andre_sternberg.jpgDo you know where there is a source for Baseball in the Torah? It’s in the very first sentence of Breishis/Genesis: In the big inning….

The first ever professional baseball league in Israeli history got off to start this weekend with nearly 4000 fans watching the Petach Tikva Pioneers get clobbered by the Modi’in Miracles.
Albeit quite corny names, the baseball was real enough.

The Israel Baseball League has six teams, made up of players from around the world.

Perhaps my favorite footnote to this: no one had created a lexicon for baseball in Hebrew for the announcers to use. There is no way to say the common expressions that make baseball, well, baseball. Not yet.

Puzzled broadcasters calling the first professional baseball game in Israeli history struggled with rendering baseball lingo into the holy tongue of Hebrew.

After a valiant effort at translating some of the terms, they gave up _ lacing their broadcast with Hebrew-accented versions of ball, strike, out, majors, pitcher and base hit….

“How do you say ‘home plate?'” asked one of the announcers on the cable sports channel, which carried the game live. No one came up with an answer.

Will Israelis tune in for the slow paced game of baseball? The league is hoping for a miracle, maybe even praying for one.

Pictured: Andre Sternberg, a native of Berkeley, California, who recorded the first win in IBL history.

About the author

Rabbi Yonah


  • Nice story, but the IBL website actually has a little English-Hebrew baseball dictionary:
    (Being an olah from a part of the world where soccer and cricket are more of an item than baseball, I might not be the right person to judge the quality of the glossary.)
    Maybe the IBA could have it printed to hand out copies to the broadcasters?

  • I heard about the game on the local news channel here. I’m glad they are playing baseball – and I”m assuming having fun. I did find it amusing that the announcers had difficulty translating the game.

    For me, not only would I love to learn more Hebrew – but also the baseball words i Hebrew.

  • Rabbi, baseball is the most intellectual of games this side of chess, so I suspect Israelis will take to it. If soccer is big over there (ah, those nil-nil matches!), baseball will do just fine, given time.