HE ULTIMATE success of Team Israel’s Cinderella run at the World Baseball Classic will be judged by how the Israel Association of Baseball is able to translate on-field victories into meaningful development of the sport in this country..
(photo credit: MARGO SUGARMAN)
Just weeks after breaking ground to build the first regulation- size baseball stadium in Israel, and days after the national team ignited new excitement for the sport in the country, an innovative crowdfunding campaign was launched via GoFundMe to raise funds to help build the complex.
In the wake of Israel’s recent unexpected success in the World Baseball Classic, the Beit Shemesh Baseball Amuta launched a crowdfunding campaign last week in order to help fund their state of the art complex.
Within a short while donors from Israel and abroad have begun to donate towards the development of the complex at https://www.gofundme.com/nkchs-beit-shemesh-baseballfield.
This will be one of several fields that will be built throughout Israel with the support of the Jewish National Fund’s Project Baseball.
“The facility will be situated in one of Israel’s most densely populated Anglo speaking communities, helping children of new immigrants to Israel build confidence and become more socially integrated into Israeli society,” read an Israel Association of Baseball press release.
“Previously, the IAB was forced to rent soccer fields from surrounding communities for kids in the league to play.
However, the organization is expanding its efforts and hopes to rapidly promote baseball as a leading sport in Israel.”
The campaign comes on the heels of Team Israel’s attention- grabbing success at the WBC. Team Israel ended the World Baseball Classic (WBC) with a 4-2 record, reaching the last eight of the tournament.
Starting in Seoul, South Korea in Pool A, Israel advanced to Tokyo after three consecutive victories. The blue-and-white then beat Cuba, before losing to the Netherlands and Japan, who both went on to advance to the semifinals.
Eight of the players from the Israel roster, which was composed almost entirely of American Jewish players with major and minor league experience, visited Israel prior to the tournament, a trip during which they also broke ground on the new baseball field in Beit Shemesh.
“Our team’s thrilling run in the WBC put baseball in Israel on the map,” said Jordan Alter, who made Aliyah in 2005 from Fair Lawn, New Jersey, and heads the Beit Shemesh Baseball non-profit organization.
“We see demand and attention growing, and now we need the infrastructure to capitalize on this momentum. This is where we need financial support to back up our growing projects.”