Israeli Olympian and 2017 World Baseball Classic champion Ian Kinsler has been named the manager for the Team Israel squad at the 2023 WBC. Kinsler, 39, will begin his managerial career with the boys in blue-and-white, some of whom were his teammates at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. A four-time Major League Baseball All-Star and 2018 World Series champion, he received his Israeli citizenship in early 2020.
“I was very excited when I was asked to manage Team Israel at the WBC and it didn’t take long for me to accept the position. I enjoyed my time playing in the tournament and now that I know Israel Baseball well from my time in the Olympics, I am convinced that we will have a very competitive squad that will go far,” Kinsler said. “I can’t wait to visit Israel this summer and see the young talent that will be on display at the Maccabiah Games. We are already hard at work putting together a winner roster for Israel at the WBC and I look forward to making all of our fans proud.”
Kinsler will visit Israel in the coming weeks with his family to be present at the Maccabiah Games. He has been chosen as one of the five torchbearers at the opening ceremonies in Jerusalem on July 14 and will conduct baseball clinics for all the Maccabiah baseball players at Ezra Schwartz Ballpark in Ra’anana the following week. Kinsler will also throw out the opening pitch at one of the Maccabiah baseball games and meet with the media to discuss his plans for Team Israel at the WBC.
“Having Ian Kinsler as our manager provides us with a huge catalyst for recruiting top MLB players, as well as a manager who has a truly analytical approach to the game,” said Jordy Alter, the President of the Israel Association of Baseball. “Ian’s leadership of our Olympic team was crucial to our play in that competition and convincing him to now take on the managerial reigns is a further step in the development of the Israel Baseball program, following our second-place finish at the 2021 European championships.”
Kinsler brings with him WBC experience as a player. He was the starting second baseman and the leadoff hitter for Team USA at the 2017 edition when the Americans won the gold medal. He retired as an active MLB player in 2019 after 14 seasons in the Major Leagues. Kinsler will be the third man to manage Team Israel in the WBC. Brad Ausmus led the team at the 2012 WBC qualifiers and Jerry Weinstein guided Israel through the qualifiers in 2016 to a sixth-place finish at the final event in 2017.