Wednesday, June 20

Batter up! Israel swings into 1st-ever pro baseball season (UPDATED)

"Holy Land hardball: it only took 5,767 years"

From Ynet News:
The Israel Baseball League is to double the seating capacity of the Yarkon Field on Sunday night to accommodate the expected 2,000 spectators for the league's Opening Night.

“Ticket requests have been awesome,” said IBL’s business operations director Bob Ruxin in a press release. “Israeli communities, youth teams and companies are organizing group outings, droves of North Americans have scheduled visit to Israel to coincide with the Opener, and we even have a fan coming in from India just to catch the first game,” Ruxin continued.
ESPN notes that Israel has drafted legend Sandy Koufax:
Forty-one years after he retired from baseball, Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax was the final player chosen in the draft to stock the six teams for the inaugural season of the Israel Baseball League.
Koufax, 71, was picked by the Modi'in Miracle in the draft conducted by former major league general manager Dan Duquette, who heads baseball operations for the league.
Former US ambassador to Israel, Daniel Kurtzer, the future commissioner of the country’s first baseball league agrees, saying that “Israel is ready for a third major sport”. More Israel B-ball stats and background here.
...and this just in: proof positive that baseball is clearly referred to numerous times in the Bible (Hey - it even starts off, "In the Big Inning").

Israel Baseball League
WNET New York will air the inaugural game, on Sunday, July 1st.

And closer to home -- umm, depending where you're standing -- American Jewish Life editor Benyamin Cohen just sent me this:

To say Eric Holtz is a baseball fanatic is like saying Michaelangelo could paint. That's why the 41-year-old father of three id leaving his successful clothing manufacturing business in upstate New York this summer to join the first-ever Israeli baseball league and live out his lifelong dream on a baseball diamond in the Holy Land.

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