Tuesday, November 13, 2007

RE: THE ISRAEL BASEBALL LEAGUE SCANDAL: An open letter to the sports journalists who are allowing us-- forcing us-- to do your jobs for you!

Tabloid Baby is a news, commentary and satirical watchdog site that focuses on the media and pop culture. We usually don’t do sports. But in the past quarter of a year, we’ve become the focal point for the investigation into and criticism of the Israel Baseball League, a professional sports venture into the Promised Land headed up by a man who invented a bagel with no hole and a cream cheese center.

Our Man Elli in Israel, the respected print and broadcast journalist from New York City who has made his home in Jerusalem for more than fifteen years (and wrote the IBL Opening Day preview story for the New York Times), led off the with an investigative report (and sidebar story) that detailed the ups and downs and disturbing complaints about the league’s first season-- from safety issues to complaints that the league, financed with American dollars, was not marketed to the Israeli audience.

That was followed by attacks on Elli Wohlgelernter as a journalist, Israeli and Jew.

Larry Baras and his friends began spin-- and Nixonian whispering-- campaigns against Elli—never once disputing what he had written.

Players, some anonymously and some very public, posted comments here about of bounced checks and broken promises.

A reporter for the Chicago Tribune plagiarized parts of Elli’s stories and passed off the work as his own.

Stories and rumours began to fly about new problems, financial improprieties and illegalities behind the scenes of the IBL.

The signing of two IBL players by the New York Yankees, neither of whom seemed destined to make it to the Big Game, was seen to be a a ploy for good press and faster fundraising.

Baras authorized a book to counter Elli’s own to tell the official version of the IBL story.

Elli wrote, again here, again exclusively, about the rumours that the IBL will not be returning for a second season.

Yesterday, we reported exclusively about a federal lawsuit that accuses Boston-based bagelmaker Baras of securities fraud linked directly to his start-up of the IBL.

And now, IBL players are using this site to air their grievances!

Hey, this ain’t our playing field!

So we now turn it over to you, the bigtime sports reporters for papers like the New York Times, Boston Globe and Jerusalem Post, investigative reporters for the many Jewish weeklies across America-- all of you who get paid to do more than copy scores and statistics:

Do your f-cking jobs and follow up!

We’ve handed you everything you need.

The rest of you... stay tuned here. It’s probably the only place you’ll get the story.
Readers! Do you know a big time sports report—or a smalltime sports or investigative reporter who’d like to win an award or two and possibly even his own office! Send them this link!


Anonymous said...

I hope the people at tabloid baby arent taking credit for "uncovering" the lawsuit story. The link for that lawsuit was posted by someone,probably an IBL player, in the comments section where all of the players have been ranting.

C'mon guys give credit where credit is due. Dont be like that guy in Chicago who allegedly stole "your man" Elli's story from Israel. You did not mention your source was an anonymous poster once in "your story".

tabloidbaby said...

Yes, we appreciate the link that appeared on our website.

But we'd known about the link since one of our staffers typed in "baras" and "lawsuit" on the Google search after the first hints of legal trouble showed up on the comments pages.

The exclusive we trumpet is bringing you the details of the lawsuit, and its connection to the IBL.

Thanks, though, for not comparing us to that corporate porn-pushing gossip site.

Anonymous said...

This is the sewer. You are indeed trying to sodomize someone great. This website is indeed Sodom. Any responsible writer should realize that this is nasty journalism which destroys lives. Perpetual shame on the human beings who write and feed on this. Get a life.

Charles S. said...

The rape of a name can be as emotionally devastating as the rape of a body, and is every bit as despicably immoral.

Larry David....can i change to Anonymous? said...

Seriously Elli,

There is nothing wrong with reporting facts. But you are on a very slippery slope. Stick to the facts, no more distortions, stop dragging Larry through the mud with theories. Right now you are close to becoming Mike Nifong. Don't do that to yourself.



Anonymous said...

People write to say "don't speak." But the story is writing itself. No?

