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Baseball Olympic Games 2020 - Official Payoff

WBSC Podcast: Former MLB All-Star, World Baseball Classic winner Ian Kinsler ready to inspire new generation of Israel players with Olympic medal

WBSC Podcast: Former MLB All-Star, World Baseball Classic winner Ian Kinsler ready to inspire new generation of Israel players with Olympic medal
09/04/2021
The 38-year old gold glove second baseman features on the first episode of the new WBSC Podcast - The Global Game.

Former Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star Ian Kinsler hopes to inspire a new generation of Israel baseball players by helping the Israel National Baseball Team to an Olympic medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in July.

Speaking on the first edition of the WBSC podcast - The Global Game – Kinsler, said he was inspired by what he has seen with the youth baseball movement in Israel and is looking forward to giving them some more heroes come game time in Tokyo.

“When I see what they’re doing for the youth movement and what they’re trying to accomplish and the love for the sport, each time you have the chance to grow something that you love, you try to do everything you can.

“Hopefully we have a good showing at the Olympic Games, hopefully we play well, hopefully we medal and bring some awareness to Israel and the country and itself with baseball and push the youth baseball movement. They’re in the middle of building a field in the middle of Tel Aviv, once they can do that, have lights in the middle of the city and people can gravitate towards that to see what’s happening, hand in hand with a good showing at the Olympics, hopefully we can grow the game there.”

Kinsler had a stellar 13-year MLB career with four different organizations (Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Angels, Boston Red Sox and San Diego Padres). He appeared in four All-Star Games, won two gold gloves as a second baseman and helped the Boston Red Sox win the 2018 World Series.

Thirty-eight-year-old Kinsler, who retired after the 2019 season, had his first experience in international baseball as the starting second baseman for World Champion USA at the World Baseball Classic 2017. During the tournament, which USA won and Israel finished sixth, Kinsler said he watched most of the Israeli National Team's games. "They were so exciting to watch. They played with great energy...and they won some huge games."

Speaking to The Global Game host Tyler Maun, Kinsler explained he later committed to representing Israel in the Tokyo Olympics after getting a call from the Israel National Baseball Team general manager Peter Kurz “asking me if I'd be interested, and I was 100% interested."

"To represent Team USA is definitely an honour -- it's where I grew up. To represent your heritage, your lineage...part of what makes you who you are...to represent that is just different. It's a big honour also."

Israel, the world No. 18 baseball programme as per the WBSC World Rankings, had to follow a long path to earn a historic Olympic spot. They emerged from the 2019 European Championship to qualify for the Europe/Africa Olympic qualifier the same year, where they finished ahead of the Netherlands having suffered just one loss, against the Czech Republic.

Israel International Baseball History
While Israel has never played in a baseball World Cup they have appeared in the World Baseball Classic twice, being eliminated by Spain during qualifiers in 2013 and defeating Great Britain and Brazil and making it to the 16-team main tournament in 2017.

During 2017 group play they surprisingly defeated Korea, the Netherlands and Chinese Taipei and made it to the second round. They beat Cuba, but were eliminated after losing against the Netherlands and Japan. Since 2013, the World Baseball Classic champion is recognized by the WBSC as the Baseball World Champion.

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