Press release and graphic from Israel Association of Baseball.
TEL AVIV — Israel’s national baseball team will play one game near the United States capital as part of its pre-Olympic training. Team Israel will face the Bethesda Big Train at Shirley Povich Field in Bethesda, Maryland, on Sunday night, July 18 at 9:13 P.M. The late start was scheduled so the game will begin after nightfall on the Jewish day of mourning, Tisha B’Av.
The game is one of nine Team Israel will play in the United States before traveling to Japan for the Olympics. The team will also play in Brooklyn, New York, on Sunday July 11; Pomona, New York, on Monday, July 12; Hartford, Connecticut, on Wednesday-Thursday, July 14-15; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on Friday, July 16; Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, July 17; Aberdeen, Maryland, on Monday, July 19; and Central Islip, New York, on Tuesday, July 20.
“My sister lives in Bethesda, and I know the area. Because of that, the opportunity to bring my Team Israel family to play here in front of my family is especially meaningful,” Team Israel GM Peter Kurz said. “We were supposed to play here a year ago before COVID-19 forced the postponement of the Olympics and I must thank Bruce Adams for working tirelessly with us to ensure we could make this game happen in 2021.”
Founded in 1999, the Bethesda Big Train is a member of the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League, an amateur summer wooden bat baseball league in the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Region.
The club was named in honor of Baseball Hall of Famer Walter Johnson, whose nickname was The Big Train.
“We are so honored to be able to host the Israel National Baseball Team as the team prepares for the 2021 Olympics,” said Adams said. “Famed Washington Post journalist Shirley Povich would be so proud to have this game played at this ballpark we named for him. It will be such a meaningful event for our greater Washington community.”
Team Israel will have as many as 28 players in total plus some of the top local talents of the next generation for the training camp and exhibition games. The roster is ripe with players known to baseball fans in the United States; there are eight players with previous Major League Baseball experience plus several current minor league players.
Team Israel will compete in baseball at the Olympic Games for the first time. It is the first team to represent Israel at the Olympic Games since 1976 when Israel’s national soccer team played in Montreal.
The six-team Olympic Baseball Tournament will run from July 28 through August 7.