It looked like a tactic straight out of the playbook of Eddie ‘Mind Games’ Jones, the England rugby team’s highly successful coach.
But instead of pre-match hints about the return of a devastatingly powerful scrummager, think big, furry dolls.
The day before Israel pulled off a surprise win over South Korea in the 2017 World Baseball Classic tournament, the Israeli team manager Jerry Weinstein, together with pitcher Jason Marquis and third baseman Cody Decker, hosted a rather bizarre press conference.
After Mr Weinstein’s curt reply to a question about how he rated South Korea as a team, Mr Decker was asked about the giant 5ft mascot, “Mensch on a Bench”, that was perched next to him.
“He’s a friend, he’s a team-mate, he brings a lot to the team,” said Decker.
Whatever collective delusions the Israeli team holds about the ability of a giant doll to answer questions at a press conference, he certainly did bring a lot to the team.
Israel beat South Korea, and then beat the Netherlands on Thursday to finish first in its pool in the first round.
Maybe Mensch could try his hand at pitching, too?
By the way, the T-shirt worn by Decker is trending right now. America’s Finest Apparel is selling them. Due to popularity, there’s a 1-2 week back order.