Pray ball! Jewish heritage night at Giants, A’s

An orange and black Kiddush cup, a baseball cap stitched with “A’s” in Hebrew and a band that performs the music of the late Reb Shlomo Carlebach are all components of this summer’s annual Jewish Heritage Night baseball games in the Bay Area.

This year, the games in San Francisco and Oakland are a mere eight days apart. For the Giants, it will be their 11th annual Jewish Heritage Night; for the A’s, their fifth. Here are some details on each event:

San Francisco Giants

Game: 7:15 p.m. Monday, July 27 at AT&T Park vs. Milwaukee Brewers.

Ticket situation: The entire allotment of 2,000 Jewish Heritage Night tickets is sold out. If you’re looking to buy, check with Jewish organizations that bought in bulk. Fans without the special ticket will not be admitted to the pregame party or receive the souvenir giveaway item.

Giants’ souvenir item for this year

Top purchasers: Peninsula Temple Beth El (San Mateo), Camp Tawonga, Congregations Emanu-El and Beth Sholom (San Francisco) and the Oshman Family JCC (Palo Alto) each bought 100 or more tickets. Beth El organizers told J. they purchased upward of 220 tickets and scheduled a huge tailgate party in the parking lot.

Giveaway item: A Kiddush cup with “borei pri hagafen” written atop the “SF” logo, with a Star of David on the opposite side. Available at pregame party or near section 334 until the end of the fifth inning. A recap of recent souvenir items: menorah (2011), yarmulke (2012), dreidel (2013) and mezuzah (2014).

Pregame party: In Seals Plaza beyond center field from 5 to 7 p.m., Jerry’s Kosher Deli will be playing and kosher food, beer and wine will be available for purchase. The band, which performs Carlebach’s music, also puts a Jewish twist on the music of Jerry Garcia, Bob Marley and others.

During the game: Jewish music will be played between some innings, and Danny Grossman, the new CEO of the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation, will lead the crowd in “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh-inning stretch.

Jewish players to watch: The Giants don’t have any; the Brewers have slugger Ryan Braun, who is among National League leaders in home runs and runs batted in.

Wins and losses: The Giants are 4-6 in Jewish heritage home games following a 5-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates last year. The year before, they lost 3-1 to Milwaukee.

Oakland A’s

Game: 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 4 at Coliseum vs. Baltimore Orioles.

Ticket situation: The team is almost sold out of its stock of about 2,000 Jewish Heritage Night tickets, a big jump from the 650 sold in 2011. Fans without a special ticket will not be admitted to the pregame party or receive the souvenir giveaway item. This game falls on a Free Parking Tuesday, a nice $20 savings. For ticket information, visit

A’s souvenir item for this year

Top purchasers: Some 18 Jewish organizations have bought between 25 and 125 tickets. That’s too many to mention here, but the top of the list includes Temple Beth Abraham and Temple Sinai (Oakland), the Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley, Congregation B’nai Tikvah (Walnut Creek) and Tehiyah Jewish Day School (El Cerrito).

Giveaway item: This year’s item looks a lot like last year’s, a green A’s cap with “A’s” stitched in Hebrew on the front and a small “Athletics” in Hebrew on the side. But the stitching is better quality and it’s yellow rather than white. “We had so much interest in the caps after last year’s event that we decided to make it the giveaway item again this year,” said Jeff Perlmutter of the A’s front office. Available pregame in the Eastside Club and then behind section 114 through the third inning.

Pregame party: From 5:30 p.m. until the first pitch, in the Eastside Club behind the outfield. The party will include the return of klezmer band Orchestra Euphono, plus food. Each ticket holder gets a voucher for a nonkosher meal; past choices have been roasted chicken with potatoes or a falafel sandwich.

During the game: Cantor Jennie Chabon of Congregation B’nai Tikvah in Walnut Creek will sing the national anthem, and “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” will be performed klezmer-style by Orchestra Euphono. Other details are being ironed out.

Jewish players to watch: The Orioles don’t have any, but the A’s are well stocked with outfielder Sam Fuld and first baseman Ike Davis. Both are left-handed batters, so if Baltimore starts a right-handed pitcher, both might be in the starting lineup. Nate Freiman, who played for Oakland in 2013 and 2014, started this season with a back injury and is playing for Triple-A Nashville.

Wins and losses: Last year’s 6-2 win over the New York Mets boosted the A’s record to 3-1 in Jewish heritage home games.

Andy Altman-Ohr

Andy Altman-Ohr was J.’s managing editor and Hardly Strictly Bagels columnist until he retired in 2016 to travel and live abroad. He and his wife have a home base in Mexico, where he continues his dalliance with Jewish journalism.