By Scott Barancik, Editor

Israel’s entry in the World Baseball Classic qualifiers has 15 pitchers on its roster. And for tonight’s opener against Great Britain, manager Jerry Weinstein will hand the ball to the very oldest: 38-year-old Jason Marquis.

No doubt, the Staten Island native has the experience edge. A first-round pick in the 1996 amateur draft, Marquis — who was raised in a Conservative Jewish household and is the grandson of Holocaust survivors — went on to enjoy a 15-year Major League career with nine teams. Notable stats include a 124-118 career record, an All-Star nod (2009, though he didn’t play), a Silver Slugger award (for a pitcher, the man can hit), five playoffs, and a World Series (2004, with St. Louis).

Putting Marquis on the mound is not without risk. The 6’1″ right hander didn’t play in the Majors in 2014, struggled in 2015 (3-4, 6.46 ERA with the Reds), and has had limited opportunity to play since.

“Of the four teams, ours has the most experienced talent,” he told the Staten Island Advance. “But you still have to go out there and prove it.”

Tonight’s game begins at 7:00pm EST and will take place at MCU Park in New York, home of the Brooklyn Cyclones, a New York Mets farm team.

Israel’s second game takes place tomorrow (Friday, Sept. 23) at noon, with at least one more game to follow. It is competing against Great Britain, Brazil, and Pakistan to advance to the first round of the World Baseball Classic tournament in March 2017. The winner will play Chinese Taipei, Korea, and the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Seoul, South Korea.

Check out these articles about Team Israel and the WBC qualifiers:

Good Bat? Cannon Arm? Jewish? Sign Him Up! (New York Times, 9/22/2016)

Israel’s Baseball Team is Ready to Rock Coney Island — and Maybe Shock the World (Tablet, 9/21/2016)

Jason Marquis Pitching for Team Israel in WBC Qualifier Thursday (Staten Island Advance, 9/21/2016)

Missing from Israel’s Baseball Team: Israelis (Tablet, 9/20/2016)

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