Friday, March 23, 2012 |09:31 |Age: 1 yrs
WBC Qualifiers with Team Israel in Florida
ISRAEL’S ENTRY INTO WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC BEGINS WITH QUALIFIER THIS NOVEMBER IN JUPITER, FLORIDA
The Israel Association of Baseball (IAB), overseeing the formation and organization of Israel’s first entry into the World Baseball Classic, has been informed that its qualifying round play will take place this November at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida. (Exact dates TBA).
Israel learned last year that it was one of 16 teams entered into the Qualifiers for the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
The Qualifiers will be a six-game modified double-elimination format. Israel will be grouped with South Africa, France and Spain.
The World Baseball Classic is the premier international baseball tournament that features the best players in the world competing for their home countries and territories. The tournament is run by WBCI (World Baseball Classic, Inc.) and is sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation. Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Player’s Association together created the event, first held in 2006. This will be the third World Baseball Classic, and will be played in March 2013. Japan has won the first two.
“We are excited to expand the scope of the World Baseball Classic and maintain our commitment to global baseball development, starting with four excellent venues hosting the new Qualifiers this fall,” said Paul Archey, Senior Vice President, International Business Operations for Major League Baseball. “We are very pleased with the level of interest from venues and organizers around the world who share our enthusiasm for the World Baseball Classic and its mission of celebrating the global nature of our game.”
“We are pleased to have 12 new countries participating in the World Baseball Classic,” said Major League Baseball Players Association Assistant General Counsel Ian Penny. “Sports fans around the world will witness one of the greatest events on the international sports calendar when the 2013 World Baseball Classic launches its new Qualifiers with games in Regensburg, Germany in September. We’re confident the Qualifiers will further expand the international popularity of the game we all love. We thank all participating nations for their commitment to the World Baseball Classic and the Qualifier host locations and organizers for their passion and interest in the game of baseball.
The IAB will take charge of the player selection process, which, in accordance with World Baseball Classic rules, permits non-Israeli citizens of Jewish heritage to play for Israel. The balance of the team is expected to be made up of the top players from the Isreal National team.
Following meetings last month in Los Angeles to begin team preparation, former players Brad Ausmus, Shawn Green and Gabe Kapler have already expressed interest in participating in the tournament either as players or coaches on behalf of Israel.
“I'm pretty confident that it wouldn't be too huge a mountain to climb to get back and play,” said Green, 39, probably the best Jewish player in the Major Leagues since Sandy Koufax. "I feel a strong connection to Israel and it would be an honor to put on the uniform."
“If Israel gets through the qualifying round, it could be a contender in 2013," said Ausmus, who said he would try to reach out to Jewish major leaguers.
"My gut says they would consider playing," he added. "Today, the idea of bridging the gap between the generations of American/Jewish baseball fans and baseball fans in Israel is an enticing prospect. Hopefully, this is the beginning of renewed and long interest in baseball in Israel."
Additional players will come from the minor and independant leagues, as well as Israeli members of the national team.
Other teams invited to the Qualifiers include Brazil, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Columbia, Republic, Germany, Great Britain, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Philippines and Thailand.
Automatically qualifying for the 2013 World Baseball Classic are Australia, China, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, Puerto Rico, United States and Venezuela.
“We are delighted that the games will be in Florida,” said Haim Katz, President of the IAB. "It's an opportunity to play before many of our supporters and people who have contributed financially to the development of the game in Israel. It’s a great time to be in Florida and we hope that as many of our supporters as possible show up to cheer us on."
“This will be a very competitive bracket,” added Peter Kurz, Team Manager and Secretary General of the IAB’s Board of Directors, “Given the short tournament, any of the teams could emerge victorious. It is imperative that we assemble the best team possible to represent Israel."
The IAB is the local Federation body and over 1,000 youth and adults play baseball today in Israel. The sport has expanded in Israel over the last few years, spearheaded by the professional baseball league that played five years ago, and continuing with the European Championship Qualifiers played last July in Tel Aviv. Israel wound up playing in the finals for the championship, losing to England 5-2 after winning the first game 7-0 to finish second. The team was mostly composed of Israeli nationals who have gone through the IAB development programs. The IAB has both adult and youth amateur national teams who compete in international competitions.
Players wishing to be considered for the World Baseball Classic/Israel team should contact Haim Katz at firstname.lastname@example.org The IAB website is www.baseball.org.il