We did it. We did it. We did it. We won the World Baseball Classic Qualifier. We made it right.
Four years ago, 1,462 days ago– not that anyone’s counting, on September 25th, 2012, after we lost to Spain, I wrote this…
“Each one of us now has to deal with the loss individually and collectively. We each will project our own sense of self-doubt onto the game. We will each feel that our individual contribution is somehow responsible for the outcome. So what do we do? How do we deal with being on the doorstep of history only to ultimately not be allowed inside?
We are going to attempt to qualify in four years again. We are going to celebrate on that mound and in that clubhouse and that champagne is going to taste that much sweeter. We may have lost this game, but we will win in the end. And we will let the world know about it. We cannot be stopped simply because we will not stop. We are, after all, always and forever…. the Kings of Jewish Baseball”.
Sunday night in Brooklyn, we did it. The guys did it.
Four years ago, Josh Zeid was on the mound when we lost. Sunday night in Brooklyn he was the winning pitcher. Four years ago Cody Decker, like all of us, sat in disbelief in the clubhouse after the game. Sunday night in Brooklyn, he hit an 0-2 fastball over the left field fence putting the game out of reach. Four years ago, Charlie Cutler was ejected in the 9th inning of a tie game we eventually lost. Sunday night in Brooklyn, in the 8th inning, he hit a two-run double to right field making the score 9-1 in our favor. Four years ago, I was offered a job, move to Israel, Peter said, run the baseball program, play for the national team. And I went.
Before every game, during the national anthems, I thought about the guys back in Israel, the kids and the coaches, and wondered if they were watching. So did the guys on the team. We talked about you a lot. We looked at pictures of the ratty baseballs you hit every day. We did it for you. We are sending baseballs back, and bats, and catchers gear.
The fans were great, all the guys who played in the IBL back in 2007, the guys up in the press box, it was like the Jewish Baseball Summit at the park. They’ve been waiting for this. A reporter I spoke to teared up. Skip tried to make a pre-game speech and could barely get the words out, which said everything. I paced in the coaches room in the clubhouse. Then we did it. We did it. We did it. Lavarnway hit a ball about 450 feet over the scoreboard in left field. I asked him if he ever hit a ball that good. It’s been a while, he said. It’s been a while for all of us. Four years, 1,462 days, to be exact.
And then we did it. We did it. We did it.