Tag Archives: #kingofjewishbaseball

KOREA

22 Nov

We are going to Korea for the World Baseball Classic. I think Korea is near Houston, or somewhere else in Mexico. I’m not sure. I’ve never been there. But I hear it’s nice in March.

Meetings for all 16 teams took place in New York City. The most powerful witches and wizards of the baseball universe sat around the table plotting their upcoming run at global domination, glaring from behind fake eye patches, Donald Trump masks, Oculus VR helmets, and other various symbols of evil and the near future. Who will win? Who won’t? Who will raise the cup and wear the ring? Who will get lost and show up late for batting practice? These were and still are the pressing questions of the hour.

Do not let the smooth taste fool you. As the seasons change from fall to winter, from baseball season to the off-season, reps of each team slip away from meetings to begin their clandestine work, getting commitments from players and coaches. What appears to be the slow time of the year is instead time to work, re-arm, and prepare for the Great Battle of Ultimate Enlightenment known as the World Baseball Classic.

World Baseball Classic Inc. released the full tournament schedule. Guess who plays the opening game? Papa New Guinea versus Alaska. Just kidding. It’s us. Israel. And guess who we play? Korea, the hosts, wherever that is.

You can see full tournament schedule here…

http://www.worldbaseballclassic.com/news/article/208916214/

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EXIT SANDMAN

27 Jun

Allow me, King of Jewish Baseball, to dutifully tell the tale of last week and an Ancient and Holy Tradition, the 2nd Annual Israel Baseball Summer Classic, the under 21 National Team versus the Senior National Team, 5 games in 5 days, a very short marathon, the Puppies vs. the Old Dogs, blood sport, war, Great and Sad Theater of Humanity, acted out on the nearly flat surface of a parallel dimension, the baseball field at Baptist Village, Israel.

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Old Dogs win the first two games of the series.  Enter Sandman.  Mariano Rivera is in Israel!  We get this picture of him holding his stylish new Israel Baseball sweatshirt and ask him if he wants to throw out the first pitch at the final game of the Classic.

New closer for the Israel National Team.

New closer for the Israel National Team.

Of course he does.  He is, after all, the Greatest Closer of All Time and we, the IAB, are The Most Powerful Clandestine Jewish Baseball Organization in the World.  It only makes sense.  He would love to throw out the first pitch and meet the kids who play baseball in Israel.

Mariano is coming. Tell Everyone. Bring him in through gate in left field. Play Enter Sandman when he walks in.  Rent a sound system, hire a photographer, security, invite the press.

Meanwhile, the series rages on.  The Youngs battle back, using their switchblades, mainly, and easily win the next two games, tying the series, and setting the scene for a 5th and final showdown, a rubber match for all the shekels, and, as assumed, eternal life.  In the backgound, Mariano.  Will he come?  Or won’t he?

No phone calls, no meetings, no confirmation, looking like no Mo.  These guys are hard to nail down.  I once sat up memorizing Doc Gooden’s career statistics, 1984 Rookie of the Year, 1985 Cy Young Award winner, 1986 World Champion with the New York Mets, 1996 no hitter with the New York Yankees, 2000 World Champion also with the New York Yankees – only to have him no show the next day.  It’s not easy accepting the love of so many adoring fans, I know, Dr. K, Mo, the King of Jewish Baseball, it gets tiresome.  Exit Sandman.  Cancel.  Tell everyone, contact the press, he isn’t coming.

But people will do what they want to do, or, at least, in this case, will still do what they had planned on doing, so they came anyways, some of them, at least, from Jerusalem, from Raanana, from Modiin.  They came for the food, but stayed for the music, as they say, came for Mariano, but stayed for us, the Greatest Jewish Baseball Show on Earth, give them what they want, the rabid, viscous fans, a close game, stand-up doubles, an autograph, and chocolate, by god, give them chocolate.

Game 5 was tied in the bottom of the 9th inning, 5 to 5, coincidentally, or not, when the black sky opened and owls with the bodies of rabbits filled the horizon, Snake Birds and Horse Men vomited Earth and Sea, and the Old Dogs scored a fatal and final death blow, a 6th run, ending the game and tournament, both teams exhausted.  It was a good game, in a weird way, thanks to Mariano Rivera.  We will tell people he is coming to every game from now on.


