American Jewish Baseball Players to Make Aliyah for Israeli Olympic Team
JNS.org – Ten American-Jewish Major League and Minor League Baseball players are beginning the process of making aliyah next week, in order to be eligible to play for Israel at the 2020 Olympic Summer Games.
Participants in the Olympics must be citizens of the countries which they represent for at least a year prior to pre-Olympic trials, but they can have multiple citizenships.
Half of the players making aliyah next week played for Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic last year, reaching the quarterfinals: Corey Baker, a retired minor leaguer; Blake Gailen and Joey Wagman from the Independent League; Alex Katz, a Baltimore Orioles minor leaguer; and Gabe Cramer, a Kansas City Royals minor leaguer.
Others are Jon Moscot and Zack Weiss, Major League Baseball free agents; Eric Brodkowitz, a former college player; Jonathan de Marte, who plays in the Independent League; and Jeremy Wolf, a retired minor league player.
Eight of the players are pitchers.
Due to their ages, none of the players will be drafted into the Israeli Defense Forces.
The Israel Association of Baseball, which says the number of Israelis playing baseball rose by 25 percent in the past two years, is planning to build two regulation-size fields this year: one in Beit Shemesh and one in Ra’anana.