Wednesday, December 19, 2018

It was the Cinderella story of the winter. In this case Cinderella wasn’t wearing glass slippers, but baseball spikes.

Israel World Baseball Classic team, ranked 41st and made up of seven former major leaguers and 20 minor league players, heard the clock strike 12 Wednesday morning. The team lost to powerhouse Japan, losing while emerging with an impressive final record of 4-2.

Yet, they knocked off third-ranked South Korea, fourth-ranked Taiwan, ninth-ranked Netherlands and then fifth-ranked Cuba. Prior to each game, the players removed their caps for Hatikvah, revealing their matching kippot.

It is now difficult to get the kippot or the Israel baseball hats and other apparel online without running into backorders.

A life-sized Mensch on a Bench, the team mascot, sat watching the game throughout.

It didn’t matter that the team lost, because this particular group of guys got further than anyone who follows baseball ever imagined. More importantly, they created so much fun and excitement—unarguably more in the U.S. than Israel. These Boys of Winter managed to take our minds, even though briefly, off politics, weird swings in the weather and the fact that there are only just over three weeks of learning, cleaning, shopping and cooking before Pesach.

Alas, the clock struck 12 on Wednesday. But it was really fun while it lasted.

Time to get ready for the Mets and the Yankees.