Here Are The 40 Countries Ranked Higher At Baseball Than The 2-0 Team Israel
Despite being the consensus underdogs heading into the World Baseball Classic, Team Israel is 2-0 and stands on the cusp of qualifying for the second round of tournament play. The unheralded collection of Jewish athletes has defeated the No. 3 (South Korea) and No. 4 (Japan) teams in the world, and face the Netherlands on Wednesday for a chance to win Pool A.
Israel is ranked 41st internationally by the World Baseball Softball Confederation rankings. No other country at the tournament is lower than 19th.
In honor of their achievement, we present a partially-annotated list of the 40 teams that somehow are ranked higher than Israel.
- USA – Despite inventing the game, has never placed higher than fourth at a WBC.
- South Korea – Israel’s first victim.
- Chinese Taipei – Israel’s second victim.
- Netherlands - Israel plays the Dutch on Wednesday.
- Puerto Rico
- Dominican Republic
- Czech Republic
- New Zealand
- Hong Kong – Not actually a country.
- South Africa
- Great Britain - the national British baseball team’s homepage includes this desperate plea for donations:
- Sweden - The Swedish Baseball and Softball Federation’s website opens with this gem: “To understand Swedish baseball requires an appreciation for a culture that emphasizes an active outdoor life. How else could you rationalize playing baseball 200 kilometers from the Artic [sic] Circle?”
- Thailand – Former All Star Johnny Damon’s mother is Thai. He may be singlehandedly responsible for this ranking.
- Ukraine – We are guessing that nobody has fact checked the Ukrainian national team’s Wikipedia page.
There are only 72 countries that have even a single point in the WBSC (Nepal is ranked 72nd). Fifty-one other teams are tied at NR.