1999-2010

Monday, November 26, 2007

EXCLUSIVE: BARAS HAS BALLS! (and bats!) DESPITE SCANDAL, ISRAEL BASEBALL LEAGUE ANNOUNCES 2008 SEASON!

Israel baseball fans, rejoice! Despite the scandals and lawsuits, complaints and debts, resignations and rebellion, the Israel Baseball League claims to be ready for 2008 with a full schedule and a new team!

Three months of radio silence on the IBL website was broken with a bang with two explosive stories: The announcement of a schedule for a second season in 2008, and the arrival of professional baseball in Jerusalem. The Petach Tikva franchise is moving and will be renamed the Jerusalem Lions.

Embattled IBL founder Larry Baras is not quoted in either story. But president Martin Berger leads the way. No comment yet from the rebels who announced the formation of the rival Israel Professional Baseball League, though the heralding of Jerusalem as a city with "hundreds of thousands of American tourists, American ex-patriates, visiting American youth groups, and American students on extended stays" does not bode well for native Israelis who claimed they were ignored by the IBl the first time around.

Our Man Elli in Israel will have an update on the historic news. Meanwhile, here are the stories from the IBL website:

2008 IBL Schedule Announced
With great excitement and anticipation, the Israel Baseball League today unveiled its 2008 baseball schedule. This will be the second full season for the IBL. Features include each of the six teams playing a 40-game schedule, culminating in a Championship Series at the end of August.

Opening Day has been set for Sunday, June 22nd, with two exciting games taking place. At Gezer Field, the IBL Champion Bet Shemesh Blue Sox will be playing host to its arch rival, the Modi’in Miracle. And at the Baptist Village, a future rivalry will be born when the Tel Aviv Lightning takes on the new Jerusalem Lions. Both games are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.

“This is a well-balanced schedule, with teams having more off-days than last year in order to recharge their batteries in a very challenging hot climate,” said league president Martin I. Berger in announcing the schedule. “There will, however, be a baseball game played every night at both the Baptist Village and Gezer Field, the two baseball venues in which the IBL will play next season,” Berger continued. “Right now, we are assuming that our regular season night games will begin at 7 p.m. at both venues, as we are working with the Jewish National Fund to upgrade the field in Gezer with renovations that will include improved lighting for night games.” As was the case last year, no games will be played on Friday nights and Saturdays.

Tickets for next season’s games are due to go on sale in December. For information, contact tickets@israelbaseballleague.com.

IBL Adds Jerusalem Franchise
for 2008 Season
Last year, we had uniforms and batting cages. We went through thousands of balls and had to quickly order an extra 50 bats as the wear and tear depleted the existing stock. “Baseball” music in both Hebrew and English resounded through all of the games. We even had resin bags brought in through customs. All of the trappings were there, in other words, but one giant omission was obvious to many fans. There was no Jerusalem team.

This is about to change for the 2008 season, as the IBL announced that it is moving the Petach Tikva franchise to Jerusalem for the coming year. The team, to be known as the Jerusalem Lions, will play its maiden season in Gezer Field, about a 25 minute drive from the center of Jerusalem. By the 2010 season, the league expects the team to have a home field in Jerusalem itself.

Jerusalem, with its hundreds of thousands of American tourists, American ex-patriates, visiting American youth groups, and American students on extended stays, has long been a hotbed of baseball activity in Israel. Over 300 participants play in local softball leagues during the summer and hundreds of players in Israel’s youth leagues hail from Israel’s capital.

“Our problem was finding a site in Jerusalem that could accommodate pro baseball requirements,” said Ami Baran, the IBL’s Director of Israeli Operations. “However, we have been working under the leadership of the Jerusalem Foundation in getting a particular parcel designated as a baseball field and it is clear that enough progress has been made on that score for us to start planning for baseball in Jerusalem,” Baran continued.

The Jerusalem Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by former mayor Teddy Kollek, raises money for cultural and recreational projects in Jerusalem. It has made the creation of a multi-purpose outdoor athletic field a priority and has already received significant financial commitments for the development of the site. In a recent meeting between representatives of the IBL and the Foundation, plans were solidified for the baseball community of Jerusalem to have a portion of the field dedicated for baseball use.

