Boy, are we excited for the World Baseball Classic! No, not to watch borderline major league starters in preseason form throwing 40 pitches for supposed national glory. We're excited because Israel is participating! Or, should we say... "Israel".
WBC's eligibility rules are a bit more lax than say, the Olympics, or the soccer World Cup. To be eligible to play for Israel, you need to be — no, not an Israeli citizen. You need to be eligible for Israeli citizenship... AKA being Jewish.
So this basically means is that team "Israel" (other than a couple of token Israelis) is made up some of the best American Jews in Major (and minor) League Baseball. (One of the missing Ian Kinsler, who got picked for Team USA. Priorities, right?) That might not work out well for Israeli national pride, but for those of us who like seeking out Jews in sport, it just made our life so much easier!
So what hidden Jewish gems will we uncover on this "Israel" roster? Ummm... Let's just say that the days of Greenberg and Koufax are long gone. There are previously-profiled Ike Davis, Sam Fuld, Craig Breslow, and Nate Freiman, all currently struggling to find MLB teams. There is 38-year-old Jason Marquis, who had a solid career, but retired a year ago. There is middling starter Scott Feldman. There is once-promising now-wash-out Ryan Lavarnway. There are a bunch of minor leaguers we never heard of.
So... go "Israel"? Didn't we say we were excited?