MLB All-Star and Olympian Ian Kinsler to Manage Team Israel at 2023 World Baseball Classic
NEW YORK, N.Y., June 29, 2022 — Israeli Olympian, 2017 World Baseball Classic champion, and Major League Baseball star athlete Ian Kinsler, has been named the manager of Team Israel for the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC).
Kinsler, who received his Israeli citizenship in early 2020, will be kicking off his managerial career with the athletes in blue-and-white, some of whom were his teammates at the 2020 Olympic Games (played in 2021) in Tokyo. A four-time Major League Baseball All-Star and 2018 World Series champion, Kinsler played 14 seasons in the Major Leagues with the Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Angels, Boston Red Sox, and the San Diego Padres.
“I was very excited when I was asked to manage Team Israel at the WBC and it didn’t take long for me to accept the position,” said Kinsler. “I enjoyed my time playing in the tournament and now that I know Israel Baseball well from my time in the Olympics, I am convinced that we will have a very competitive squad that will go far. I can’t wait to visit Israel this summer and see the young talent that will be on display at the Maccabiah Games. We are already hard at work putting together a winner roster for Israel at the WBC and I look forward to making all of our fans proud.”
Kinsler will visit Israel in the coming weeks with his family to attend the Maccabiah Games in July. He has been chosen as one of the five torchbearers at the opening ceremonies in Jerusalem on July 14 and will conduct baseball clinics for all the Maccabiah baseball players at the Ezra Schwartz Ballpark in Ra’anana the following week. Kinsler will also throw out the opening pitch at one of the Maccabiah baseball games and meet with the media to discuss his plans for Team Israel at the WBC.
“Having Ian Kinsler as our manager provides us with a huge catalyst for recruiting top MLB players, as well as a manager who has a truly analytical approach to the game,” said Jordy Alter, the President of the Israel Association of Baseball. “Ian’s leadership of our Olympic team was crucial to our play in that competition and convincing him to now take on the managerial reigns is a further step in the development of the Israel Baseball program, following our second-place finish at the 2021 European championships.”
Kinsler brings with him WBC experience as a player. He was the starting second baseman and the leadoff hitter for Team USA at the 2017 edition when it won the gold medal. Kinsler is also one of 12 players in MLB history to have recorded at least 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in the same season twice during his career. He retired with the most stolen bases (243), second-most hits (1,999) and doubles (416), and fourth-most home runs (257) and RBIs (909) among Jewish players in MLB history.
“We are excited about the IAB’s appointment of Ian Kinsler as manager for the 2023 WBC and we are looking forward to seeing the team thrive under his leadership,” added Jewish National Fund-USA Executive Director in Greater Los Angeles, Louis Rosenberg, who heads up Jewish National Fund-USA’s Project Baseball initiative which provided financial support for Team Israel’s journey to the Olympics and is continuing to raise millions of dollars in the coming years to build a state-of-the-art multi-purpose field in Bet Shemesh.
Kinsler will be the third person to manage Team Israel at the WBC. Brad Ausmus led the team at the 2012 WBC qualifiers and Jerry Weinstein guided Israel through the qualifiers in 2016 to a sixth-place finish at the final event in 2017.
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About Jewish National Fund-USA
JNF-USA is the leading philanthropic organization for Israel that supports critical environmental and nation-building activities in Israel’s north and south. Through its One Billion Dollar Roadmap for the Next Decade, JNF-USA is developing new communities in the Galilee and Negev, connecting the next generation to Israel, and creating infrastructure and programs that support ecology, individuals with special needs, and heritage site preservation. Through its Project Baseball initiative, Jewish National Fund-USA is investing in the future of baseball and softball in Israel. The organization provided financial support for Team Israel’s journey to the Olympics and is continuing to raise millions of dollars in the coming years to build a state-of-the-art multi-purpose field in Bet Shemesh. Learn more at jnf.org.
About Israel Baseball
The Israel Association of Baseball (IAB) was founded in 1986 and has overseen the growth of the sport in the country ever since, culminating with Team Israel’s historic appearance at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo and a silver medal at the 2021 European Championships. The IAB is a member of The Olympic Committee of Israel, The Confederation of European Baseball (CEB), the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), Major League Baseball International (MLBI), and Little League. As part of the expansion of baseball activities in Israel, the IAB is building new fields in partnership with Jewish National Fund-USA and looks forward to the completion of the new Bet Shemesh complex, which will host international tournaments. The Ezra Schwartz Ballpark in Ra'anana was completed in the spring of 2022. There are also plans to expand the Sportek Tel Aviv field and to add lighting. For further information, please contact the General Manager, Peter Kurz, at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit baseball.org.il.