Oi Vay! Israel Advances in World Baseball Classic

Published on 10-Mar-2017 by Alan Adamsson

MLB    MLB Daily Update

Share this article

Oi Vay! Israel Advances in World Baseball Classic

Usually in major international sports events, the competing teams have a domestic league.

Israel had one, in 2007. It was their only season.

However, that hasn't stopped them from making noise in the World Baseball Classic.

They almost qualified for the tourney's main event in 2013 -- being edged out by Spain -- and have now broken through in 2017 after a 3-0 Pool A record that began with this surprise:

Among those listed names are current MLB free-agent pitcher Jason Marquis, who was out of baseball last season, and Sam Fuld, who's trying to catch on with a club this season.

With plays like this in his WBC résumé, he's got a shot:

Israel then upset a strong contingent from Curaçao and Aruba The Netherlands, 4-2, and outslugged Chinese Taipei, 15-7, to lug their Mensch from the Bench mascot into the next round.

How is it possible that the 41st-ranked outfit in world baseball -- called by some as the WBC's Jamaican bobsled team -- has taken their longest-of-longshot status this far?

What else? Convenient rules.

Actually, this isn't unusual.

FIFA, for example, allows soccer players to represent a nation if they have at least one parent or grandparent being a citizen there.

So Israel, Holland, and Italy can offer a fairly decent field for powerhouses like Japan, the USA, and Mexico.

Speaking of ...

If this keeps up, there might be a demand to tighten the roster rules.

Then again, if it keeps up, fans might actually pay more attention.