

MLB: All Star Game
human Alex Bregman (mandatory credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)

Bregman is known for being a bit of a cut-up in the dugout after home runs, staring down the camera, or cajoling his teammates to hop into his bobsled.

But he’s also renowned for plate discipline, almost never swinging at balls. If a poorly-placed pitch is called a strike, he turns and shakes his head at the umpire, and replays show he’s usually right. His post-game interviews are known for brutal self-criticism. A former college teammate said of him: “Work ethic is different than what Alex has. Alex has an obsession. He loves baseball so much and he obsesses over it.”

So let’s count Day 2 with these two qualities — and these two #2’s — in mind (and hope that in the future Alex and the rest of his teammates will show both more hesed and more gevurah the next time the opportunity to cheat comes along).

featured image: David J. Phillip/Associated Press

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