Press Release Israel Association of Baseball (IAB)
TEL AVIV, Israel— The Israel Association Baseball (IAB) has announced that 10 Jewish players from Major League Baseball (MLB) will visit Israel from January 3 for a week. The players will be part of Team Israel, participating in the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in March 2017 in Seoul, South Korea.
The visiting players include: Ike Davis (formerly of the New York Mets), Ty Kelly (New York Mets), Ryan Lavarnway (Oakland Athletics), Sam Fuld (Oakland Athletics organization), Josh Zeid (New York Mets organization), Cody Decker (Boston Red Sox organization), Jon Moscot (Cincinnati Reds), Corey Baker (St. Louis Cardinals organization), Jeremy Bleich (Philadelphia Phillies organization), and Gabe Kapler (Los Angeles Dodgers Director of Player Development).
The group of 10 current and former Major League Baseball stars will visit Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and its holy sites, an Israeli Air Force base, Masada and the Dead Sea. They will also spend time meeting with the IAB’s local Israeli baseball players, and will practice for the tournament on fields around Israel.
The players are eligible to play on Team Israel based on the rules of the WBC that state that players who are eligible for citizenship of a country may play on that country’s team. This will be the first time that American Jewish baseball players will represent Israel in a world championship.
“This is an extremely exciting event for Israel baseball in particular and for sport in Israel in general,” said Peter Kurz, president of IAB. “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.”
The players will arrive in Israel with their wives, parents and children. The trip’s co-sponsors include JNF Project Baseball and Jeff Aeder, founder of the Jewish Baseball Museum.