Tomorrow, we have the IAB Annual General Meeting, a thrilling event, no doubt, like the White House Corresponence Dinner, just like it.  We will gather around a fire and and join hands and ask the Great Mother for visions of the past and future and drink bottled water as our ancestors did.  And then, after the meeting, it’s off to Greece, that’s right, Ladies and Geetles, put on your gold chains, your leather jock strap, and your white batting glove, because the Under-21 National Team is coming to Greece!  We are playing in the Baseball World Cup in Athens.  Anything could happen.  We could win, the economy could collapse, again.  I will magically switch from Fish to Coach Fish, from short stop to the 3rd base coaches box, and we will, we know this much, at least, as always, play baseball.

Check #roadtoathens on social media to keep up with our quest for glory and ultimate victory.

 

SPEEDBALL

9 Oct

In the past, the word “speedball” was used to describe the deadly combination of cocaine and heroin. From this day foreword, I declare, it will be used to describe something far more dangerous.

As you know, Dear Reader, as King of Jewish Baseball aka Spirit Bro aka Jewish Cal Ripken, I spend much time defending baseball to people who know nothing about the game, or anything else for that matter.  These people are often referred to in the medical community at “Israelis”. Major League Baseball is a $6 billion a year industry, players are paid more than any other athletes in the world, but, alas, you can find me any given Tuesday morning, or Wednesday afternoon, desperately trying to convince a group of 7 year-olds and a half-sleeping elderly security guard that baseball is a real thing, a valid game, an actual sport human beings play and enjoy.  It’s not just Israel, Americans are also making obvious, elementary, critical observations of the game.  It is slow.  It is boring.  The players are fat.

What can we do?  A pitch clock? Nope.  Don’t let hitters step out of the box between pitches?  Nah.  Build a high-speed roller derby track from the bullpen to the mound?  Maybe.  But none of those things will really speed-up the game.  We need change, real change.  We need a revolution.  So I came up with a creative solution, as is my habit. That is how it works, you see, the mind of a genius, if you were wondering, and the universe.  After an embarrassingly slow 2014 Premier League season here in Israel, while watching a 6-and-a-half hour, 18-inning playoff game between the Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants, I invented a faster game that will supplant the game formerly known as “Baseball”, probably within hours.  A plan to kill and save baseball simultaneously. IT IS CALLED SPEEDBALL.  Here is how it works…

RULES OF THE GREAT AND SUPREME GAME KNOWN AS SPEEDBALL

5 on 5

3 inning games

All fastballs

No bunts

No leads

No steals

No pitching changes

Besides that, the rules are the same.  There are still walks and strikeouts.  3 outs, and switch sides.  The team with the most runs after 3 innings wins. Think of it as baseball for dumb people.

But how, you ask, um, Sir, Mister King of Jewish Baseball, could this possibly work?  To which I say, I expected you to ask a stupid question like that because you lack imagination and fear change and the rapid advancement of mankind.
It is a simple game.  It is about throwing hard, hitting hard, and running hard.  Games take an hour. Start your closer.  Fewer arm injuries.  More hitting.  Give the people what they want.  Or perish.  I would post a video of Speedball, BUT IT DOES NOT EXIST, yet.

Welcome to Speedball. Welcome to the future.

YEAR 2

20 Sep

It’s that magical time of year again when children awaken to claw, crawl, and climb from their underground sleeping holes like the zombie offspring of the undead.  That’s right, the 2014/2015 school year has begun, and despite that not being in any way a unit of time provided to us by nature, or having anything to do with most of you, for those of us who work with kids, it is a signal, THEY ARE COMING, like an unstoppable train.  Summer is over.

It also marks the beginning of my 2nd year on this little-known moon of Mars called Israel.  It feels like longer. So much has happened.  And so much is going on.  So much, dear reader, to tell you. I am memorizing all the lyrics of Brooklyn’s Finest by Jay Z and Biggie Smalls.  And I have started the book.  That’s right, Ladies and Geetles, THE BOOK, the whole thing, the whole story, all of it, THE KING OF JEWISH BASEBALL, to be followed by the film, of course.  I will even share some of it with you here, if you promise not to show anyone.  It is a book about a blog about a man about the future about the past about real made-up things that have and have not yet happened.  Ah yes, where does the time go?

The most excting thing, the best news to share with you, is that last week, new European and World rankings were released.  We’re ranked 5th IN EUROPE, and 19th IN THE WORLD.  It is important to note that I do not know if what I am going to say next is “true”, as it’s called, but that has never stopped me, I am, after all, the King of All Jewish Baseball, I say what I want, it sounds good, and it might even be accurate. 5th and 19th are the highest European and World rankings for any Israeli team, in any sport, ever.

