THE HEBREW NATIONAL PASTIME: Clockwise from top left: Outfielder Cody Decker returns to the dugout; an Orthodox fan blows a shofar; bench coach Gabe Kapler shows off his tattoo; outfielder Joc Pederson's Team Israel glove.
"I did let my mind run a little," Shlomo Lipetz will later recall, "when Shawn told me that I'd be on Letterman. I don't see how I could've gone on air alone, but of course I would've loved it." He pauses. "I would've preferred to be on Jimmy Fallon or Conan O'Brien, though." And yet, in early October, one of the players does make national headlines: The Miami Marlins offer Adam Greenberg a one-day contract—thanks to the efforts of his online supporters—which he accepts. Mets ace R.A. Dickey, who'll go on to win the Cy Young Award, strikes him out in three swings. "It was magical," Greenberg tells ESPN. A month and a half later, while he's having dinner with Lipetz and Fish in Connecticut, the Baltimore Orioles offer Greenberg a contract with their AAA affiliate in Norfolk, Virginia. "Life," he says, "is unpredictable."
In early December, Nate Fish accepts Peter Kurz's offer of a gig: head of baseball operations for the IAB. Can he move to Tel Aviv in June? "I'll be the only paid full-time baseball employee in Israel," Fish says. "It's a start." And a good fit. Several weeks earlier, the King of Jewish Baseball, who didn't play a minute of qualifying action, took it upon himself to donate a signed team uniform to the American Jewish Historical Society in New York, then sent a mass e-mail to Team Israel: "We will live forever in infamy"—an unconscious slip—"thanks to the powerful archiving capabilities of Jews everywhere. Our team jersey will eventually hang on the wall next to Hank Greenberg's and Sandy Koufax's."
Fish signs off with unwavering faith: "Eyes on the prize, boys. We're drinkin' champagne in '16."
The King Of Jewish Baseball from Danny Dwyer.