Ten Jewish American players are arriving in Israel in mid-October to make Aliyah. The players, some of whom played for Team Israel in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, and others who are rising stars in professional baseball in the US, are committed to play for Team Israel in its run up to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Team Israel will begin its bid to reach the Olympics by playing in the European Championships in 2019. A win for Team Israel in the B Pool of the tournament will send them to the A Pool tournament, where the top five teams will play in the European qualifier for the Olympics. Six teams will compete in Tokyo.
The ten players include former major leaguers Jon Moscot and Zack Weiss, who have both played for the Cincinnati Reds; and Joey Wagman, Blake Gailen, Gabe Cramer, Corey Baker and Alex Katz, who all played on Team Israel WBC. The other players are Jonathan DeMarte, Eric Brodkowitz and Jeremy Wolf. While the players are still in the midst of their professional careers, they are looking to move to Israel on a permanent basis and work on developing baseball in Israel.
“These players have all expressed great enthusiasm for working with Israel baseball to get to the Olympics in particular, and developing the game in Israel in general,” says Peter Kurz, President of the IAB. “The players who played in the WBC, where exposed to what Israel is, what the people are like, and how they can to help Israel become an international baseball force to be reckoned with. They want to make sure the two new fields to be developed this year are 100% utilized and that the professional level continues to grow,” adds Kurz.
"I am very excited about coming to Israel and making Aliyah,” says player Jon Moscot. “Having my family here, it’s always been a dream of mine. And potentially representing Israel Baseball in the Olympics, would be one of the most proud and exciting moments of my life.”
While they are in Israel, the players will be running a clinic on Thursday, October 18 for registered members of the IAB in the Juveniles, Cadets and Juniors, playing in an Israel Baseball Premier League game later that evening, as well as coaching national teams and the Israel Baseball Academy.