Playing baseball in the Olympics for Israel is extra meaningful to Canaries’ Mitch Glasser

Canaries’ Mitch Glasser is excited and proud to be playing in the Olympics
Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 12:13 AM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -Mitch Glasser grew up in Chicago with two very prominent things in his life thanks to his late maternal grandfather Marv.

“He’s the one that made me fall in love with baseball. After family his two things were baseball and Israel!” Canaries Infielder Mitch Glasser says.

That passion would eventually turn into a nearly decade long professional baseball career.

When he came to Sioux Falls to play for the Canaries in 2019, though, Mitch was ready to for one baseball dream to end, when another came calling.

“(Canaries Manager) Mike Meyer called me into his office and said ‘hey Mitch, are you interested in being a player coach for me next year?’ And so that’s kind of where my life was going, more toward the coaching side, and starting to think about hanging up the spikes. After that season I got the call from Peter Kurs, the general manager of the Israeli team. Because I played with the World Baseball Classic team in 2016 he knew I was eligible to get citizenship.” Glasser says.

The chance to play for the Israeli national team made Mitch think not just of Marv and the paternal grandmother he never met, Ellen, whose story he owes his life to.

“Grandma on my dad’s side left Germany in 1938 right before Kristallnacht. And so she had a really incredible journey escaping Germany, going to France, and then from France getting on a boat and going to Chile. Lived in Chile for seven years before she could reunite with the rest of her family. She passed away the year before I was born. This is just one way I can honor them.” Mitch says.

After gaining citizenship in Israel, Glasser expected his career to end playing in the Olympic qualifiers in 2019.

“We weren’t supposed to win! We were the underdog! But we went on this wild run. Because we ended up winning, getting the Olympic qualifier, it extended my baseball career one more year!” Glasser says.

With the pandemic delay and a return stint in Sioux Falls this season in between, Mitch is playing on the first Israeli Olympic baseball team since 1976, honoring the grandparents whose dreams of a better life...

“She’s with me every game. All my grandparents, I think about them every game, I know they’re with me. Wearing an Israel jersey out in public, it’s not something that they were able to do in their lifetimes with experiencing anti-Semitism. It’s something that I could do. It gives me goosebumps thinking about it.” Mitch says.

Continuing to come true a generation later.

Zach Borg, Dakota News Now Sports.

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