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Saturday, September 22, 2007

We were plagiarized by the Chicago Tribune!

We took a lot of stick a few weeks ago after our exclusive publication of Our Man Elli in Israel's exposé of the Israel Baseball League, a day before the story was set to be published in Jewish weeklies across America and the globe. It was a case of crossed signals and time zones, but it warranted some navel-gazing and chin-stroking at place like Jim Romenesko's j-school newsmedia site (you know, the one that ignores us except when the tables are turned).

But now we've got something that grinds our gears-- and we challenge the mainstream news media to play fair with the issue!

On Monday, we posted a story and alerted Romenesko, after some schmuck (left) at the powerful Chicago Tribune lifted, ripped off and plagiarized Elli Wohlgelernter's sidebar story that we also ran exclusively on August 28th. Joel Greenberg (left) took Elli's translation of the interview with former Major Leaguer and IBL team manager Ken Holtzman, copied it for a September 16th Trib article and claimed it as his own.

What follows is the pudding in which you will find the proof:

A SAMPLE FROM ELLI'S ORIGINAL ARTICLE
POSTED AUGUST 28th ON TABLOIDBABY.COM:
In an interview on July 20 with the Israeli Web portal Walla!, Petah Tikva manager and former Major Leaguer Ken Holtzman let loose with a sweeping broadside against the Israel Baseball League, sparing no one.

He criticized the baseball fields: “They would reach the level of high schools in our country”; the teams: “Chosen at random, and in a strange manner”; the Israeli players: “There are no good Israeli players”; the other players: “According to what I can see, none of the players can reach even semi-pro baseball in the United States… the really good player would never come here”; and the Israeli fan: “There is no chance that baseball will succeed in Israel. People here relate to baseball the way people in America relate to soccer. They see it as something very boring, and it will never catch on… you can't make a big impression because there is no culture of baseball, and the facilities are the worse possible."

A season of frustration all came pouring out, and against league organizers as well.

They wanted to make the league work very very quickly,” Holtzman said. “...But they opened the league a year too soon...They should have waited.”
A SAMPLE FROM JOEL GREENBERG'S
PLAGIARIZED CHICAGO TRIBUNE ARTICLE
OF SEPTEMBER 16TH:
He was much more forthcoming in a July 20 interview with the Israeli Web portal Walla!, in which he lambasted the league and its management for what he described as a series of shortcomings.

The playing fields, he was quoted as saying, "would reach the level of high schools in our country." The teams were "chosen at random and in a strange manner." As for the players, Holtzman said, "none can reach even semipro baseball in the United States."

"There is no chance that baseball will succeed in Israel," Holtzman went on. "People here relate to baseball the way people in America relate to soccer. They see it as something very boring, and it will never catch on. You can't make a big impression because there is no culture of baseball, and the facilities are the worst possible."

Holtzman also heaped criticism on league organizers, whom he accused of rushing into the first year of play without proper preparation on the ground.

"They opened the league a year too soon," he said. "They should have waited."
And by the way, this line from Holtzman's article:
The abrupt departure was one of several glitches in the first season of the Israel Baseball League, which, while generally a success, was plagued by substandard playing fields, payment delays, shortages of some equipment and a lack of impact among native Israelis--
is a recap of Elli's main article. And though that doesn't constitute plagiarism, he sure as shit should have given Our Man credit!

We would have let all this go. But that was before-- thanks to the power of the Tribune corporation-- the Holtzman story is being replayed, repeated and rewritten-- and attributed to the plagiarist Joel Greenberg in places as far flung as AOL Sports, Sports Business Daily, The Sports King and the blogger Shysterball.

Well we say, Screw that! We've given you the evidence. A little work will reveal the extent of the wordthievery. It's time to do your jobs and call em as you see em, media umps!

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