And we’re not done yet.  Not even close.  USA, we’re coming for you.  I have heard of this USA before.  THEY ARE NOT THAT GOOD.  “Kershaw”, he is no Lipetz.  Sorry, “Tulowitzki”, we have Fish.  “Adam Jones” has nothing on Weinberg.  On paper, they may be the  better team.  But on a gravel parking lot in Herzliya, I think we have them beat.  Anytime, anywhere, USA, name the makeshift field, and we’re there.

Boom.  19.  Come get some, USA.

Boom. 19. Come get some, USA.

And, of course, as promised, an excerpt from the book…

“I was born a Fat Bald Naked Poor Jewish Baby in Vermont, January 2, 1980.”

Boom.  That’s all you get.  The first line.  You thought I was going to give you more?

Buy the book.

 

YUNG JOC

4 Sep

Before we begin, dear reader, I must warn you, if you are having a hard day, this is a sad story.  As you may have heard, Joc Pederson was recently called up from the Minor Leagues to play for the Los Angeles Dodgers.  I know Joc, and, well, this is hard, how can I, it’s just, as the King of All Jewish Baseball, Protector of All That is Holy on Earth, I feel it is my responsibility to tell you the truth about him.

Joc Pederson.  Team Israel.

Joc Pederson. Team Israel.

I met Joc in the hospitalty room at the hotel, a room full of snacks, and drinks he was too young to have.  He was only 20, an exciting young prospect.  Now, just look at him, disgusting, WASHED UP, 22 years-old, at the end of his career.  It’s sad, really, to see him hobbling around out there like that.  He could have been good.  But we’ll never know.  HE IS TOO OLD.

Way back then, back in the day, in 2012, he was strong, and fast. “Who is this kid?”  So much talent.  So much skill.

How did he fall so far, so fast?

It happens all the time.  You know the story.  Money, women, leading the league in home runs, drugs, 30/30, paranoia, Rookie of the Year, a secret obsession with cookies and cream ice-cream, MVP.  And boom, look what happens, next thing you know, STARTING IN CENTER FIELD FOR THE DODGERS AT 22. So sad.  But that’s just how it goes, I guess.  He lost himself.  Can you imagine the shame?

Yes, Ladies and Geetles, the truth about Joc Pederson is, I must confess, once and for all, that… he is a good kid, and a great baseball player. Yes, a kid, still. Or maybe he is a good baseball player, and a great kid. Or maybe a good baseball player, and a great taxidermist. It remains to be seen.

I have a picture of me and Joc in the clubhouse in only our jock straps and some catchers gear. As a PROFESSIONAL BLOGGER, I would like to share it.  But I will not, because, well, I am the King of Jewish Baseball, and he is a MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYER, and you are neither of these things and as such do not deserve to see an object of such sick beauty.  He has a reputation as a SOCIOPATH DRUG ADDICT to protect. And I would not want to do anything to harm him.

YUNG JOC, we’re in Israel in Dodger Blue hollering your name!

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 “DON’T BE SCARED TO BE GOOD…”

MLB CAMP

10 Aug

A week in Slovenia was not enough to satisfy my craving for baseball and adventure and separation anxiety, so I drove to Italy for Major League Baseball’s European Elite Camp.  How did I receive an invitation to such a prestigious event, you ask? Well, because, hmmmm, how can I put this… I AM THE KING OF JEWISH BASEBALL!!!

Major League Baseball.  Finally...

Major League Baseball. Finally…

I had to relearn how to drive a stick shift in a thunderstorm in the Alps.  But I got to the facility without careening 7,000 feet down the side of a mountain.  Every time I get to where I am supposed to be, I am shocked.  When I’m on a train, I am sure it’s the wrong one.  Why doesn’t anyone else look concerned?  What is wrong with me?  Who are these people who do not worry needlessly?  They must not be Jewish.

When I am driving, I am sure I just took a wrong turn, or will.  I do not understand the miracles of technology required to move through the physical world from point A to point B.  It is too complicated.  Right now, I am sitting safely in a flying machine many thousands of feet above the ground looking down at clouds traveling so fast that if it were not for the thin sheet of metal between the air inside the plane and the air outside, my face would be ripped off.  How, exactly, is one supposed to comprehend these things?  I must admit, it is also because– something I am ultimately proud of and embarrassed by, despite traveling the world, I HAVE NEVER PURCHASED A PLANE TICKET, wouldn’t even know where to start.

