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This week, we’re talking all things Team Israel. The World Baseball Classic is just days away, and we’ve got you covered with a full tournament preview.
If you want to keep up with all the Team Israel news between now and our next newsletter, be sure to follow our brand new Jewish Sport Report Twitter account, where I’ll be providing updates throughout the WBC. I head to Miami in just a couple days and I hope you’ll come along for the ride.
Everything you need to know about Team Israel and the WBC
The World Baseball Classic is back next week after a six-year hiatus, and Team Israel is looking to recreate the magic from its unexpected 2017 run.
Israel’s 2023 roster features the most big-league talent it has ever had — with All-Star outfielder Joc Pederson and pitchers Dean Kremer and Richard Bleier among the many players currently in the MLB or with big-league experience. Israel will also face its toughest competition yet, including the star-studded Dominican Republic.
Ian Kinsler, Israel’s manager and a retired four-time MLB All-Star, told me he is feeling good about his team’s chances.
“In baseball, anything can happen,” Kinsler said. “This isn’t a five-game or seven-game series. This is one game [at a time], and if we can put together a really solid game, solid nine innings against these other teams, we have just as good a chance as anybody. I know the guys are fired up and ready to go and compete, so it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
So who’s on Team Israel? Who do they play, and when? How exactly does the WBC work?
All of that and more in our WBC preview right here.
UGH. In case you missed it last week, Boston Red Sox top baseball executive Chaim Bloom told the Boston Globe that he’s faced death threats and an antisemitic slur as his team underperforms.
NEW DIGS. After weeks of rumors, the Arizona Coyotes finally traded Jakob Chychrun on Wednesday, sending the defenseman to the Ottawa Senators for three future draft picks.
WINNING. Duke University men’s basketball coach Jon Scheyer had a tall task this year, stepping into the role after Duke legend Mike Krzyzewski, who led the team for 42 years. Turns out, Scheyer’s up for it: he made history this week as the first head coach in the ACC to go undefeated at home in his first season.
NOT IN COMMAND. The Dan Snyder saga continues in Washington, where ESPN reports on a secret $55 million loan Snyder secured without the knowledge of his co-owners, which could amount to bank fraud. With a federal probe underway alongside the team being sold, this episode is sure to drag on well into 2023.
THE BUCK STOPS HERE. Speaking of Jewish team owners selling, Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry has sold his stake in the team to the owners of the Cleveland Browns for a reported $3.5 billion. Lasry joined the ownership group in 2014. His son Alex Lasry, a Bucks executive, briefly ran for the U.S. Senate in 2021.
YEESH, YEEZY. When a team loses a championship, all the premade merchandise often gets donated to underprivileged communities. But what happens when a sportswear giant unexpectedly has to cut ties with a massively lucrative but apparently antisemitic business partner? Adidas is trying to answer that question — and they have $500 million worth of Kanye West’s sneakers to deal with.
MIND YOUR MANORS. Manor Solomon’s star is rising at Fulham F.C., where the Israeli soccer player — likely the only Jewish player in the English Premier League — has been excelling lately. According to some reports, Solomon may be on the verge of a £100 million contract.
Join us online and in Miami for an exciting event about Jews and baseball!
Our event “Jews on First: A Celebration at the World Baseball Classic” is just days away, but it’s not too late to get tickets to join us in person in Miami or online.
I’ll be sitting down with an all-star panel to talk Jews and baseball, Team Israel and the WBC.
You’ll hear from ESPN’s Jeff Passan, veteran reporter and podcast host Meredith Shiner, trivia guru Scott Rogowsky and former Team Israel players Jonathan de Marte and Mitch Glasser.
Jews in sports to watch this weekend
🏎️ IN FORMULA ONE…
The F1 season gets underway this weekend, with the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday at 10 a.m. ET. Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll begins the season as the only Jewish racer on the grid, though Ferrari reserve driver Robert Schwartzman, who was born in Israel, isn’t far from the action.
🏒 IN HOCKEY…
The Detroit Red Wings and Jake Walman, who just signed a three-year extension, take on the New York Islanders tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. ET. Over in Beantown, Adam Fox and the Rangers face the Boston Bruins, who are on a historic winning pace this season. And Sunday at 7 p.m. ET, Jack Hughes and the Devils play Chychrun’s former team, the Coyotes.
🏀 IN BASKETBALL…
Deni Avdija and the Washington Wizards host the Toronto Raptors tomorrow at 5 p.m. ET and the Milwaukee Bucks Sunday at 7:30 p.m. ET. Ryan Turell and the Motor City Cruise return to New York on Tuesday for an 11 a.m. game on Purim that, as we reported in January, is sure to be a festive matchup.
⚾ IN BASEBALL…
Spring training continues! Tomorrow at 1:05 p.m. ET, Richard Bleier and the Boston Red Sox face Alex Bregman and the Houston Astros, while Max Fried and the Atlanta Braves take on Dean Kremer and the Baltimore Orioles. Atlanta fans will also want to keep an eye on Jared Shuster, who was named the organization’s top prospect and will likely reach the big leagues this season.
⛳ IN GOLF…
Max Homa looks to continue his excellent 2023 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational this weekend. Homa remains a vocal defender of the PGA.
WBC you later
Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you in Miami!