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The Schmooze

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.

  1. Japan
  2. USA – Despite inventing the game, has never placed higher than fourth at a WBC.
  3. South Korea – Israel’s first victim.
  4. Chinese Taipei – Israel’s second victim.
  5. Cuba
  6. Mexico
  7. Venezuela
  8. Canada
  9. Netherlands – Israel plays the Dutch on Wednesday.
  10. Australia
  11. Italy
  12. Puerto Rico
  13. Dominican Republic
  14. Czech Republic
  15. Panama
  16. Nicaragua
  17. Brazil
  18. China
  19. Colombia
  20. Germany
  21. Spain
  22. Argentina
  23. Russia
  24. Pakistan
  25. France
  26. New Zealand
  27. Hong Kong – Not actually a country.
  28. South Africa
  29. Great Britain – the national British baseball team’s homepage includes this desperate plea for donations:
  30. Belgium
  31. Austria
  32. 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?”
  33. Croatia
  34. Philippines
  35. Thailand – Former All Star Johnny Damon’s mother is Thai. He may be singlehandedly responsible for this ranking.
  36. Guatemala
  37. Lithuania
  38. Slovakia
  39. Ukraine – We are guessing that nobody has fact checked the Ukrainian national team’s Wikipedia page.
  40. Poland

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.

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