The Shmooze

Israel To Participate in 2013 World Baseball Classic

By Aaron Yellin

  • Print
  • Share Share
Getty Images

It might be high time for Major League all-stars like Ryan Braun and Kevin Youkilis to fully embrace their Jewish heritage — and they wouldn’t even have to leave the field to do so.

Yes, Shavuot begins Tuesday night. But perhaps a more compelling argument for solidarity among baseball’s top Jewish performers is that Israel will participate in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, Major League Baseball announced June 1.

The news is part of the World Baseball Classic’s expansion from 16 to 28 teams, including a 16-team qualifying round, which Israel will be a part of. And according to the Israel Association of Baseball, even non-Israeli citizens of Jewish heritage are eligible to join the team.

Braun and Youkilis probably wouldn’t ditch the United States team for which they played during the last WBC in 2009, but that doesn’t stop a Jew from dreaming. The ideal Israeli team (with help from baseball-almanac.com’s list of Jewish players) would be full of Major Leaguers: legitimate stars like Braun, Youkilis and Ian Kinsler; emerging young talent like Ike Davis, Danny Valencia and Sam Fuld; established pitchers such as Scott Feldman, Jason Marquis and Jon Grabow; and even veterans like Gabe Kapler, Brad Ausmus and Scott Schoeneweis.

While such a team may never come into fruition, the WBC bid is still a great step for baseball in Israel. The only attempt at a professional league in the Holy Land failed when the Israel Baseball League folded after one year in 2007, but over 2,000 youth and adults play the game in Israel today, according to the IAB. In addition, the Israel national team will participate in the 2012 European Championship qualifiers, which will be hosted by Israel this summer.

As for the Israel WBC team, it may resemble a talented major league roster (highly unlikely) or be a ragtag group of underdog amateurs (probably) — but either way, Jewish baseball fans will finally have a home team come 2013.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: World Baseball Classic, Sports, Ryan Braun, Major League Baseball, Kevin Youkilis, Israel, Baseball

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war? http://jd.fo/f4VeG
  • Despite the escalating violence in Israel, more and more Jews are leaving their homes in Alaska to make aliyah: http://jd.fo/g4SIa
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.