Saturday, March 11, 2017

Mensches Beat Cuba! (Updated)

Michael Lumish

{Also published at the Elder of Ziyon and Jews Down Under}.

Team Israel Manager, Jerry Weinstein
I am flabbergasted.

They did it again!

The Mensches have taken four wins straight during the tournament, thus far, after winning three in a row in the qualifying matches last September.

Team Israel, a 200 to 1 underdog to actually win the World Baseball Classic (WBC), beat 8th-ranked Cuba yesterday after taking the Netherlands last Wednesday (4 - 2) and generally whooping ass.

The guys play under manager Jerry Weinstein who has an endearing, toothpick-chewing, Pepe the Frog quality.

{Frankly, the man scares me.}

Coming into the qualifying rounds, Israel ranked a lowly 41st among WBC participating teams but went undefeated and beat Great Britain twice to qualify for tournament play. The only thing that could have made it better would have been the opportunity to beat Great Britain a third time.

If Brazil had not crushed Pakistan (10 - 0) in the preliminaries then we would have seen Team Israel versus Team Pakistan in the semifinals.

Sadly, it was not to be.

Pakistan is the only Muslim country with representation at the WBC. Unless we are pleasantly surprised, do not expect to see any other Arab or Muslim country so much as apply for the qualifying rounds for 2021. The Middle East is a baseball-benighted land and we are all the poorer for it.

The sad truth, of course, is that only Jewish Americans truly understand the game of baseball on its purest, Kabbalistic level.

Famous Jewish actor and comic Billy Crystal insists that as a child sitting in the old Yankee Stadium he saw Mickey Mantle hit a baseball so hard and high that it went up into the clouds... and simply never returned... or, at least, that is my recollection of his recollection from the Ken Burns miniseries Baseball.

I have little doubt, however, that Mantle's baseball - lo, these many decades later - is still circling the Earth and gravity will eventually erode its orbit and deliver it to precisely the spot where the House that Ruth Built once stood.

{Will wonders never cease?}

Gocheok Skydome, Seoul
Since coming into Seoul's futuristic Gochoek Skydome in Round 1 of the tournament, Israel has been unstoppable against clubs considered far better than the mensches on the benches.

They have not lost a single game.

This is pretty amazing for an outfit that was not even expected to make the tournament when they showed up in Brooklyn's MCU Park last September for the qualifying matches.

"The Jew Crew"

Part of what I love about all of this (win or no win) is that Team Israel truly is an underdog. Many of the guys - who sometimes wear t-shirts reading "Jew Crew" - have big league experience, but unlike other teams none of them are currently playing in the bigs.

The United States, ranked number 2 behind last year's winner, the Dominican Republic, has World Series veteran, and All-Star player, Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants behind the plate.

The Mensch in his Cosmic Goodness
None of them, however, aside from Team Israel, have the cosmic assistance of the "mensch on the bench"... and that makes all the difference.

Furthermore, anyone who knows anything about baseball and American Jews knows that, as Forrest Gump might put it, we go together like peas and carrots.

Throughout the twentieth-century baseball represented one of the key methods wherein first-generation Jewish boys assimilated into American culture by involving themselves in street-lot baseball games from the Bronx to the Golden Gate.

Without baseball - and its attendant character-building baseball brawls - the Jewish-American experience would have been something very different.

This will come in handy because, as Elli Wohlgelernter quips in the Jerusalem Post, "They will have a tough battle in the next round, when they face Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq simultaneously."


Oh, and by the way, why must Ha'aretz suck as badly as it does?

It has two articles attached to their rather flat description of yesterday's defeat of Cuba and both just drip with irrationally mean-spirited condescension.

Simon Spungin, At World Baseball Classic, I'm Rooting for 'Team Nice Jewish Boys'

And Chemi Shalev, Why Stop at Baseball? Israel Should Also Recruit Scarlett Johansson, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Bernie Sanders

In both they seek to delegitimize the Mensches.

What a bunch of schmucks.

Israel doesn't have a single player currently playing in the majors, while other teams do, yet they call the Mensches "ringers."

For chrissake, these guys are just trying to promote the sport and either revive their careers or make a final bow, yet Ha'aretz feels a need to shit all over them.

Y'know, I didn't think much of Ha'aretz before, but now I just see them as vile.


  1. Will we be hearing from anti-Israel groups about how the Jews are occupying 2nd and 3rd and stealing bases?

  2. Haaretz is the paper that leftish American news outlets such as NYT try to portray as Israel's "paper of record," even though it is not mainstream and its circulation is ridiculously small. It's almost like calling Mother Jones America's paper of record.

  3. fitting they beat Cuba, one of the commie nations that was at the forefront to delegit them.

    1. What would the world be like today if Castro had been a better ballplayer?

  4. I didn't want to sign up for even 6 free premium articles. But I got the gist. I would say to Haaretz that American Jews have already come and died defending Israel. In this case, the rules are those of the WBC. Put a sock in it.

    1. Jeff, if you use "incognito window" on your browser you should be able to get the articles without signing up. Google it if you have any questions, but just don't tell anybody. Shhhh...