“Meanwhile,” Baran said, “the Jerusalem team will play its home games at Gezer Field. We will make arrangements for charter bus service to take interested fans to and from the games. It is only a 25-minute drive from Jerusalem to Gezer, so it makes sense for us to get the team started now,” he said. The Petach Tikva Pioneers will be moved to Jerusalem. However, baseball fans in Petach Tikva will actually experience a net gain, as the IBL plans to have three teams call the Baptist Village home field – the Netanya Tigers, the Ra’anana Express, and the Tel Aviv Lightning. The Baptist Village is located right on the border of Petach Tikva.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thats great
Have they paid their players from last year?

Anonymous said...

Thats great .
Have they paid their players from last year?

Anonymous said...

How can they spend money in 2008 when they haven't settled debts for 2007?

And why in the world are JNF's charitable dollars funding a for profit league?

Anonymous said...

I personally think that any statement about next years plans should be PRECEEDED by a statement about when all the players from last year will be paid! I know for a fact that there are players that have still not been able to cash their last $500 pay check. How can this not be managements #1 priority? After all the last game was played over 3 months ago. I would welcome a PUBLIC statement on where that process stands. Be open, be forthright, be honest. That is your responsibility.

Anonymous said...

I heard that the IBL is taking the screw you approach to bad debts ,salaries and the like.

Anonymous said...

Exactly WHO did you hear this "information" from?

Anonymous said...

I can assure you that somehow Larry Baras will get away with this and not pay vendors, players etc in full. How? They will be strung along with promises, delays and so on. He will say that the revenues from 2008 will pay for 2007 and "just be patient".

The advisors left (all of them!) because they did not want to associate themselves with this financial mess. Instead of being happy there is a second season, everyone should band together even if they were paid and demand a response to these problems. There should be a joint letter calling for explanations and an outside financial manager.

Anonymous said...

I believe you hoave said some good things but also have made some assumptions. You seem to speak with much authority and are very sure of yourself when you say

"I can assure you that somehow Larry Baras will get away with this and not pay vendors, players etc in full. How? They will be strung along with promises, delays and so on."

This is only your opinion and your "assurance" of what will happen are purely guesses.

However when you demand a response to league problems and suggest that there is a outside financial manager in charge of money issues I believe you are right on.

I also believe that 2007 expenses should be paid before 2008 expenses are paid. Sounds simple right? Also, statements should come out publically from the league to address these financial issues

Anonymous said...

I say alan gardner and Wilson and rollhause and rosen ought to sign their inflamatory posts.
THey ought to disclaim that it is all in their dumb selfish interests to keep picking the bones.

Read Holtz' article. Grow up boys.


Albert Cohen

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Cohen:
I have no idea who you are. Indeed, I do not believe we have ever met. However, I appreciate your openness in signing your post.
I had not been on this site in weeks since I saw the continued anonymity after my request that people turn this into an open dialogue rather than a series of anonymous juvenile and inappropriate attacks. When maturity failed to materialize, I chose to ignore this site because one cannot dialogue with a ghost writer in any meaningful way.
I was led back here yesterday to review what I was told were some particularly troubling posts and I saw them. The anonymous potshots and irresponsible, poorly articulated comments saddened me. I did not then nor will I ever dignify any of them with a response, anonymous or otherwise. It would be amusing if it were not so sad to see people assuming who is writing things when they are dead wrong and, still, hiding behind the anonymity of the internet.
The individuals that you accuse of posting things in your comment have no time for Tabloid Baby. They are addressing more important issues in a private and professional manner. We have no need for the unfortunate forum that this site quickly became as it furthers no meaningful purpose. Proof is in the middle school response to Leon Feingold's very thoughtful post. Whether one agrees with Leon or not, his character was undeserving of such a crass response.
I was led back to the site to see that a certain post had been removed when I came upon your post. Please don't make assumptions about anyone, particularly if you don't know them.
Everyone connected to this situation should be focused on the serious, relevant facts at hand and how they impact on the future of baseball, not anybody's emotional assertions about other people, namecalling or other attempts to divert really concerned individuals from the core factual issues.
To do otherwise does a disservice to the hardworking people who are totally entitled to rely on contracts and material representations made to them that led to baseball being played in Israel in '07.
Please do a little more homework and do not make any assumptions. And anyone who wishes to have a meaningful dialogue with me has or can obtain my email. It's a lot less noisy that way.
Alan Gardner

Alan said...

See, I even forgot how to put up a post. That was supposed to go up under my name at the top, too. this site is old and I'm done with it.
Alan Gardner

Anonymous said...

hey did you all hear the news!!

Alan Gardner supposedly has had a fight with Rollhaus and Jeffrosen has backed off from the IPBL

well iguess that's that!!