Team Israel clobbers Taiwan, continues run as World Baseball Classic’s darling



The Mensch on a Bench (pictured here), a popular plush Hanukkah toy, has now become Team Israel's mascot at the World Baseball Classic. Credit: Courtesy of Mensch on a Bench.

( Team Israel continued its run as the darling of the World Baseball Classic (WBC) Tuesday, earning a convincing 15-7 victory over Taiwan to improve its record to 2-0 in the international tournament.

Nate Freiman’s three-run homer in the top of the ninth inning punctuated Israel’s latest win, which followed Monday’s 2-1 victory over host nation South Korea. 

All the while, the Israeli team has garnered significant attention from major mainstream media outlets. ESPN ran a feature article dubbing Israel’s the “Jamaican bobsled team of the WBC,” given its current underdog story. The New York Times ran with the headline, “With Mirth and a Mensch, Israel Upsets South Korea in WBC,” referring to the team’s mascot, the popular plush Hanukkah toy Mensch on a Bench.

Israel is competing in the baseball tournament’s Pool A, whose other members are South Korea, Taiwan and the Netherlands. Most of the baseball players representing Israel are Jewish Americans, with only two members of the team possessing Israeli passports. According to WBC rules, players can compete for any country in which they are eligible for citizenship. Under Israeli law, all Jews receive automatic citizenship. 

Posted on March 7, 2017 .