By Adam Harris-
CHICAGO (CBS) – Among a room full of silent auction sport pieces, and supporters in favor of raising funds for the Israeli Baseball Team, were two of the most powerful men in Chicago baseball: Cubs President Theo Epstein and White Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf.
And the crowd didn’t hold back on the duo during an open question and answer portion of the banquet at Harry Caray’s Restaurant on Kinzie,
Theo Epstein was asked about the Ryan Dempster trade rumors via the random group of fans, through Comcast’s David Kaplan.
“We haven’t officially commented on it,” Epstein said. “So…we aren’t going to start now. But he pitched a good ballgame today.”
Then a fan told the two baseball powerhouse men to work a deal for Dempster. Another fan asked Epstein why Josh Vitters isn’t playing more.
Jerry Reinsdorf was asked if Paul Konerko was a Hall of Famer, and if Mark Buehrle could come back to the White Sox via trade this year, to which Reinsdorf said no because of his contract.
The two men were there mainly to help raise money and add support for the Israeli Baseball Team looking to make the upcoming World Baseball Classic. The panel that sat in front of the fans were as follows: Theo Epstein, Jerry Reinsdorf, Gabe Kapler and Steve Stone, all of the Jewish faith.
Stone said it will take an estimated $300,000 dollars to get the Israeli Team the correct travel arrangements, uniforms, and preparations to get them into the World Baseball Classic.
Any player with a Jewish background will be allowed to play on the Israeli Team. Some current Major Leaguers will have a decision to make.
“First and foremost I will be there to support whatever decision they (Ryan Braun & Ian Kinsler) make,” Gabe Kapler (who will come out of baseball retirement to play on the Israeli team) said. In other words, “I’m not going to be pushing them in one direction or another. I have personal relationships with a few of the guys, and my goal is to have them do what’s best for them.”
The Israeli baseball team will have to qualify for the World Baseball Classic first, by winning their group which consists of France, South Africa, and Spain.
Their first game is September 19th in Jupiter, Florida.