Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Israel Baseball League's future: Oy, such a mystery!

“Elli, your articles are enjoyed
by all the IBL players
whether they admit it or not.
Most won't talk to you
because they are worried
about the league finding out
and not getting resigned.”
--Ra’anana IBL Player

That comment from an anonymous Israel Baseball League player is an optimistic one, as there’s still no word from founder Larry Baras or anyone running the IBL about rumours that the beleaguered league’s second season is about to be canceled before it begins. Our Man Elli in Israel brought us the exclusive report this week, noting, “There has been no news from the IBL on the league's future, and their Web site has not been updated since August 31.”

And that roar of silence continues tonight. But fans, players and others connected to the IBL are commenting, albeit anonymously, about unpaid bills, mismanagement and other problems that plagued the IBL throughout its maiden voyage.

But one person does put his name to his comment, and that’s Ryan Crotin, the Petach Tikva Pioneers All Star who was one of the few IBL players to support the findings of Elli Wohlgelernter’s original exposé-- the one that’s come to define the league in the eyes of many:
“I think the news story was true and accurate and powerful. I hope all players, management and spectators read the details mentioned for higher awareness… If we do not expose problems, the league will ultimately remain in status quo… They (management) have to spend money on particulars to improve the treatment of players, for if the players are unhappy with whatever circumstances that can arise, then you have nothing.

"The players run the league. They are the league's product.”
Today, Ryan comments again, with a reminder that good came from the first—and potentially last—season of professional baseball in The Promised Land:
"Say what you will about the food, the accomodation, the venues, the money and related issues regarding payment and all other weakly managed enterprises. But do not be mislead about the talent that we witnessed over the past season. By majority, there were inexperienced players at the professional level and the IBL allowed such individuals to gain experience and hopefully market themselves to other professional affiliates.

"I must say, witnessing the kind of presence that Eladio Rodriguez, Gregg Raymundo and Jason Rees brought to the game was as good as anywhere. The league must be commended on its efforts to provide opportunity for those who without it, would have none. Rees would be another Australian, overlooked by geographic distance and Eladio would be another Latin player who was released too young and not given time to mature. I am thankful that both of them can live out their dreams and it began with one swing in the Promised Land and we were all a part of it."

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