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I convinced myself that I needed another hoodie. Next time, I have to hold the mustard.

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David Eisenstadt handled the infield positions with Temple Sinai’s InterSynagogue Baseball League team for 15 years, and loved every inning of it.

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Raised in Calgary, my Dad (Max) always said play hard, have fun, enjoy the intricacies of  the game and go for it – my Mom (Bessie) said, just be careful.

I played hardball during high school, then in the 60s stopped while attending universities in Calgary and Ottawa.

We moved to Toronto in 1969 and I considered playing again but never found time while working at IBM Canada, then for iconic Canadian adman Jerry Goodis, then starting a PR consulting firm and helping my wife Rhoda build a life together and raising two sons, Harris and Evan.

When I was ready, I scoped out the B’nai Brith leagues but heard they “played rough” and was concerned that injury was a real possibility. I didn’t want to risk it.

In 1997, I joined Temple Sinai’s InterSynagogue Baseball League team competing against Conservative and Reform teams in Toronto on Sunday mornings at various diamonds. Turns out this Slo-Pitch League’s players were rougher than those playing B’nai Brith.

Temple Sinai had two teams. Over 15 seasons, Team 1 Captain Lew Rasminsky had me play second and third base in the early years and then first base.  I was too slow to play the outfield.  We always competed but never won a title, except we did win the Intra-Synagogue Pearlson Cup (named after Sinai’s Founding Rabbi Jordan Pearlson) beating Team 2 from 1993 on for five consecutive years, and in 2001-02.

As players aged and quit for various reasons, including Rasminsky retiring, recruitment of younger players was not a focus and Team 2 disappeared.  Two years later, I was the last man standing on Sinai’s Team 1.

I wanted to keep playing so for the next three years I toiled for Conservative synagogues Adath Israel and then four years with Beth Tzedec who like Sinai had shuttered their team until a Montrealer, Noah Mintz took the helm.  I enjoyed my four years and three consecutive pennants.

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While continuing to play Sundays, I also joined B’nai Brith’s Executive League (a euphemism for older players) in 2000 and played twice a week.  Positioned at second and first, I was drafted onto terrific Fast-Pitch teams with really solid and mostly nice guy ballplayers. In 2011 I was inducted into their Hall of Fame, a signal that my Executive League playing days might be ending. 

(Other Hall of Famers had told me years before that “should you ever get to the Hall, it will be the way the League says thanks for the memories and your service.“)

But I continued to play, albeit less frequently as I suited up for three annual BILD (Greater Toronto Home Builders Association) day-long multi game tournaments for a Toronto Star/HOMES Publishing team, hanging up my cleats for good in 2015.

Looking back, I returned to hardball for an idyllic week in January 2005. 

My family arranged for me to celebrate my 60th birthday as I signed up for a Detroit Tigers Fantasy Camp in Lakeland, Florida.  The Blue Jays didn’t have a camp and I liked the Tigers especially since I was to become the second Eisenstadt to wear Tiger blue (pitcher Harry Eisenstat played for Detroit during the Hank Greenberg era). 

David Eisenstadt evoked his best Al Kaline pose at a Detroit Tigers fantasy camp, while his son Harris showed how to nail a pitch down the third base line.

I wrote various articles covering this experience and in January 2007, older son Harris joined me for my second camp, as we celebrated his 30th birthday.  We kept a diary, wrote a blog and prepared a front page article for The Globe & Mail’s Travel Section, which appeared on the first day of Spring Training, February 27, 2007.

So living in baseball retirement and still working during this Covid-19 pandemic, the pastime continues to be important. This spring I purchased a baseball hoodie that defined me in a phrase.  But, it was not just any team’s hoodie.

When it comes to clothing, I’ve never been comfortable shopping online. It’s not the tech challenge.  I just like trying things on first, and prefer to support brick and mortar retailers.

But as the Covid-19 pandemic became real, I saw a Facebook ad for t-shirts and hoodies with a message that really grabbed me.  It read: “Never Underestimate an Old Man Who Loves Baseball and Was Born In July.”  That’s me, I mused.

While I decided not to add to my 75+ t-shirt collection, I convinced myself that I needed another hoodie. But before making the purchase, there were two nagging issues:

1. The only colour offered was white.

I imagined watching a game (at home during the spring and summer for sure) eating a hot dog and inadvertently spilling mustard on my immaculate hoodie.

2. And, I’ve never subscribed to the word “Old.”                       

Baseball broadcasters tend to describe ‘older ball players as veterans’ and ‘rookies as youngsters’ and at this stage of my life, I am a baseball veteran (while certainly not passing myself off as having served in Canada’s Armed Forces).

Like the young Quebec boy in Roch Carrier’s classic, ‘The Sweater’, David Eisenstadt waited with anticipation for his prized attire to arrive.

Despite my initial reservations, I completed the transaction and received a message that my order would arrive in three weeks

The days passed slowly as I impatiently waited for the package, like the young boy in Roch Carrier’s classic, ‘The Sweater.’ It finally arrived, and I wasn’t disappointed, deciding to put it away for the winter to come.

But I did want to wear it.  After taking great pains to keep it clean, my white hoodie finally succumbed to the inevitable when I was watching an NHL playoff game and eating a hot dog. 

To my dismay, ‘ the white hoodie’ turned to ‘white-with-yellow-highlights.’

Questions from friends (via Zoom or FaceTime calls) wondered whether the stains were Ballpark or Dijon mustard? LOL.

Colour me red-faced as I proclaimed that I am indeed not to be underestimated as the “young” owner of a now white and yellow-stained baseball hoodie, born on the 8th of July.

Calgary -born David Eisenstadt is Founding Partner of tcgpr.com (The Communications Group Inc.) in Toronto, the Canadian partner firm of IPREX Global Communication with 68 offices around the world.  He’s a graduate of Carleton University’s School of Journalism and the University of Calgary.

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

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