Jewish MLB stars call on fans to support Israel
Before throwing out the first pitch at the ALCS Game 3, former Texas Ranger and Team Israel player Ian Kinsler waves to the crowd at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Oct. 18, 2023. Photo: Courtesy Texas Rangers

Kinsler, Bregman, Braun among 19 players on video

By Jacob Gurvis

(JTA) — A group of 19 current and former Jewish MLB players and coaches urged fans to stand in support of Israel and combat antisemitism in a video released Thursday by Israel’s baseball team.

Almost all of the participants — including retired All-Stars Ian Kinsler and Shawn Green and current player Garrett Stubbs — have played or coached for Team Israel. Star Alex Bregman and former National League Most Valuable Player Ryan Braun are the only players in the video who have not represented Israel.

The video begins with the message: “Following the attacks by Hamas on Oct. 7th, Jewish Major League Baseball players show their support for Israel.” It was made by longtime Team Israel coach Nate Fish.

In an edited montage, the players each say their names. The others involved include: Kevin Youkilis, Jon Moscot, Spencer Horwitz, Bubby Rossman, Ryan Lavarnway, Rob Kaminsky, Josh Zeid, Zack Gelof, Brad Ausmus, Ty Kelly, Andrew Lorraine, Zack Weiss, Jake Fishman and Danny Valencia.

“I am a Jew,” says Valencia, who hit 96 home runs over an eight-year MLB career. Many other players then repeat the line.

“For years, you have supported us on the field,” says Weiss, before Bregman completes the sentence: “But now it’s time to support all of us in standing up against antisemitism.”

From there, players repeat variations of a call to stand up against Jew hatred and to support Israel.

An array of U.S. sports teams and athletes have made statements in solidarity with Israel after Hamas’ attacks, which killed at least 1,400 Israelis.

Bregman, whose Houston Astros are currently competing in the playoffs, has not played for Team Israel — though he has represented the United States in the World Baseball Classic. Bregman drew a Star of David on his hat during the Astros’ previous playoff series and has spoken out about his Jewish identity.

Braun, who retired in 2021 after a 14-year career that included a Most Valuable Player award and a steroid scandal, has also not played for Israel. But Braun, who was often called the “Hebrew Hammer” and is the son of an Israeli father, has also said he is proud of his Jewish heritage.

Kinsler, who has played for and managed Team Israel, threw out the first pitch at Wednesday night’s playoff match between his former team, the Texas Rangers, and Bregman’s Astros — and donned his Israel jersey for the occasion.

Leave a Reply