Team Israel continues to amaze the world baseball community with its latest 4-2 win over the Netherlands at the World Baseball Classic, giving the ballplayers in blue-and-white uniforms a 3-0 sweep of Pool A.
Dubbed the underdogs of the series, Team Israel came out swinging hard and is now headed for the quarterfinal of the World Baseball Classic with a message that they deserve to be playing with the world’s best..
Team Israel, ranked 41st going into the tournament, beat South Korea, Taiwan and the Netherlands in its Pool A games. This is Team Israel’s first Classic.
Israel Association of Baseball President Peter Kurz stated that the Team Israel ballplayers have confidence in their abilities even if the team is not ranked in the Top 10. “During the qualifiers, we knew we were good and going out with confidence is so much part of the game. As Yogi Berra says, ‘Baseball is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical.’ The mental state of this team is amazing.”
While Kurz and other Israel Association of Baseball (IAB) backers had high hopes for Team Israel, odds put them as the underdog. But within 24 hours, Team Israel proved it could best the best.
“Nothing gives Israel more pride than being on the map in the most beloved sport in America,” Gil Hoffman, Jerusalem Post political correspondent and avid Cubs fan from Chicago stated. The first two wins, he says, filled him with “pride as both an American and an Israeli.”
International and local media jumped on Team Israel’s story. A Google search of “Team Israel” in the news section, as of March 8, produced over seven million results.
“To have the international exposure is incredible,” Kurz tells as reporters clamored to speak with him. “The New York Times followed us around for three days . . . Sports Illustrated, ESPN, ABC News, all the American media. It’s incredible.”
Team Israel has been referred to as David vs. Goliath and baseball’s Cinderella story. ESPN even equated them with the Jamaican bobsled team. With the level that Team Israel is playing at, there is a sure chance they could win the entire tournament!
Originally posted at Israel21c.