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The Blue-and-white baseball Olympic postscripts

CM 17/08/2021


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Moments after Japan defeated the USA in the Gold Medal game, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Committee named its All-World Team comprising the outstanding players in the baseball tournament.
Understandably, nine out of 13 players recognized for their excellence came from the two top teams – most with MLB credentials.
Israel’s hard-hitting right-fielder Mitch Glasser was the lone Israeli player deservedly selected to this elite group. Glasser, whose .412 batting average led all Israeli players, was winging his way home to Chicago when the news hit. His initial reaction, in an exclusive interview with The Jerusalem Post, was typically modest, giving credit to his teammates and coaches:

“So many good people helped make it happen from my preparation for the games [during our training camp in the USA] to being in Tokyo. That’s not to mention all the support when we were there. I will forever remember the Olympics as the ultimate cap to my career; it’s the relationships with my teammates on Team Israel that will last a lifetime.”

Israel Baseball’s 'Field of Dreams' ahead of summer Olympics. (credit: ISRAEL BASEBALL ASSOCIATION)Israel Baseball’s ‘Field of Dreams’ ahead of summer Olympics. (credit: ISRAEL BASEBALL ASSOCIATION)
Glasser grew up in a strong Jewish home attending Anshe Emet Day School in Chicago before playing college ball at Macalester College, a Division-3 school in St. Paul, Minnesota. After being drafted by the White Sox, his minor league path took him to far-flung places like Joplin, Missouri, and had him playing off-season ball in Australia.
A TURNING point in his career came after he decided to work as a video coach rather than a player for the White Sox farm team in Kannapolis, North Carolina.  His boss, Pete Rose Jr., son of the 17-time National League All-Star and baseball’s all-time hits leader, told Glasser to “get out of the front office and back into uniform.”
Unlike several of his more acclaimed Israeli teammates, like former major leaguers Ian Kinsler, Ryan Lavarnway and Danny Valencia (who also stood out at the Olympics, leading all hitters in HRs and RBIs) Glasser’s career resembles the hard-knocks life of a minor league player depicted in the classic baseball film Bull Durham.
Surreally, less than 36 hours after departing Japan, the 31-year-old Glasser was speaking with the Post during a nine-hour bus ride between games, playing for the Sioux Falls Canaries.
More than just hitting for average, Glasser consistently proved his ability to get the big knocks at clutch moments. His two-out, two-RBI single was the key hit in the rally that gave Israel its historic 12-5 victory over Mexico. Two days later, Mitch came through again with two outs, lining a two-run double that helped Israel come from behind against the Dominican Republic – a lead Israel, unfortunately, couldn’t hold.
Team Israel general manager Peter Kurz told the Post: “Mitch hits the ball hard every time up. I hope we can get Mitch’s bat back in the lineup” for the upcoming European Championships, scheduled next month in Torino, Italy.
IN OTHER developments, blue-and-white manager Eric Holtz, who led Israel over the last four years of its Olympic journey, announced he was resigning last week.
“I have a life, a job and a family to return to,” said the bench boss who led Israel to Cinderella finishes in four consecutive tournaments over four months in 2019, which enabled Israel to qualify for the Olympics.
“I’m incredibly proud of these guys,” he told the Post while still in Japan. “Some have earned millions and some barely make a living playing baseball. But they all share the love of their country, the love of the game and their devotion to their teammates. The only name that counts is the letters sewn onto each player’s chest (‘ISRAEL’) not the ones that spell an individual’s name on the back of his uniform.”
“Holtzy,” as he’s known to his coaches and players, has been involved in Israeli baseball since playing for the short-lived Israel Baseball League in 2007. He is known for his baseball acumen as well as for his fiery temperament.
“But at the Olympics, it was important to stay cool and maintain an even keel. It was gratifying to see the way everyone showed up ready to play despite tremendous adversity,” he said.
“If you would have told me we would be only three outs away from reaching the medal round – after losing our top pitcher to injury after only nine pitches in our first game – I’d say you’re nuts! But we did exactly that. And when’s the last time any Israeli team won a game of any sort? And doing it with our backs to the wall, like we did against Mexico? Our men showed real character!”
Holtz knows he’ll be back in Israel and wants to continue to help build baseball in the Holy Land.  He also has a personal stake in the game: his son Brett is currently playing for the Ostrava Czech team, where he’s the league’s third-leading hitter. Holtz hopes to see his son make aliyah at some point and play for Israel.
FINALLY, as mentioned above, Israel lost its ace, former Cincinnati Reds fireballer Jon Moscot to a career-ending injury in its Olympic opener. Moscot, who’d worked his way back to top form after two years of rehab, blew his elbow out throwing a 90-plus mph fastball. His teammates tried to console Moscot, saying he should return home a week early to be with his wife, who was due to give birth any day. Jon chose instead to stand by his comrades, rooting them on in their battles.
The baby rewarded his dad’s devotion to teammates and mirrored his father’s ability to go the distance, lasting for five days of “extra innings” past his due date. The team sent a hearty Mazal Tov to Jon and Natalie Moscot on the birth last week of little Liam Moscot.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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CM

The host of Coffee Mouth Scare Crow Show and CEO of 452 Impact, Inc. Here is food for thought. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." John 3:16 "For God so love ed the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall be saved."

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