(JNS.org) Ten American Jewish professional baseball players who are representing Israel in an international tournament are visiting the Jewish state for a week starting Jan. 3.
The players are members of Team Israel’s squad for the next World Baseball Classic (WBC) tournament, which is scheduled for March 2017 in Seoul, South Korea. The visiting group includes Ty Kelly of Major League Baseball’s New York Mets, Ryan Lavarnway of the Oakland Athletics, Jon Moscot of the Cincinnati Reds, Corey Baker of St. Louis Cardinals’ Minor League system, Gabe Kapler of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ front office, and free agents Ike Davis, Sam Fuld, Josh Zeid, Cody Decker and Jeremy Bleich.
“The team is clearly the most impressive Jewish baseball team ever assembled, and we are very proud that they will be representing our country at the WBC. The trip will be an excellent opportunity for them to learn about Israel and meet the teams and players in Israel who will be supporting them at the WBC,” said Peter Kurz, president of the Israel Association of Baseball, an organization that works to promote and teach baseball in Israel.
According to the WBC’s rules, the American Jewish players can take the field for Israel in the international competition because they are eligible for Israeli citizenship.
While in Israel, the players will visit Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, an Israeli Air Force base, the Masada fortress and the Dead Sea, in addition to meeting Israeli baseball players and practicing for the WBC. Their trip is co-sponsored by the Jewish National Fund’s Project Baseball initiative and Jeff Aeder, founder of the Jewish Baseball Museum (which is an internet-based museum rather than a brick-and-mortar facility).