28 Apr

Yes! Ladies and Geetles, it is I, again, King of All Jewish Baseball, Literary Genius, Master Blogger, Professional Exaggerator, the Most Important Artist/Dancer of the 21st Century, #1 Ranked Funk DJ in the Middle East, Leader of the Most Powerful Clandestine Baseball Organization in the World, and, of course, my greatest accomplishment, Real-Life Baseball Player, with more news from the front lines of Israel Baseball.

It is hard, as I am sure you know, faithful reader, for an Oleh Chadash, an immigrant, like myself, to keep track of all the holidays here in Israel.  Even today is a holiday, Holocaust Remembrance Day, where, at precisely 10am, less than 2 hours ago, sirens sounded around the country and everyone, everywhere, whether driving a car or singing Janet Jackson’s entire song catalogue in alphabetic order atop a horse, stopped what they were doing and stood in complete silence, arms at their sides, for 2 minutes, a nation famously fragmented, in silent unison, for 2 minutes, at least.  And next week, too, a holiday, two holidays, actually, Memorial Day, then Independence day.  The saddest day, and the happiest, right next to each other, a funeral then a wedding, an emotional roller coaster of a calendar dictated by the cycles of the moon, and of history.

And last week, of course, a big one, Passover.  We celebrated, as Jews do, by punishing ourselves, no bread, starvation sated only by the occasional sip of salt-water, or a nibble of bitter herbs, 40 years of suffering played-out around the table nearly in real-time.  But, this year, a new tradition, for no holiday, from this day forward, should not also have a corresponding baseball activity in Israel.  Using only the power of the internet, a lifetime of carefully crafted knowledge, and the Angel of Death, of course, we smeared lamb’s blood on our faces, jumped in the car, parted the sea, and headed out into the wilderness, the desert, the unknown, for our Passover Break Baseball Games.

Baseball is funny, sometimes it rewards mistakes– a blooper can be a single, and a line drive can be an out, so we devised a new game, a game to eliminate chance.  Here are the rules…  7 on 7, 3 innings, fastballs only, 5 minutes innings, all Jews– Finally, a game of ultimate fairness!

We played “instructional games”.  Each inning started with a different set of circumstances, and the kids had to do different things according to the situation. And between each inning, bonus rounds.  Instead of runs, they got points.  If they executed, point, if they did not, merciless torture.  Pay attention, baseball coaches.  The kids loved it.  They came out of their homes and their floating wicker baskets, nearly 200 in total attended 4 days of baseball at 4 different locations.

Kids at Kraft Field in Jerusalem during Passover.

Kids at Kraft Field in Jerusalem during Passover.

While we were busy working on sac bunts, and praying for mana, our Junior National Team was in Prague playing in the 2014 Pony Baseball Tournament against their 16-year old counterparts from around Europe.  The team finished in 2nd place, losing in the finals to the host team, the Czech Academy.

The 2014 Israel Junior National Team.

The 2014 Israel Junior National Team before a game in Prague.

Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice.  The holidays, and the Israel Association of Baseball, just keep coming, around the clock, non-stop.


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