Jewish Chicago Cubs Prospect Joins Team Israel Competing in World Baseball Classic
Chicago Cubs first baseman prospect Matt Mervis will compete as part of Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic (WBC) that starts in March in Florida, Sports Illustrated reported.
Israel will compete in the WBC as part of Pool D, which plays the first round of games in Miami from March 11-15.
The 24-year-old, who is Jewish, said there are “so many” reasons why he has decided to play for Team Israel. He explained, “I mean, the manager is Ian Kinsler, who played years and years in the big leagues. Joc Pederson’s on that team. Kevin Pillar is on that team, so there’s guys with a lot of big league experience coaching and playing.”
The Duke University alumni and Maryland native also thought he would gain a lot from competing in a pool that features teams with many Major League Baseball players and “the best pitching I’ve ever seen.”
He added: “We’re playing against super teams. I mean, it’s the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico and Venezuela and Nicaragua. Those teams are full of MLB All-Stars. So getting that experience, playing in a big environment like that — I mean, it’s in Miami — the crowds are going to be loud and excited. It was really a no-brainer for me.”
The World Baseball Classic begins on March 8 and the championship will take place on March 21.