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June 30, 2022 11:23 am
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Former MLB All-Star to Coach Team Israel for 2023 World Baseball Classic

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Ian Kinsler. Photo: Keith Allison via Wikimedia Commons.

Ian Kinsler, a former Major League Baseball player and current advisor for the San Diego Padres’ front office, has been chosen to be the manager of Team Israel for the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC).

Kinsler, 39, is a four-time MLB All-Star who was the starting second baseman and the leadoff hitter for Team USA at the 2017 World Baseball Classic, where his team won the gold medal. He was a 2018 World Series champion with the Red Sox and also played for the Rangers, Tigers, Angels and Padres.

He received his Israeli citizenship in early 2020, and later represented the Jewish state at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, where he played alongside several members of Israel’s squad set to compete next year in the WBC.

“I was very excited when I was asked to manage Team Israel at the WBC and it didn’t take long for me to accept the position. I enjoyed my time playing in the tournament and now that I know Israel Baseball well from my time in the Olympics, I am convinced that we will have a very competitive squad that will go far,” said Kinsler, whose father is Jewish. He added, “I can’t wait to visit Israel this summer and see the young talent that will be on display at the Maccabiah Games. We are already hard at work putting together a winner roster for Israel at the WBC and I look forward to making all of our fans proud.”

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Kinsler will visit Israel in July with his family to attend the Maccabiah Games, where he will serve as one of five torchbearers at the opening ceremony in Jerusalem on July 14. He plans to lead baseball clinics for all Maccabiah baseball players at Ezra Schwartz Ballpark in Ra’anana the next week, according to the Israel Association of Baseball (IAB), and will throw the opening pitch at a Maccabiah game.

“Having Ian Kinsler as our manager provides us with a huge catalyst for recruiting top MLB players, as well as a manager who has a truly analytical approach to the game,” said IAB President Jordy Alter. “Ian’s leadership of our Olympic team was crucial to our play in that competition and convincing him to now take on the managerial reigns is a further step in the development of the Israel Baseball program, following our second-place finish at the 2021 European championships.”

A two-time Gold Glove award winner, Kinsler retired in 2019 after 14 seasons in the major leagues. According to Sports Illustrated, he has the most stolen bases (243) by a Jewish player in MLB history; is ranked second among Jewish players in hits (1,999) and doubles (416); and fourth in home runs (257) and runs batted in (909).

He will be the third person to manage Team Israel in the WBC. Brad Ausmus led the team to the 2012 WBC qualifiers and under the leadership of Jerry Weinstein, Team Israel finished in sixth at the WBC finals in 2017.

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