The thing about being a SUPERSTAR ATHLETE, or a King of Jewish Baseball, or Janet Jackson, is this… you don’t have to do anything for yourself, people do it for you.  It is most fantastic and crippling.  It’s better this way, I tell myself. I am not a travel agent, no, no, no, my mind cannot be cluttered with unimportant details of travel documents and credit card numbers, my ideas are too valuable, I need time and space to invent apps that will never be developed and come up with art projects that will never happen, and to write, of course.

Camp was at the Olympic Training Facility in Tirrenia, Italy.  The top 40 players in Europe under 18 were invited. When I arrived, Dan told me I would be rooming with Mr. Collins from Holland.  Great, I thought, an old guy. What kind of first name is “Mr.”?  Vic Collins aka Dutch Mo Vaughn aka the Snoring Machine arrived at 11:30 that night and turned the lights on.  It was the beginning of a week of friendship and no sleep.

In the mornings, we would eat and get out to the field for a 9am start.  The kids were from Holland, Italy, Germany, Czech, Croatia, France, and the UK.  Major League Baseball sent Head Coach John McLaren (coach/scout, currenty with the Oakland A’s), Infield Coach Barry Larkin (Hall of Fame Short Stop, Cincinnati Reds), Hitting Coach Steve Finley (All-Star Outfielder, journeyman), Base Running Specialist Fernando Perez (Center Field, 2008 World Series Rays), Pitching Coach Greg Swindell (Lefty), and Mike Larson (MLB scouting bureau).  Meet them…

Me and another coach from camp.  Said his name was "Barry Larkin".

Me and another coach from camp. Said his name was “Barry Larkin”.

Guy in the back (Steve Finley) photo bombed me.  Did not know he was there.

Guy in the back (Steve Finley) photo bombed me. Did not know he was there.

Look like a ballplayer one time, Perez!

Do me a favor, look like a ballplayer one time, Perez!

Not sure who this is or how he got into camp.  Told security he pitched for 14 years in the Major League.  AND IT WORKED.

Not sure who this is or how he got into camp (Greg Swindell). Told security he pitched for 14 years in the Major Leagues. AND IT WORKED.

Big Vic Collins aka Dutch Mo Vaughn aka the Snoring Machine.

Big Vic Collins aka Dutch Mo Vaughn aka the Snoring Machine.

Schedule was like spring training.  Practice in the morning, ground balls, team defense, BP.  Break for lunch at 12.  Back for games at 1.   We worked and worked and worked.  The kids were all in pain.  But a little pain never hurt anyone.  THIS IS WHAT IT TAKES, KID.  No one said it was gonna be easy.

At night, we had meetings, listening to European scientists who have never been on a baseball field speak about learning modalities and skill aquisition.  And then I listened to Vic snore.  He snored like it was a mating ritual.  He snored so loud I felt bad for the air.  He snored when he was awake.  He snored on the inhale and the exhale.  It sounds like he was eating and screaming and choking and speaking in tongues. I would lay there, horrified, until I could take no more, then I would snap my fingers, or punch him in the face as hard as I could, but he was unfazed.  He would take a short break, allowing the air to back into the room, and I would try to fall asleep quickly. Then the sun would come up, and we’d go back to the field.

Every once in a while I get a week in the Big Leagues.  It’s more than most.  But not enough.  I’ll get there one day.  46 years old.  Pinch hit appearance.  BP pitcher.  Mascot.  I changed my name to Rufio Rufio and told the scouts I am 14.  Getting some interest from the Blue Jays and the Royals.  We’ll see what happens.

We start camp tomorrow, in 5 hours, actually, at Kibbutz Gezer.  I am going from a baseball field in Slovenia to a baseball field in Italy to a baseball facility in Israel.  The King of Jewish Baseball.  Home is on the ballfield.

Class of 2014, MLB Europe Elite Camp.

Class of 2014, MLB European Elite Camp.

THE GREATEST JEWISH BASEBALL SHOW ON EARTH

29 Jul

We just had our first game.  We beat Finland 13-1.  Then we did what any team does after a big win, we found a horse field and shot portraits.  Now, Ladies and Geetles, I proudly and dutifully, using only the power given to me by the Yugo Czech Austro Hungarian Slovak Empire, present to you, THE GREATEST JEWISH BASEBALL SHOW ON EARTH, the 2014 Israel National Team…

Eitan Maoz aka Swamp Thing, Catcher.

