When Team Israel steps onto the field September 22 for the World Baseball Classic qualifying round in Brooklyn, the roster will feature well-known names – such as former New York Mets first baseman Ike Davis – as well as a few surprises..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Brazil, Great Britain, and Pakistan will join Israel to play a tournament form September 22-25 at MCU Park in Brooklyn, New York, to decide the 16th and final entry in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, and tournament officials on Friday announced the managers, rosters and game schedules for a Qualifier featuring a combined 41 players affiliated with Major League Baseball clubs.
Israel will have nearly half of all those affiliated players on its own roster. In addition to its 20 professional players, Israel will feature 2009 All-Star pitcher and New York native Jason Marquis, as well as former Mets infielders Ike Davis and Josh Satin, plus Craig Breslow, a key figure in the World Series champion Boston Red Sox bullpen in 2013.
Hall of Famer Barry Larkin returns for a second time as Brazil’s manager, while seven-time All-Star closer Trevor Hoffman, whose 601 saves are second only to Mariano Rivera, will be the bullpen coach for Great Britain.
The Brooklyn Qualifier will feature six games in a modified double-elimination format at the home of the Class A Brooklyn Cyclones of the New York-Penn League. The winner advances to compete in the fourth installment of the tournament featuring many of the world’s greatest baseball players.
Jerry Weinstein, who serves as the manager of the Cape Cod League’s Wareham Gatemen and spent nine seasons as a Rockies organizational coach before that, will manage an Israel club that made its WBC debut during the 2012 Qualifier and went 2-1 after falling to Spain in the final game of the Qualifier.
Israel’s 20 affiliated players include left-handed pitchers Alex Katz (CWS), Jared Lakind (PIT), R.C. Orlan (WSH) and Ryan Sherriff (STL); right-handed pitchers Corey Baker (STL), Bradley Goldberg (CWS), Tyler Herron (NYM), Dean Kremer (LAD), Troy Neiman (COL), Joey Wagman (OA K) and Josh Zeid (NYM); infielders Scott Burcham (COL), Cody Decker (BOS), Nate Freiman (BOS) and Ty Kelly (NYM); outfielders Zach Borenstein (ARI), Michael Meyers (BOS) and Rhett Wiseman (WSH); and catchers Ryan Lavarnway (TOR ) and Nick Rickles (WSH).
The pool composition was determined after venues were selected, with consideration given to competitive balance, existing rivalries and each national team’s geographic location.
Under WBC rules, any player eligible for citizenship of a country, even if they do not have it, may play for that team. This entitles Israel to have non-Israeli citizens of Jewish heritage play for the team.
The winner of the Brooklyn Qualifier will join these 15 countries already in the WBC field: Australia, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Italy, Japan, Korea, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Mexico, Puerto Rico, United States and Venezuela.
Their invitations were based on their performance in the 2013 tournament or in prior Qualifiers.
The Qualifier tournament will open on Thursday, September 22, with a doubleheader featuring Pakistan vs Brazil and Great Britain vs Israel.For more information and a complete schedule for the tournament, please visit www.worldbaseballclassic.com