When you think about Baseball, the first thing that comes to mind is probably large stadiums, family outings, hot dogs, and all things Americana. It probably is not Israel, let alone an Israeli baseball team that is on its way to the Olympics! But right now, there is an Israeli national baseball team that is doing just that. Let’s put Israel on the map for baseball fans everywhere to see that this little country has a place in this sport and in their hearts!
Meet the Team
The team includes 10 professional Jewish players who have made Aliyah to be part of Team Israel for the Olympics. They are current major, minor and independent league players, as well as recently retired professionals who are part of this great effort. The incredible success of Team Israel in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, where we reached 6th place against great odds, is still clear in our memories. Seeing an Israeli team on the global stage of the Olympic Games will be as emotional and exciting an event as we have ever seen in Israel baseball.
Quotes from the players:
“It is a special feeling before a game when Hatikvah is playing,standing with my teamates,and on our jerseys “israel”across our chests and the flag on our sleeves. I am honored to represent my family and my country” – Mitch Glasser
“It’s been an honor to represent team Israel over the last couple of years. The WBC and Olympic qualifiers have brought me closer to my Jewish roots and I feel privileged to wear Israel’s flag on my jersey.” – Blake Gailen
“To play for team Israel is one of the highest honors I’ve had. Representing the entire nation and people,especially one that has such a deep meaning to me, is a special feeling. To get to help this team and country pursue the Olympics ,of all things, is a dream come true.” – Joey Wagman
“Playing for team Israel has been an experience unlike any other that I have experienced in baseball. The feeling of pride that comes along with representing a nation to second to none. The Israel Association for Baseball is a first class organization and I am humbled and blessed to have this unique opportunity to compete for Team Israel.” – Rob Paller
When the men of the Israeli national baseball team made aliyah to Israel, they began a journey that will change the course of this sport’s place in Jewish history. As a sport that brings families, friends and cultures together, this team is now paving the way for all Israelis to fall in love with this sport. In turn, they will build a bridge between Americans and Israelis in a way that no other sport can! It will unify the US and Israel and present Israel to the world as a worthy competitor and ally of the game.
Seeing the Israeli flag waving over the baseball diamond at the Tokyo Olympics is a dream for every Jewish baseball fan. With your help, this dream could become a reality. Your support will help the Israel Association of Baseball send an Israeli team to the qualifying tournaments for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. The Olympics are a stage to share positivity and hope about Israel to the rest of the world. Imagine if we could share this tikva for Israel through one of America’s favorite pastimes? Sports and entertainment have a way of shaping the world that politics cannot compete with. We want to prove to the world that Israel is an incredible country that loves and supports its team of immigrants and eventually, nationals, that play for the Israeli national baseball team!
Why Support Us?
Whether it’s a sports competition, music performance, or political arena, whenever Israel has the stage, they are usually met with criticism and intolerance. This intolerance stems from ignorance and misrepresentation. One way to change the perception of Israel and the Jewish people, is to bring Israel to the forefront of the minds of those who might otherwise toss them aside. When Israel is put on the map of the baseball world, baseball fans everywhere will pay attention. They will see Israel on an equal playing field with the likes of their own country. This will shine a light on the support and positive influence that a national baseball can have on a very young country.
Your support of Team Israel will help close the divide between Israelis and Americans and any other country with baseball fans. It will encourage young Israelis to try a new sport that connects them with Americana culture and people. The stronger our ties between Israel and the US, the better for both and especially for the Jewish people. Imagine how many young native Israelis will get to be the first ever professional Israeli baseball player for their tiny, but mighty country?? The power of sports to bring a sense of purpose and belonging should not be underestimated!
How You Will Help
We need to participate in and win the European Championships in 2019 for a chance to compete for the spot for a team from Europe in the baseball competition of the 2020 Olympic Games. This means we have to travel to four tournaments in Europe to get to the qualifiers. Team Israel is 8-0 in their quest for the olympics having defeated the likes of Russia,Greece, Ireland, Lithunaia in the first two levels of competition!
Your generosity will help the team of 25 players and coaching staff to travel to the rest of their tournaments. Your support will provide: air travel and local transportation, accommodation, food, uniforms and equipment and pre-tournament practice and training rentals including field rentals.
Here’s the Upcoming Tournament Schedule:
- September 7th, 2019 – Bonn Germany 12 team tournament of the A pool for the European baseball championships.
- September 18th, 2019 – The top 5 teams advance to the Olympic qualifier in Parma Italy.
The winner of that tournament advances to the OLYMPICS in Tokyo summer 2020!!
In the News
“ISRAEL DOMINATES LITHUANIA, WINS B POOL TO ADVANCE IN OLYMPIC QUALIFYING”
The blue-and-white beat Lithuania in the playoff round on Friday and Saturday, winning the first two games in the best-of-three series in Utena, Lithuania, 12-2 and 15-0, respectively.
Jerusalem Post July 28, 2019
Peter Kurz, President of the Israel Association of Baseball, spoke to The Jerusalem Post about the challenge ahead.
Jerusalem Post July 8, 2019