Eitan Maoz aka Swamp Thing, Catcher.

Aric Weinberg aka Cyborg, Center Field.

Aric Weinberg aka Cyborg aka the Flying Squirrel, has metal bones, capable of doubling body size for 3 seconds at a time, can actually fly, Center Field.

Orr Gottlieb aka Ogre Israeli Babe Ruth, Pitcher/Outfield/3rd base.

Orr Gottlieb aka Ogre aka Israeli Babe Ruth, Pitcher/Outfield/3rd base.

Alon Leichman aka Leroy the Giant Baby of the Sky, Right Handed Pitcher/Our Heart.

Alon Leichman, man of ultimate preparedness and honor, Right Handed Pitcher/Our Heart.

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Yuli Tsypin aka Yules the Laugher, man of steele, Outfield/Right Handed Pitcher.

Amit Kurz aka the Million Year Old Trumpet, 1st base/Utility.

Amit Kurz aka the Trumpet, saved our lives 74 times on the drive yesterday,1st base/Utility.

Ophir Katz aka the Good Gardener, Catcher/1st base/DH/Utility.

Ophir Katz aka the Gardener, the only one of us brave enough to sport a mohawk for the tournament, Catcher/1st base/DH/Utility.

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Tal Erel aka Mister T, Catcher.

Josh Weiss, failed 3 drug tests for Hairoids, Outfield.

Josh Weiss, failed 3 drug tests for Hairoids, Outfield.

David Weiss, created in a labratory to be used in future Terminator films, experiment went horribly wrong, scientists added to much sawg, and Terminator was canceled, wound up on Israel National Team, Outfield.

David Weiss, created in a labratory to be used in future Terminator films, experiment went horribly wrong, scientists added too much swag, then Terminator was canceled, wound up on Israel National Team, Outfield.

Jonathan Isaac aka Jon Jon, the only man capable of visualizing himself visualzing, Outfield.

Jonathan Isaac aka Jon Jon, the only man capable of visualizing himself visualzing, Outfield.

Dean Kremer aka Dean-O aka Kreme aka Krembo aka Dean Kremer Abdul Jabbar, Right Handed Pitcher.

Dean Kremer aka Dean-O aka Kreme aka Krembo aka Dean Kremer Abdul Jabbar, Right Handed Pitcher.

Shlomo Lipetz, the man with a Triillion Testicles... and nicknames, Shlo, Shlo Motion, Shlobot, Shlo Gun Assasin, Shlogurt, Right Handed Pitcher.

Shlomo Lipetz, the man with a Trillion nicknames… and testicles, Shlo, Shlo Motion, Shlobot, Shlom Boy, Shlo Gun Assasin, Shlogurt, Shlo Time, Right Handed Pitcher.

Dan Rothem aka the Matrix aka Neo aka the Computer, 3rd base/Right Handed Pitcher.

Dan Rothem aka the Matrix aka Neo aka the Computer, 3rd base/Right Handed Pitcher.

Simon Rosenbaum aka Young Mag Pie, Actual Human Giant, ate this child after photo was taken, 1st Base.

Simon Rosenbaum aka Young Mag Pie, Actual Human Giant, ate this child after photo was taken, 1st Base.

Oren Gal aka Goat Boy, the only man who eats 2 breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 4 dinners, ate half his jersey in his sleep last night, woke up in a panic. 2nd Base.

Oren Gal aka Goat Boy, the only man who eats 2 breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 4 dinners, ate half his jersey in his sleep last night, woke up in a panic, 2nd Base.

Yotam Ben Amran aka the Monk, Rookie, Right Handed Pitcher.

Yotam Ben Amran aka the Monk, Rookie, Right Handed Pitcher.

Jake Rabinowitz, the largest Black Jewish Man in the former Yugoslavia, Pitching Coach.

Jake Rabinowitz, the largest Black Jewish Man in the former Yugoslavia, Pitching Coach.

Richard Kania aka Sir Richard, Voted best unofficial official honorary Israeli of the Century, Head Coach.

Richard Kania aka Sir Richard, Voted best unofficial official honorary Israeli of the Century, Head Coach.

