This Team Israel Olympic Pitcher Has a Day Job Booking Talent Like John Mulaney

JTA – Before last November, Shlomo Lippetz already had his dream job.

After drinking coffee and listening to “The Daily”—the morning news podcast from the New York Times—he would then take the L train from his Brooklyn apartment and go on to his job as vice president for programming at City Winery, a music venue. . And the wine bar franchise is headquartered on the Hudson River in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood.

There he would dig straight into his email – an estimated 500-700 per day – and work on crafting some of the thousands of shows that the City Winery franchise hosts each year at its more than 10 locations across the country. He’s most recently, for example, returned to rehab for comedian John Mulaney with dozens of shows and provocateur pop star Sinead O’Connor (who immediately decided to retire from music after agreeing to concerts). Booked a cross-country tour for

But early in the fall, Lippetz added a new routine to her morning schedule: baseball workouts.

This is because he is a member of the Israeli baseball team that is being led by Tokyo Olympics.

The chill out, baritone-voiced 42-year-old also happens to be a 6-foot-4 pitcher with a mullet, best known as a pioneer in Israeli baseball since his teens in Tel Aviv.

The Israel national baseball team at a team exercise in Tel Aviv, January 14, 2020. (AP/Ariel Shalit)

“Anyone who’s been in the music business knows how tough the job is. And I feel like I’m definitely living my dream,” he said over the phone from his office last month. Living the dreams of people who want them” [weren’t] Just stuck in an office. I am capable of doing both.”

For those who are fans of both music and sports, it feels surreal – on a typical week, Lippetz chats with music industry stars and insiders, and during international competition season, she meets some of the best from around the world. Plays against athletes.

He is also popular in both worlds – Rhett Miller of the country band The Old 97s and Peter Buck of R.E.M. (who plays in a side supergroup band called baseball project) tell Lippetz that he is a frequent topic of conversation in group lessons about baseball that he has with other famous musicians. He also receives free vinyl from several of his musician friends, and in return, he occasionally gives back signed baseballs—which have been in high demand.

In Arizona, Team Israel player Ty Kelly—whose locker is usually next to Lipetz’s because their numbers are close to each other— Turned to Lippetz (and some of the team’s other Israel-born players) for an insight into the recent violent Israel-Gaza conflict that unfolded while the team was in training camp.

Keeping both gigs means a little less sleep than usual for Lippetz—and some extra coffee. His typical mornings from November to May became: coffee at 6:15 a.m., a quick stop for a change of clothes, a 90-minute workout, a 90-minute workout, a baseball facility in Pleasantville, an hour’s drive north of downtown, Then walk to the train. On some nights he will continue his workout after finishing a day’s work around 8 pm

Shlomo Lippetz pitches for Team Israel. (via Ilan Spira/JTA)

He says an intensely competitive campaign propels him through it all.

“I just kind of get into the baseball world. I don’t check my phone. I just love competing,” he said. “I mean, I’ll be up at six in the morning, having a crazy, crazy week, and someone from it Doesn’t matter – I’ll wake up early and play a baseball game, a doubleheader in, you know, 100 degree weather, just because I love it. It is a really purifying experience for me. “

Lipetz isn’t the only multitasker on the team. Wall Street Journal recently Profile Eric Brodkowitz, a Yale graduate who has been able to work remotely as an analyst for Goldman Sachs. Many of the other players are current or former US minor leaguers who have earned Israeli citizenship to represent the country and continue their professional careers. team coach Recently described squad As in “Combination of Bad News Bears and Jamaican bobsledding team”.

But despite the fact that baseball is not a popular sport in Israel, the team has a good chance of winning a medal in Tokyo. Only six teams are competing in the sport, which has not been played at the Olympics since 2008. And the way Team Israel has influenced the baseball world in recent years is a surprise. 6th out of 16 teams At the 2017 World Baseball Classic. He is currently a former Major League All-Star. are led by Ian Kinsler and Danny Valencia, a former MLB infielder with 96 career home runs.

Only four players on the final roster were born in Israel, and for them, Lippetz has been a trailblazer to watch.

He played several sports in high school in Tel Aviv, where he developed a very specific and relatively attainable dream: not to play in Major League Baseball, but to just play baseball at an American college. This was probably due to the lack of baseball infrastructure in Israel, a country heavily involved in football and basketball. During the 1990s, when Lippetz was growing up, the country scraped together enough players to play in youth tournaments in Europe.

But there was no high quality area to practice. Often, there was not even enough budget to stay in hotels in Europe during tournaments. Once he slept in the basement of a military base, where a rabbi was stationed. The second time he slept in a gym with Polish and Russian players.

Example: Youth Israelis play a baseball match between the youth teams of Modiin and Jerusalem in the Israeli city of Modin on March 10, 2017. (AFP photo/Jack Guez)

“And we just had to smell the sausages that the Russians brought,” he said. “Because they were poor, they would drive across Europe in their buses, because they had no budget to fly. And they would put these big pieces of salami in their suitcases.”

Following his mandatory Army service after high school, Lippetz achieved his dream and played for two years at San Diego Mesa College before transferring to the University of California, San Diego, where he played a single during his final two years of college. Outstanding performance as close. He was only the second Israeli to play college baseball in the United States (after Dan Rotheim, who Won Most Valuable Player Award During the first and only season of the Israel Baseball League in 2007).

When his girlfriend moved to New York City shortly after, Lippetz followed her, playing in a semi-professional league. During the day, he worked in a restaurant, but he wanted to get into the music business. He had always “submitted” music records, he said, and thought he might try working on music for films and TV shows.

He got an internship at Craig’s List at a small upstart Jewish music label called Oahu Records. The head of the label was Michael Dorf, who founded the successful Knitting Factory site in Brooklyn. In 2008, Dorf opened City Winery, which now has locations outside New York in Chicago, Boston, Nashville, Atlanta, and other locations. Lippetz was the company’s third employee.

“I really learned from the ground up. No one knew we would open in eight markets and that we would have 1,400 employees.

These days, the Israel Baseball Association, with funding from the non-profit Jewish National Fund-USA, is deeply involved in an effort to popularize the sport in the Jewish state, starting with the construction of several baseball fields. IBA President Peter Kurz, a Mets fan and American expatriate who has lived in Israel for more than three decades, wants farms being built in the central Israeli city of Beit Shemesh to host the Winter League in the near future. is – similar to those held in Latin American countries, Florida and other hot spots where professional players go to hone their skills during the MLB off-season.

Kurz thinks winning a medal in Tokyo will open Israelis’ eyes to baseball’s possibilities. This excites Lippetz, but he has some complicated feelings about his country, particularly about its government and its views on diversity.

Example: Sam Fuld of Israel (23) came back safely first as Cuban first baseman William Saavedra prepared to tag along in the seventh inning of his second-round game of the World Baseball Classic at the Tokyo Dome are, March 12, 2017. (AP photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

“I’m not a nationalist. You know, I think I’m very liberal in my views. I wish we had an Arab Israeli in our team. And I wish we had an Ethiopian Israeli in the team,” he said. For me, [Israel is] a mixed bag.

“But you’re representing a country that definitely fills me with pride, and it’s like, you know, it reminds me to be part of something that’s bigger than you,” he said. Said. “I love the country, and I am proud to represent Israel.”

He is also proud of the double life that many people dream about.

“I’m in this world where, you know, actors always want to be musicians, musicians want to be athletes, athletes always want to be something else,” he said. “So anyone in the industry, in the music industry that I work with, and musicians in particular, just absolutely love it.”

Then it was back to email.

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