If you've flipped through the channels on Sunday night recently and stopped by ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball you may have wondered where play by play man Dan Shulman has been.  Shulman has been replaced in the booth by Dave O'Brien the last two Sundays.  The reason for Shulman's midseason absence from the broadcast booth may be the most unique we've come across.

Dan Shulman has been in Israel competing for Canada's senior men's basketball team in the Maccabiah Games.  Here's more about the Maccabiah Games

"The Maccabiah is the world’s largest Jewish athletic competition in the tradition and values of Maccabi, emphasizing the centrality of the State of Israel in the life of the Jewish people. The Maccabiah takes place every four (4) years in Israel – "the Jewish Olympics" as they are often called, are Maccabi World Union's largest and most famous enterprise."

The 46 year old announcer is suiting up for the Canadian Masters squad for the second time after playing in Brazil in 2011.  The Jerusalem Post details how Shulman became involved with Maccabi Canada and took the floor in Israel in international competition…

"Shulman, the play-by-play voice of ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball and NCAA men’s college basketball coverage, is a well-known name in the North American sports world, even winning the US National Sportscaster of the Year in 2011. But during his stay in Israel for just under two weeks as a member of Canada’s masters(+35) male Maccabiah basketball team, he insists he is just another member of the squad.

The 46-year-old native of Thornhill, a suburb just north of Toronto, became involved with Maccabi Canada after playing on a basketball team he organized for a local JNF charity tournament a few years ago.

One of the teams they faced in the tournament included some members of Maccabi Canada, who liked what they saw in Shulman." 

Shulman's coach for the Canadian masters team is actually a colleague, ESPN college basketball analyst Digger Phelps.  Unfortunately, Shulman's time on the floor in Israel was short lived.  The play by play man tore a ligament in his foot after coming off the bench in Canada's opener against the United States.  Shulman spoke to the Post about his participation and enthusiasm in being able to compete in the games…

"I’m representing my country, representing my religion, [and] my culture. I love it,” Shulman exclaimed. “I do work in the US but… I’m Canadian. I love wearing the red and white.”  

Who knew Shulman was representing Canada basketball at an international level in Israel?  It would be great if ESPN did a feature about Shulman's time in Israel playing for Canada given it's such a unique and interesting story.  At the very least, hopefully we'll get a 1 on 1 game between Shulman and broadcast partner Dick Vitale this fall.