Suzanna aka Yentl, 1st Base Coach.

Suzanna aka Yentl, 1st Base Coach.

Tomer, Bat Boy.

Tomer, Bat Boy.

Nate Fish, King of Jewish Baseball, Short Stop.

Nate Fish, King of Jewish Baseball, Short Stop.

Next game is tomorrow, 5:30, against the hosts, Slovenia.  Check http://www.baseballeurope.com/ for gamecasts, highlights, and scores.  And search #roadtoslovenia on FB, Twitter, and Instagram to keep up with the Greatest Jewish Baseball Show on Earth this week as we chase a championship.

BOOM

14 Jul

Lots of messages this week…

“What’s going on in Israel” “Are you OK?”  “Are you safe?”  “Can you still turn sticks into serpents?  I have a certain situation and could use some help with that.”

The Kingdom of Jewish Baseball is under fire!  So I now must do what All Men of Destiny and Honor do when it’s time for war — tweet, post on Facebook, and write a blog!

A rocket flies over my head.

A rocket flies over my head.


1) Tuesday, July 87:00pm

Picking Amit up for Eliora’s wedding.  Sirens. We go into the stairwell with his sister and mother and neighbors.   Amit is casual about it. ROCKETS DON’T HURT US.  So, so am I.  We leave for the wedding 10 minutes later.

First phone call from my Mom.

 2)Tuesday, July 8, 10:00pm

At the wedding.  The sirens earlier did not stop people from coming.  Everyone is here.  Alon.  Lee.  The King of Jewish Ice cream.  Jewish Jackie Robinson.  After the ceremony, in the dining room, more sirens.  Everyone is told to go to the bathrooms.  People crowd in.  There is not enough room.  Some people go outside to look at the sky.  We don’t see anything.

Facetime with Dasi to tell her I am okay.

3) Wednesday, July 9, 8:30am

3rd day of Baseball Camp.  We hear rockets being intercepted in the distance during our group meeting with the kids.

4) Thursday, July 10, 8:00am

Sirens on our way to camp.  We pull of the highway.  Me, Richard, Yuli, and Apple Juice jump the guard rail and lay down.  I don’t get the logic of laying down.  But, when the sirens go off, pick the most Israeli person in the group, and do whatever they’re doing.  THEY’RE ISRAELI.  THEY’RE TRAINED FOR THIS.  We get back in the car and proceeded to camp mostly in silence.

Mom calls, worried.  She has the Red Alert App that notifies her when there are rocket attacks. Dasi tells me the US Embassy is closing and I am living in a war zone.  They are both better informed than I am. It still feels like we’re just running a baseball camp.

 

The King of Jewish Baseball and his Army of Interns are forced to retreat and hide in the  bushes by the road.

The King of Jewish Baseball and his Army of Interns are forced to retreat and hide in the bushes by the road.

5) Friday, July 11, 10:45am

3rd inning of a scrimmage game between the Junior National Team and the Senior National team.  Sirens.  We all run in our metal cleats into a house behind the third base dugout and crowd into two safety rooms.  We hear the booms of the rockets being intercepted by the iron dome.  We resume the game 15 minutes later.

6) Friday, July 11, 6pm

Sitting at a restaurant in Jaffa.  No sirens, but see a cloud of smoke in the sky and a rocket explode in mid air.  People gather around to look.

Mom calls.  I assure her I am fine.  Things are totally normal.

7) Saturday, July 12, 9pm

Get home, open the car door, sirens.  Louder than before.   My neighbors come outside.  I ask if they want to come in.  They say it’s safer outside.  Again, I do not understand, but follow the Israelis, wavering half-in my door, half-out, while they calm their dogs down.  I go inside and sit in the shower and take a picture of myself.  Then we hear the rockets blowing up in the sky, close and loud.  Partly because I am home, and party because I amalone, I feel scared for the first time.

I call my mom.  She is calm now, losing interest.

8) Sunday July 13, 4:45pm

Drop Richard off at his hotel.  Sirens.  I put the car in park, leave it in the street, Richard, Yuli, and I run into the hotel.  Everyone goes to the basement.  The siren is loud again.  And the explosions are pretty loud.

No phone calls are made.

9) Sunday, July 13th, 8pm

Sundown at the beach. I sit on the rocks with Nam Nam and Efrat and watch rockets get shot down out of the sky.

