The Israeli national baseball team is several months away from the most significant tournament in its history: the November qualifier in Jupiter, Fla., at which a bid to the 2013 World Baseball Classic will be at stake. And Israel stands an excellent chance of emerging from a four-team field that includes France, South Africa and Spain.
The biggest reason: Team Israel could include a number of established major leaguers.
Israeli baseball officials are in the midst of perhaps the most intriguing roster selection process of any WBC nation. Israeli citizens who played baseball while growing up in the country certainly will account for a substantial portion of the roster. But other players will be Americans who meet the qualifications for Israel's Law of Return - that is, having at least one Jewish grandparent or being married to someone with at least one Jewish grandparent.
While the roster is in its formative stages, Team Israel is assured of having recognizable faces in the dugout...