Friday, November 16, 2007

Israel Baseball League fallout: Apocalypse, nu?

Neither the shameful indictment of Barry Bonds nor the suprising dealings with Alex Rodriguez overshadow the historic sad news of the possible demise of the Israel Baseball League after a single, trouble-plagued season.

In the cockpits of Israeli F-15 fighters over Syria, in the libraries of the Tel Aviv School of Jewish Studies, at The Yemenite House on Smilansky Street in the Old City of BeerSheva, and of course, on playgrounds and in schoolyards wherever a yarmulke can be spotted, adults and children alike are shaking their heads about yesterday's shock resignations by commissioner Daniel Kurtzer and nine IBL advisory board members in reaction to the scandalous financial allegations raised against IBL's Boston-based founder Larry Baras.

A Google search finds that the mainstream news media is slow to pick up on this momentous story. But on what they call the blogosphere," where millions have come to get their news first and unfiltered, the story continues to spread. Controversial convert Luke Ford trumpets the fact that the entire post-season IBL scandal unfolded here on Tabloidbaby.com, following the exlcusive publication of a clear-eyed expose of the IBL's first season foibles, written by Our Man Elli in Israel.

But perhaps most poignant is the simple posting on bIBLemetrics, the comprehensive stat site dedicated to the IBL, and whose very name reveals the hopes and significance attached to the IBL venture:

The beginning of the end?
Looks unlikely that the IBL can recover from this. A shame it should come to this due to organizational incompetence. Professional baseball in Israel never really had a chance, and it may now be a long time before someone tries again.

I'll keep working on the stats, because I enjoy it. But I'd rather have a season to look forward to.
The news of the resignations came this week, after we'd revealed exclusively the details of a lawsuit against Larry Baras that alleged that he had used money that investors had handed over for the development of a creamcheese-filled bagel (seriously) for the start up and operation of his league, and two days after we urged mainstream sports reporters to take over the investigation.

Too late. What Israelis and Jews around the world are already calling "Black Thursday" arrived before the bigtime journalists could put their paid teams of investigators on the story. Now, they will. And it will be very telling to see which journalists and news organizations tell the whole story behind the story, and whether they will admit that the entire saga played out for eleven weeks on an independent Internet newssite called "Tabloid Baby," and that the IBL board members had to read the truth on this very same site.

IBL president Martin Berger of Miami promises a second season will go on. But no word from macher Baras. His last message posted on the Israel Baseball League site is dated August 31st.


Barry Bonds said...

Sarcasm has no place in a tabloid.

Anonymous said...

A-rod is re-signing with the Yankees because the IBL is not going to have a second season. He was slotted as the everyday 3rd baseman for Petach Tikvah.

Anonymous said...

First of all my son played in the IBL last year and his mom and I were there all summer and went to every game his team played, so we have some first hand experiences on how things really went.

We see the good and the bad. Our son is one of the players who have not been able to cash is final pay check. This, of course, is troubling. There were problems with food, lodgings, communications, playing facilties, and equiptment. We saw and experienced these troubles first hand so we know exactly how pervasive they were.

We also saw GREAT things. We saw the game of professional baseball being played in a new country 6 days a week. We got to know wonderful players first hand and got to see how hard they worked and the hardships they overcame to play to the best of their abilities every day. We got to talk to these players from all around the world and see how well they represented their cultures and how well they represented the game of baseball. Our son was awarded a very special league award and we are thrilled for that, but we met many others who were deserving of recognition as well. Their baseball talents and personal characteristics made it a joy to see these young men each and every day. We got to see young adults with little experience start to assume responsible postions within the league, and perform them admirably. The initiative they showed in learning their jobs will serve them for a lifetime.

The players played through hardships most professionals don't need to yet when asked if they would return for another season each and every one of they proudly represented that they would. They all saw the good they were doing and felt good about playing the game they all loved. The mixing of cultures within the league was a thing a beauty that was not lost on these young men. Dominicans, Columbians, Americans, Australians, Canadians, and Israelis all got along to accomplish the feat of starting a new pro sport in a new land. They were all stars to us. They acted and performed like the professionals they were. The acted as ambasadors of baseball where ever they went. The signed autographs and mingled with fans at every game. They are special people and were a joy to have met and spent time with.

The business of baseball may or may not have a future in Israel, there is so much information needed to answer that question that I won't even try. It is reasonable to expect that in such an undertaking mistakes will be made and they sure were made here. But please, don't throw the baby out with the bath water. There was so much more right than wrong in accomplishing this extrordinarily difficult task that we must remember the good that was done first and foremost. It is so easy to focus on the negative, and at times we need to so as to make improvements. But please step back and review all the good that was done. The balance of the scale is far to the good side here. We saw it. We lived it. We know it and we thank each and every executive of the league for letting us be a part of something bigger than any of us.

I appreciate this forum as a way to share my opinion. I welcome comments from others, particularly from those that have first hand knowledge of this subject. Having first hand experience of baeball in Israel makes one's opinion so much more meaningful than those who listen to others or infer things based upon very limited facts.

Anonymous said...

To the parents from the last comment;

I believe there will be a second season and we shall be paid in full, very shortly.
I believe that certain things have to change and certain things will, i am sure.
We have to believe that there was a meaning for this summer and although we had our problems (i actually like shnitzel and kabab )i am willing to wait it out and if they will have me come back next season. I had the greatest time in my life. Played ball everyday, hungout with the likes of eladio, JD, and many others .

This is for Larry Baras,
You promised us several things , you kept some of them, some i guess you could not control but you still have one left which is important and that of course is to pay our final payment. Mine is only $375 , i can wait , if you are trying to get it.

see some of you next season!!!

Anonymous said...

Well said. You are an example of the fine young men I was talking about in my post. It appears to me that you lived through the hardships and have faith that the league is working on improving in the future. It also appears to me that you can bear witnes to the fact that the pluses outweight the minuses as you think about last summer. I am glad you want to return for another season, you are the type of person that such a venture needs, the good news is, as you know, there are many like you. Those that will return if given the chance and those that are doing great things for the future of baseball in Israel. I hope the league is around next year and I hope you get the chance to continue to contribute your energies and talents.

Anonymous said...

It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows achievement and who at the worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

From a speech given by Theodore Roosevelt in Paris at the Sorbonne in 1910

Anonymous said...

Ask these kids if they want a second season of the IBL


Anonymous said...


Finger-pointing furious in deal gone sour
Magnetix becomes a major problem for its new owner
By Patricia Callahan | Tribune staff reporter
May 7, 2007
Article tools
E-mail Share
Digg Del.icio.us Facebook Fark Google Newsvine Reddit Yahoo Print Single page view Reprints Reader feedback Text size: Magnetix building sets were such hot sellers for Rose Art Industries that a rival toymaker bought the family-owned company. Now the legacy of that toy is haunting Mega Brands, the Canadian firm that purchased Rose Art.

Mega Brands officials allege in a lawsuit that Jeffrey and Lawrence Rosen -- the brothers who sold them Rose Art, then led that division after the merger -- didn't fix the problems with the dangerous toy in part because they didn't want to jeopardize personal multimillion-dollar payouts tied to profit targets.

Kenny Sweet Jr., a suburban Seattle toddler, died, and at least 27 other children suffered serious intestinal injuries after swallowing tiny magnets that fell out of Magnetix toys.

Hey Wogelegereteree ere or whatever your friggin name is here is another scoop for you!!!!!!

lets see you go after this guy before he screws up the league also

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