Rabbi Zev Icyk: Baseball's Chosen One?
The Rabbinical College of America student and lifelong Toronto Blue Jays fan hopes that organization thinks so when they finally decide who to hire as their next manager.
Is Rabbi Zev Icyk the chosen one?
If the Rabbinical College of America student and current Morris Township resident can get an audience with the brass of the Toronto Blue Jays, the 25-year-old Canadian native says that answer is undoubtedly "yes."
Icyk, a rabbi who came late to religious service, has spent more of his young life following another religion, baseball.
"I played baseball since I was three-years-old," he said. "My whole drive in life was baseball. I know baseball."
And, Icyk knows his childhood team—a perrenial underperformer since the early 1990s—is once again in need of a new manager.
The rabbi's story began following an email written to the Toronto Sun newspaper last weekend. In it, Icyk wrote of his desire and belief that his is the stuff the Blue Jays need to finally return to contention after years of mediocrity and a revolving door of managers.
“The Jays would be the most aggressive and exciting team in the bigs," he wrote to the paper. "I am the only rabbi in the world with the ability to manage in the majors.”
Since that email and subsequent interview with the paper went public, a number of media outlets, inside and outside the sports world have latched onto the tale of the rabbi who would be a baseball manager.
But those who make the decisions, the Blue Jays organization, have not yet come calling.
Icyk is realistic but hopeful. Either they simply are not interested or all their attention is focused on a recent mega deal worth $170 million, which brings a number of established superstars—including former New York Mets player Jose Reyes—to the Great White North via the Miami Marlins.
While he continues his studies, and enjoys newlywed life with his bride Sara, Icyk remains confident that he simply needs one meeting to turn General Manager Alex Anthopoulos into a believer.
"There's nothing in the world I know better than baseball," he said. "I have been with so many teams, so many coaches, both good and bad. I know what it takes to be a coach. If I could get the opportunity to sit down with him and talk baseball, he would uderstand this isn't a joke. I could do the job."
It's also a pretty compelling storyline. Imagine what they would say: "We could have a young rabbi lead us to where we want to be—a world series," Icyk said.