Above: Team Israel players celebrate after defeating the teams from Brazil and Great Britain to advance to the World Baseball Classic.
JERUSALEM (JTA) — Ten Jewish Major League Baseball players will visit Israel in preparation for the World Baseball Classic.
The players, who will be part of Team Israel, will practice on baseball fields in Israel and meet with local Israel Association of Baseball players.
The 10 current and former Major League Baseball players also will visit Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and its holy sites, an Israeli Air Force base, Masada and the Dead Sea.
The players are eligible to play on Team Israel based on World Baseball Classic rules 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.
The World Baseball Classic is scheduled for March 2017 in Seoul, South Korea.
“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 IAB, in a statement.
The visiting players are former New York Met Ike Davis; Ty Kelly of the New York Mets; Ryan Lavarnway of the Oakland Athletics; Sam Fuld of the Oakland Athletics organization; Josh Zeid of the New York Mets organization; Cody Decker of the Boston Red Sox organization; Jon Moscot of the Cincinnati Reds; Corey Baker of the St. Louis Cardinals organization; Jeremy Bleich of the Philadelphia Phillies organization; and Gabe Kapler, Los Angeles Dodgers Director of Player Development.
The players will visit 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.