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Pro Sports and High Holidays Tangle

The yearly dance of scheduling conflicts commences

Adam Chandler
September 12, 2012
White Sox Third Baseman Kevin YoukilisAP
White Sox Third Baseman Kevin YoukilisAP

The JTA is reporting that the Chicago White Sox organization has changed the start time of its September 25 game against the Cleveland Indians because of Yom Kippur:

The Sept. 25 game will now start at 1:10 p.m. instead of 7:10 p.m., the Chicago White Sox organization announced Tuesday. The game will be played in Chicago.

The time change came after a “significant number” of White Sox fans contacted the baseball club over the game’s conflict with Yom Kippur, a statement from the team said.

For those following, the White Sox have a two-game lead in their division as the playoff push intensifies. According to the Chicago Tribune, one of the happiest about the schedule change is White Sox third baseman and brawny Jew Kevin Youkilis, who, according to legend, has never played a game on Yom Kippur.

“I guess that means I can play,” smiled Youkilis, who is Jewish. “I really didn’t know. I know there was talk that there was something about maybe changing it for the fans on that day. But it’s a good thing for the playoff stretch.”

The pressure is not as intense for the New York Jets, who will have an away game this Sunday with a 4:25 PM start time, just hours before Erev Rosh Hashanah. As professional sports teams go, the Jets have one of the largest Jewish fan bases, as evidenced by an excellent piece we ran last year by Matthew Hiltzik about the miseries of life as a Jets fan and the difficulties of balancing observance with attending the big games.

I hollered at Hiltzik about this year’s scheduling conflict to get his take on it. Here’s what he had to say:

I don’t think it’s right to complain about scheduling of away games. This weekend’s schedule does allow Giants fans to get home for the holiday. The real issue is the Jets’ Monday night ‘Ring of Honor’ home game that will be missed by those Jews observing Simchat Torah.

Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.

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