Ra'anana Mayor Eitan Ginzburg (center-left), Peter Kurz (to his right) Ruth Schwartz, mother of Ezra Schwartz z"l' (center-right) Debbie Slutzky, Ra'anana Meretz councilwoman (second from right), Mel Levi (far right), Sharon area regional director, and Pam Schwartz, Ezra's aunt, (left.)

The Israel Association of Baseball has finalized and signed a contract with the city of Ra'anana to build a new baseball field in Park Ra'anana. The field will be named after Ezra Schwartz, z"l, who was killed in a terror attack in 2015 while in Israel from the US on a yeshiva program. 

The plan was approved by the Ra'anana city council on July 24.

"This will allow us to have our own full sized field, to host international and European tournaments, to have a field for the National Teams to practice on and to have a field where we could hold Premier League games at night," explains Peter Kurz, IAB President. "This also gives us the opportunity to expand our program in Ra'anana and in the surrounding Sharon region, where we have been quite limited over the last two years after our field was appropriated by the Israel lands authority." 

There will be a big push next year to expand the program in the Sharon area, with outreach to schools, community centers (matnassim) and other after-school programs. 

The location in the western part of the city is excellent for a sports facility, There is good transportation to Park Ra'anana and a train station will soon be built there. In the new facility, to be built as a multi-purpose facility for soccer and baseball, the plan is to have clubhouse facilities and rest rooms, batting cages and bull pens. Under consideration are also a players lounge, clubhouse, and work-out facility for players. The field should be available for use in the fall of 2019.

"The Ra'anana field, along with the field to be built in Bet Shemesh, will provide the IAB with three full-sized, adult facilities with lights, and the possibility of expanding and developing our Premier league to a new professional league," notes Kurz. "In this way, we hope to reach our dual goals of providing a much higher level of baseball in Israel, and also growing to at least 2,500 players playing in the Israeli leagues. Baseball will then become the third largest team sport in Israel."

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