Three years ago, Adam Gladstone played a crucial role in helping Team Israel prepare for and work its way to a surprising sixth-place finish in the World Baseball Classic.
Now, the Mount Washington resident is lending a hand to the Jewish state once again as Team Israel prepares for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo this late July and early August.
A Baltimore native, Gladstone first hooked up with Team Israel after reading a Sports Illustrated article about the team in 2012. Considering his many years working in professional baseball, Gladstone reached out to Peter Kurz, president of the Israel Association of Baseball and general manager of Team Israel. Kurz took him on, and since then Gladstone has handled baseball operations for Team Israel.
He took care of that job during Team Israel’s success in the WBC in 2017, even working in the dugout in uniform during games and charting offensive statistics while the team was playing in places like Seoul and Tokyo.
Kurz contacted Gladstone again a few months ago, and now he is putting together a training camp and exhibition schedule for the team as it prepares for the Olympics. The training camp and practice games are going to be held in July in the mid-Atlantic region between New York, New England and Maryland.
But this time, due to limited space at the Olympics in Japan — and the fact that he is married with two children in school – Gladstone, 47, said he will stay home in Baltimore and keep track of what Team Israel accomplishes this summer.
“I can do everything I need to to get this team ready to go compete and let them go do their thing,” said Gladstone. “I’ll enjoy watching it from afar.”
The work keeps him busy, he said, often reconnecting him with old baseball contacts since Gladstone has been working in the game for about two decades. He has worked at the minor league level as an umpire and executive, and even spent a year overseeing the Orioles’ instant replay process — when they won the American League East in 2014 — before moving back to different work.
Gladstone now spends a few hours a day working on Team Israel and the Olympics. He works on other projects as well, like the Under Armour distribution company he owns called AG18, plus helping with a group that markets and promotes Royal Farms Arena.
Gladstone will work on various details for Team Israel, since the WBC features different rules than the Olympics. With the former, the rules stipulate that a player must either be Jewish, have a parent or grandparent who is Jewish, or has become a bar mitzvah to represent Israel. Major League Baseball and its Players Association run the WBC.
But with the Olympics, to be a part of Team Israel, a player must have Israeli citizenship. So Kurz worked on bringing players to Israel and helping them obtain citizenship.
Kurz realized that once the team qualified for the Olympics a few months ago, there would be a lot more work on the field, so he called on Gladstone for his help once more.
“Peter realized that, operationally, things were going to be tenfold [of what] things were going to be in the WBC,” Gladstone said.
Now, Gladstone is working on the project as they put together a team to play in the Olympics. Then, he will work on the 2021 WBC. Team Israel will not need to go through the qualifying round for that competition since it finished sixth last time.
That was an experience that Gladstone said he will never forget. “For us, it was [just] baseball,” Gladstone said. “We had a really good advance scouting team that really worked their butts off to put our club in the best position to be successful.”
Now, he’s hoping for similar success for Team Israel in the Olympics.
Jeff Seidel is a Baltimore-based freelance writer.
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