Batting 1.000 For Shabbat

Batting 1.000 For Shabbat

Do you know what time Shabbat ended in Williamsport, Pa., last week?
You did if you were watching ESPN.
The cable sports channel was broadcasting a semifinal game in the Little League World Series, and 12-year-old Micah Golshirazian was sitting in the dugout of the Jesse Burkett All-Stars (New England champions from Worcester, Mass.) and as a Sabbath-observant player, he wouldn’t play until Shabbat was over.
At 8:43 p.m.
A clock on ESPN counted down the minutes.
In the dugout, Micah watched a scoreboard clock.
Then, in the fifth inning, he said baruch hamavdil bein kodesh l’chol, the Hebrew phrase that officially delineates the separation between Shabbat and the weekday.
Then he entered the game as a pinch runner.
"I was thrown out at second base," on a teammate’s at-bat, he says in a telephone interview.
A seventh-grader at Maimonides Day School in Boston, he has played baseball for four years, as a sometimes-centerfielder and prized pinch runner.
His father is from Iran; his mother is from Massachusetts. "I learned [baseball] from my uncles," on his mother’s side, he says.
His family, who stayed at a hotel across the street from the field, walked to the game Saturday evening. Micah dormed with his team; he also walked to the game, watching until he could play. "Ready to run?" his teammates asked as the sky grew dark.
He’s used to the routine, having come into games late a half-dozen times this season because of Shabbat. His coaches and Little League officials were accommodating, he says.
His team beat Webb City, Mo., in the semifinals ("I didn’t get up" to bat, Micah says) but lost in the finals.
Back home, his friends offered mazel tovs. "They all told me, ‘Nice game,’ " he says.

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