Anonymous said...

Dear Charles S,
Not paying players, vendors or telling lies in your bagel company to a woman and costing her $275,000 is also rape.

Anonymous said...

if you are going to speak, speak the truth with facts to back it up. that is all.

Charles S. said...

Those are just allegations, not yet proven to be true. But you are speaking like they are.

Re:Dear Charles S,
Not paying players, vendors or telling lies in your bagel company to a woman and costing her $275,000 is also rape.

Anonymous said...

Charles, those are not just allegations. I know this for a fact because I am one of those players that has yet to be paid. In a week, it would mark the three month mark of me being not paid. I have been lied to by Baras in person.

So you should check your facts as well.

Anonymous said...

Charles- your take on morality is interesting. You seem totally unconcerned that investors are putting money behind the IBL when there are real questions about unpaid bills, paychecks and debt. The immorality comes from knowing about these issues and then keeping silent. I don't think there is a person commenting on this site that doesn't wish this wasn't true. We want the IBL to succeed and to know there is enough money to move forward. Your inexplicable anger is totally misplaced. You should be upset that mismanagement has potentially derailed the IBL.

Anonymous said...

Charles s,
I am a vendor and will bring suit next week

Charles S. said...

Just because people are suing doesn't mean Larry is guilty of anything. Innocent until proven guilty.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely, but when there is a history and pattern of these problems, it does not take a big leap to realize this may not be some one that you want to do business with.

And, The FACTS are that people have not been paid. The lawsuits are totally unnecesary if contracts are honored.

Charles, my guess is that you believe in Larry and can't consider the remotest possibility there are real issues here. Sadly, others have been in your situation but have had to come to terms with all the contradictions.

Anonymous said...

Larry is surrounded by good people.
I have full faith that he will succeed.

Anonymous said...

oops I guess those good people just resigned

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...

Well put Mr. R and thanks for coming to all the games. Also for getting Feingold's punted glove on video.

Alan said...

Hey guys...ok, it's time to stop all this anonymous stuff that's been going on...this IS a serious situation...the IBL's infrastructure has crumbled...very little, if anything, meaningful is left and for some very disturbing reasons (as clearly stated in the Goldklang/Zimbalist resignation letter and the Spectrum Capital cancellation letter)...unfortunately, Larry Baras and Martin Berger could not even secure a bridge loan that would allow the league to make the final payments on salaries due to players, managers and personnel and fees owed to vendors. The federal lawsuit allegations are, if true, deeply disturbing and no-one can miss the unusual parallels between the allegations and what we in the league have experienced.
There is, from what I have seen in discussions that I have been having with some very responsible and concerned people, a very bright light at the end of the tunnel. I believe that baseball will continue in Israel and will have a brighter future than the past season could ever have foretold.
If you have concerns about money owed to you, please reach out to me at 917-710-7168 or by email at amgardneresq@gmail.com. And, if we have comments to make from hereon forward, let's make them professional and fact-based and sign off on them. Let's leave the emotional nonsense and smoky messages to the others that have been pulling the wool over our eyes (and, it seems, others) for a bit too long already.
Let's play two, men.
Alan Gardner
Bet Shemesh Blue Sox '07

P.S.-I appreciate Mr. R's thoughtful comments as well. However, as they say, things "have gone too far" at this point. We all hoped that change would not be necessary, but it is clear that it is. We, the players, managers and on-site personnel in Israel are really who sank and watered baseball's roots this summer...we, with little help, both organized the product and played the games. Just remember how hard guys like Andrew Wilson, 23 and David Rattner, 21 worked and how many different roles they took on as an example. Just remember how Eric Holtz had to order extra bats through a contact he had because the baseball league itself could not get us more bats. And the list goes on.

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...

Elli's expose and continued, dogged coverage of the Madman and IBL make me thank God, this Thanksgving, that there are a few true journalists left in a world of spin doctors.

Anonymous said...

last poster lets see how honest this great journalist with incredible investigative abilities checks this out


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