Israel's national baseball team will begin its exhibition game schedule in preparation for this summer’s Olympic Games at the home of the Brooklyn Cyclones, Maimonides Park, on Sunday, July 11. The opponent will be New York's Bravest – FDNY Baseball with the first pitch scheduled for 4:00 P.M.
Makor Disability Services, which operates quality residential, community, and vocational programs for babies through seniors with developmental disabilities in New York, will be a co-host of the game and share in the proceeds.
Ticket information will be released at a later date. For information about sponsorship opportunities or VIP packages, please contact Makor at (917) 796-7361.
This game will be the first of nine that Team Israel will play in the United States as part of its training camp before the Olympics. Games against the New York Boulders in Pomona, New York, on Monday, July 12 and against the Bristol Blues and Ocean State Waves in Hartford, Connecticut, on Wednesday-Thursday, July 14-15, the Ripken League All-Stars in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on Friday, July 16, and the Susquehanna Valley Stars in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, July 17 have already been announced. More games will be revealed in the coming days.
"I cannot wait for the first pitch in Brooklyn!" Team Israel GM Peter Kurz said. "Maimonides Park was the site of great success for Team Israel at the 2016 WBC qualifiers and we are confident that this series of games in July will be the start of even greater things for us. Plus, we know how the people of Brooklyn feel about our team and I am sure the atmosphere for this game will be electric."
The Brooklyn Cyclones are a Minor League affiliate of the New York Mets and play in the High-A East league. Many future stars have passed through Maimonides Park on their way to greatness in the Major Leagues.
Team Israel last visited Maimonides Park for the 2017 World Baseball Classic Qualifying Round in September 2016, when it edged Brazil and defeated Great Britain twice to advance to the main round of the WBC the following spring. Nine players from Team Israel's expanded roster for the Olympics – from which the final 24-man squad that will play in Tokyo will be chosen – played in those 2016 qualifying games. They are Jeremy Bleich, Scott Burcham, Blake Gailen, Mitch Glasser, Dean Kremer, Jared Lakind, Ryan Lavarnway, Nick Rickles and Josh Zeid. After qualifying for Pool A of the WBC in South Korea, Israel defeated the host team, Chinese Taipei and the Netherlands to reach the quarterfinals.
Several players on the Team Israel roster have connections to New York, including outfielder Jeremy Wolf, who played for the Cyclones during the 2017 season.
“My grandfather used to watch Jackie Robinson and Duke Snider at the Polo Grounds and then having him watch me play in Brooklyn was one of my favorite experiences as a baseball player,” Wolf said. “Being Jewish and wearing number 18 as a Cyclone was such a thrill and I’m honored to come back to Coney Island as a member of Team Israel!”
Team Israel will have as many as 28 players in total plus some of the top local talents of the next generation to expose them to a training camp atmosphere. The roster is ripe with players known to baseball fans in the United States; there are seven players with previous Major League Baseball experience plus several current minor league players.
Team Israel will compete in baseball at the Olympic Games for the first time. It is the first team to represent Israel at the Olympic Games since 1976 when Israel's national soccer team played in Montreal. The six-team Olympic Baseball Tournament will run from July 28 through August 7.
You can help Team Israel on its journey by supporting the 25th Player campaign with donations made via Jewish National Fund-USA. Go to IsraelBaseball.com for more information. Official Team Israel baseball apparel can be purchased at teamisraelbaseball.com.
About Israel Baseball
The Israel Association of Baseball was founded in 1986 and has overseen the growth of the sport in the country ever since, culminating with Team Israel’s historic qualification for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. The IAB is a member of The Israel Olympic Committee, The Confederation of European Baseball (CEB), the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), Major League Baseball International (MLBI) and Little League.
As part of the expansion of baseball activities in Israel, the IAB is building new fields in conjunction with the Jewish National Fund-USA’s Project Baseball, and looks forward to the completion of the new Bet Shemesh complex, which will host international tournaments, as well as the Raanana field, which will be a joint baseball-soccer facility, both slated for 2021. There are also plans to expand the Sportek Tel Aviv field and to add lighting. For further information, please contact the General Manager, Peter Kurz, at .
Since 1978, Makor Disability Services (formerly known as Women’s League Community Residences) has been committed to operating quality residential, community, and vocational programs for babies through seniors with developmental disabilities. It affords opportunities for service participants to maximize functional, social and intellectual potential through individualized programming, and by living in an atmosphere of understanding and acceptance. Makor actively encourages service participants' choice and expression, and full integration within the general community. We are proud to share that Makor is awarded the COMPASS Award for excellence in care by the New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities. This designation is held by only four agencies out of 800 in the state. For more information, please visit www.makords.org.