‘Mensch on the Bench’ proving to be baseball team’s lucky mascot
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‘Mensch on the Bench’ proving to be baseball team’s lucky mascot

Israeli team through to quarter-finals after recording their third straight win at World Baseball Classic.

Andrew Sherwood is the Jewish News Sport and Community Editor

Team Israel's lucky mascot, their 'Mensch on the bench'. Picture: World Baseball Classic
Team Israel's lucky mascot, their 'Mensch on the bench'. Picture: World Baseball Classic

Team Israel completed a clean sweep of wins in Pool A on Thursday morning after they beat the Netherlands 4-2 to top their group.

Their three wins to date have all been watched under the watchful eye of their ‘Mensch on the Bench’ mascot, who has been with them since their qualifying matches, which took place in New York last year.

Brought to the team by infielder Cody Decker, the 5ft mascot has been a big hit in South Korea and with pictures of him wearing a t-shirt making the rounds on social media, he’s also been involved with generating the hashtag #JewCrew.

Manager Jerry Weinstein is also happy to have him on board, saying: “He’s on the team, everybody brings something to the team and certainly The Mensch is a unifying factor for the ball club.”

Making their debut in the World Baseball Classic, Thursday’s win followed on from their opening two wins, against hosts South Korea and then Chinese Taipei, before defeating the Dutch at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul.

Speaking after their latest win, Weinstein said: “The only unknown was the caliber of the competition, we never doubted our ability. Our strengths are that we are a well-balanced team. We can pitch and have pitching depth; we have team speed, team power and can catch the ball. We’re a very close knit group.”

Israel’s next match will be the opening game of the second round, when they take on the second-place team in Pool B, on Saturday in Tokyo.

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