I miss a call from my parents.  I call back.  Things have changed.  They’re cool.  No big deal. They’ve adapted. They’ve become Israeli about it.  We get used to danger quickly.


Today is Monday, July 14th, 2014. It’s been almost a week since the first sirens.  I’m sitting in the storage shed at Baptist Village– my office, sweating, typing, watching the kids practice on the field. All of the rockets have been intercepted by the Iron Dome so far.  It’s like there aren’t rockets coming at all, like a deadly asteroid flying through space you know will never hit Earth, but that may hit Earth. There is nothing to do but continue at baseball camp, and use the closest Israeli as a human barometer for how to act and feel.  More sirens could come anytime.

THE ROAD TO SLOVENIA

5 Jul

What is this “World Cup” people are speaking about?  I have never heard of it.  Clearly, the world is not interested.  No, no, no.  The collective conscience of all animal life on Earth is focused solely on the significantly larger and more important world sporting event know as the EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS OF BASEBALL C POOL, where the lowest ranked teams in Europe compete to advance to next summer’s B Pool.  TV deals are in negotiation.  Stadiums are being faultily constructed even as I sit here writing, in my bathtub filled with gold and rubies, surrounded by my women dressed, barely, in velvet and brass, feeding me truffles and spellchecking.  That’s right, Ladies, Geetles, faithful addicts of the Greatest Blog of All Time, on July 27, in 3 weeks, we, the Israel National Team, the Greatest Jewish Baseball Show on Earth, leave for Lubljanja Slovenia to play against our International Baseball Counterparts in the deadly gladiatorial competition of wit and athleticism called baseball.  But the road Slovenia is not an easy one.

According to the travel documents I just received, it appears we will we fly into Prague on the 27th, sleep 4 hours in tents in the forest behind the airport, rent canoes, and head east down the first sewage canal we find.  A witch named Rudolf in a Team Israel hat will be waiting for us at the southern mouth of the canal.  He will lead us through the treacherous sewage rapids into the GULF OF POSSIBLE DEATH where we will drift and let the current take us until rescue helicopters come.  This will be considered our “rest period”.  We do, after all, have games to play.  There will be 3 stick-shift Jeeps covered in rust with drivers waiting for us at the hospital after we rehydrate with intravenous fluids and have received treatments for our open sores and various mental illnesses we developed from drinking a deadly if delicious combination of salt water and sewage.  We will do a quick head count and drive south on route 4 Million for 9 hours where we will stop to get gas, eat raw tomatoes, and throw bullpens in the parking lot of a rest stop in Transylvania.  If everything goes according to plan, the Jeeps will run out of gas by the time we reach THE WEIRD AND MAGICAL EUROPEAN CASTLE HALFWAY UP A SNOW CAPPED MOUNTAIN OVERLOOKING A LAKE OF WATER SO STILL AND PURE IT LOOKS LIKE CRYSTAL WHICH IS VERY NEAR SLOVENIA, as it’s called, when, for the final leg of our trip, we will inflate our orb balls and roll directly to the field in uniform just in time for the 1st inning of our 1st game.  According to our travel agent, it is the cheapest option…

For now, we are practicing 3 days a week and have games the other 3 days which is good because it is only 1.3 trillion degrees celsius in Israel this time of year.  I experienced a unique injury at practice the other day, both my knees melted.  Not sure about the recovery time.  We are working HARD, fueled by the power of a thousand future generations of Israel Baseball fans.  I must tell you, I have never had this much fun playing.  We have three weeks before we put on our periwinkle blue Team Israel uniforms and get the chance to call ourselves CHAMPIONS.  Despite the odds of making it to Slovenia alive, I think we can do it, we can win this thing, we can return to Israel, late, exhausted, empty airport, full hearts, hopefully with a trophy.

You’re lucky, you can join us, without having to canoe through Eastern Europe, you have me, your own personal genius.  So switch the channel from the World Cup Finals to the whatever station our games will not appear on, use your imagination, for it is stronger than your TV anyways, and join the Israel National Team on the ROAD TO SLOVENIA.

 

 

LET'S GO!

LET’S GO!

