Red Sox manager Terry Francona has coached Gabe Kapler, Kevin Youkilis and Adam Stern during his tenure in Boston. As such, he is familiar with the conflicts that sometimes arise when scheduling baseball games that coincide with important Jewish holidays.
This year, Major League Baseball has rescheduled the Red Sox-Yankees game on Sept. 27, from 8 p.m. to 1 p.m., so that observant Jewish fans may either attend or watch the game on television before sundown when Yom Kippur begins.
While the rescheduling was done largely to benefit fans in both Boston and New York — cities which sport two of the largest concentrations of Jewish residents in the country — it also makes the decision regarding lineups easier for Boston's manager. Youkilis, the Red Sox’ first baseman/third baseman, is a Romanian Jew who has previously declined to play on Yom Kippur. Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein, who was also raised Jewish, and manager Francona have long been supportive of their players' decisions regarding whether to play on the holiday.
Though managers generally like to set lineups a day in advance so players know if they'll be getting a rest, Major League Baseball has moved the Sept. 27 game in plenty of time to avoid any potential lineup problems for both teams. Youkilis is currently the only Jewish player on either team, but the change reflects MLB’s desire to accommodate the largest number of fans.
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