For the first time in the Israeli Baseball history, Israel will be participating in the World Baseball Classic after qualifying for the main tournament.
As part of the special coverage from the Sports Rabbi, we did a short interview with Team Israel player, Corey Baker.
Corey Baker is currently a pitcher in the St. Louis Cardinals farm system. Last season he was a AAA starting pitcher and this year he will be looking to make his MLB debut. He pitched for Team Israel in the Qualifiers with 5 shutout innings against Brazil.
Baker was born and raised in New York, grew up going to Hebrew school and had a Bar Mitzvah. His picture from his Bar Mitzvah was sent to Team Israel as eligibility evidence for his qualification for Team Israel.
S.R: What does it mean to you to be representing Israel on the international stage?
C.B: Representing Israel on an international stage is a huge honor and something I am taking a lot of pride in. Having been to Israel twice over the past few years I feel a connection with the country and people, and it makes it that much more special to be able to represent them.
S.R: What is your connection to Israel & Judaism?
C.B: My connection comes from being raised Jewish and having a Bar Mitzvah. Once I got the opportunity to visit Israel the connection was instant.
S.R: Why is the World Baseball Classic an important part of your life and career?
C.B: This is important for my life and career because of what a unique opportunity it is. There really is such a small amount of people who get to participate in the WBC, and I just feel fortunate that I am able to be one of them. For my career, it will be good to compete against extremely talented players from all around the world who have different skill sets that I might see over here.
S.R: How do feel about Israel’s chances in World Baseball Classic? What are your expectations for yourself personally to grow through this experience?
C.B: Our expectations are to go over there and compete as a team, have fun and ultimately advance. It will be a great experience that I think we all have to take in one game at a time and not get ahead of ourselves, but as a competitor you go over there expecting to win.
The Sports Rabbi will have special coverage throughout Israel’s participation in the World Baseball Classic. Keep tuning into the Sports Rabbi to stay up to date with our Zionist stars!