Here is our schedule… And since you are likely too lazy to click on the clearly labeled link, I rewrote it with my own two hands below.

schedule

Tuesday, July 29, vs. Finland, 1:30pm
Wednesday, July 30, vs. Slovenia, 5:30pm
Thursday, July 31, vs. Latvia, 1:30pm
Friday, August 1, Semi-Finals,
Saturday, August 2, Finals

Search #roadtoslovenia on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for all updates on the team and our trip…

 

BAPTIST VILLAGE

17 May

Mazel Tov!  You’re reading the the 100th post on KING OF JEWISH BASEBALL, the greatest blog of all time, the blog responsible for ending all racism and all hunger.  In 2 years, I, King of All Jewish Baseball, literary genius, baseball deity, have composed 100 of the finest blog posts on this, or any other, Earth, using only the combined resources of the scientific community, including all human knowledge and technology, dinosaur magic, and the internet, of course.

It is only appropriate that for this monumentous occasion, this centennial, that I share one of the great secrets of Israel Baseball with you.  If you recall, faithful reader, which I am almost sure you do, I have mentioned, many times, “Baptist Village”.  But what, you have wondered, laying sleepless, reading by the light of your cell phone in bed, is a Baptist Village? – And what does it have to do with baseball? – In Israel? – Is it like an Ewok Village, but instead of Ewoks, there are Southern Baptists living in trees, communicating with a series of unintelligible chirps and gutteral clicks, walking from tree house to tree house on rope ladders?  Well, yes, that is exactly what it is like, except far, far stranger.

photo 3

Welcome to Baptist Village. The Baptists are high in the treetops. SSSSHHHH.

Baptist Village is located in Petach Tikvah, 25 minutes from Tel Aviv, near the internationally-known Green Line.  As you pull off the highway to the Village, in the background are the dotted, dry hills of West Bank.  In the Village are a few fields of crops, a train runs along the boundary of the property, and, of course, inside the inner fence, deep into the village, through a winding path that goes around the crops, there is one softball field, and one baseball field, at  night, the lights glowing like a spaceship.  Around the softball and baseball fields are small white cotttages with red roofs, modest 1 or 2 story buildings.  For years, Baptist people from America and from around the world have come to visit Israel and stay at the Village.  But, why, exactly, did a group of Baptists build a baseball field in Israel, a place where, by appearances, no one played baseball?  To answer your question as consicely and vigorously as possible, I DON’T KNOW.  It defies logic.  But no one here thinks it’s strange.  Like anything strong enough to simply exist, it seems normal.  But, that answer is not enough for an immigrant like me, so, as is my habit, I investigated.

There is a plaque behind the softball field with some of the history of Baptist Village.  It says the Village has been there since 1955.  It used to be an orphanage.  That is where the cottages come from.  For decades, the village was just open space, fields for farming, or nothing at all.  It wasn’t an orphanage anymore, and not a baseball facility yet.  In 2002, after the 2nd intifada, saftey fences went up around the Village, fences to protect, well, nothing.  But the Baptists had to do something with the land.  Let’s say you’re the Baptist Church, in Tenessee, or Kentucky, and you have this land in Israel, you have to do something with the land, but not something too disruptive, this is, after all, a quiet place, a place for people to stay for a couple weeks when they’re visiting the Holy Land.  You want to build something, but something no one will really use.  So you build a baseball field, a nice one, even, lights and all.

At the time the Baptists built the field, I don’t think they knew if anyone played baseball here.  But Peter, or Haim, or someone, heard about it, and went to see what was happening.  And it has been headquarters for the Israel Association of Baseball.

All Premier League and many Junior League games are played at the Village.  All 5 of our national teams practice there.  Our umpire training course takes place there.  We have a “clubhouse” there, one of the old orphanage cottages turned part storage, part Israel Baseball Museum, with memorabiliah from Maccabi Games past, and jerseys hanging on the walls.  We store our uniforms there, and much of our equipment.  There is no alcohol allowed on the premise.  We are asked to not swear, and, if we must, to be discreet when we change into or out of uniform by the dugouts. We use the field at Baptist Village 5 days a week.  On my phone, on my GPS, I have the location listed as “work”, it is my office, our office.  It is still the only legitimate full-sized baseball field in the country.

And so we have a partnership that was never intended to be, the Baptist Church and the Israel Association of Baseball, living in perfect harmony, taking batting practice a few kilometers from the West Bank, almost in range of a long foul ball.

On this historical 1ooth blog post, the King of Jewish Baseball would like to thank the Baptist Churh for building a baseball field where no one needed one, for whatever reason.  We’re making good use of it.

Amen.

The field at Baptist Village. Petch Tikvah, Israel.

The field at Baptist Village. Petach Tikvah, Israel.