Meet Yaniv Rosenfeld, who recently took on the role of the Israel Association of Baseball’s Operations Manager.
Hometown: Misgav in northern Israel. His parents made Aliyah in 1982 from Baltimore
Position: Short stop, 2B
What is your baseball history?
I started playing from the age of 8 on Moshav Shorashim where there was an American garin. I played on my first baseball national team at 11. I traveled to Prague with the team in 1995, to one of the first tournaments in Czech Republic after the fall of the Soviet Union and communism. I played in junior world softball championships in Australia and played in three Maccabi Games for Israel Softball, as well as two junior European Championships and four adult European Championships. I established the Misgav Baseball club in 2013.
Your Baseball Highlights
Getting a Misgav team into the Premier League of the IAB. Another major highlight was building a field in Misgav, which was a huge achievement.
The biggest challenge
Our biggest challenge is that we’re the lowest on the Israel sports totem pole with the least amount of political power. Being in the Olympics is a great way to get us on the map. We need to increase our numbers, and we have to work on setting up more and better quality programs throughout the country.
The Misgav Baseball Program
The baseball program in Misgav started in 2013 when we started our own non-profit. We became part of the Misgav sports system, where we were a top to bottom program but wanted to become a bottom up program – we had started with an adult team but now we are working from minors upward. We now have over 200 registered members in Misgav. We have 20 baseball and softball teams, with 130 players in baseball and 70 in softball. Our oldest player is 77 and the youngest is six-years-old. Our players have to be brave and respect the sport because they have to work hard to be players here – my players take 1.5 hours to get from Misgav to games in the Baptist Village and 2.5 hours to get to Gezer.
What is unique to Israeli baseball?
The players appreciate the simplicity of baseball in Israel. There are no fancy fields or fancy uniforms. They play in spite of not have major facilities, sponsors, equipment, etc., and have no winter facilities.
Your vision for Israel Baseball
My medium-term goals are to have 3 leagues for every age group in the north, south and national, from U12s till adults. Our national teams should be in the A Pools in Europe from U15 to adults. In the long term, I’d like to see a baseball club in every city in Israel with a baseball field in every club.
Favorite MLB team and player
The Boston Red Sox; my favorite player is Justin Pedroia because he reminds me of myself. For me, it’s all about baseball in Israel. The MLB is something to look up to. But baseball is one of the best educational sports out there, and I try to put a big emphasis on baseball and education more than baseball and professional sports.