Thursday, November 29, 2007

Our Man Elli gives us the 411 on the IBL

Our Man Elli in Israel has been on assignment (baseball's just one of his beats), but he's reached us with his take on the announcement by Israel Baseball League president Martin I. Berger of a second IBL season in 2008.

Elli also addresses the fact that Berger made no mention of the league's debts, financial scandals, players' complaints-- or the status of IBL founder Larry Baras, last heard from in a desperate plea to Our Man Elli.

Tabloid Baby: So where have you been? We were about to run a missing persons story.

Our Man Elli in Israel: Working. When you start paying me, you can start keeping tabs on my whereabouts.

So what does the IBL announcement mean?

It means IBL management is certainly moving forward. But remember, they're still facing enormous financial issues. They're clearly hoping they can find some investors who'll help pay off last summer's debts to players and fields and others. And then they've got to prepare for next summer's cash flow. Players and vendors won't be so forgiving the second time around.

And the recent events certainly haven't helped their cause. I know potential investors who pulled out because of that 'lack of transparency' Dan Kurtzer and the nine other board members cited when they quit. And now I'm chasing down rumours the IBl wants to pay the 2008 players less than they paid in the first season. And they still haven't addressed the players who are owed money. So they've got some work ahead.

So is the talk of a 2008 season just that-- talk? Or is it really full speed ahead?

Well, it's full speed ahead right now. But how fast are they traveling? If they don't lock in investors quickly it would seem to be incredibly difficult to get 2008 off the ground.

Then again, did Berger simply "change the headline" with the announcement, taking the focus off the fraud suit and resignations?

Yeah, that's certainly true, because the press release is just that. It's a headline. It says the IBL is announcing its 2008 schedule, but they've only listed the opening night. On the IBL website, if you go to the 'schedule' link, they're still showing last season.

They do say they're scaling back to 40 games, instead of the 45 games they announced last season. And that's probably smart, since they didn't get in the full schedule last season. Four teams played 41 games and two teams played 40. And putting in lights at Gezer for night games will help. That 5 o'clock starting time last season made it impossible for a lot of working stiffs to make it to the ballpark.

Will the stars return?

I'd bet every player who can make it back will come back, except the ones who have jobs and can't make it.

Any possibility that you'll be named commissioner?

Will you guys get off that kick? It's embarrassing. You're sitting on your beach in Los Angeles. I have to work here. So yeah, there are three chances: Slim, fat and none. I don't want to be commissioner. I have a job.

Oh, well. Sandy Koufax, then. Anyway, what about the moving the Petach Tikva team to Jerusalem? What does this mean to Petach Tiikva? Did they support the team or were there too many native Israelis?

I was surprised to hear they were quote 'moving' the franchise. The Pioneers were one of two IBL teams that actually played in the city they were named after. Tel Aviv was the other. The other four teams were named after cities, but didn't play in them. And get this-- the Jerusalem team won't be playing in Jerusalem, either. They're playing in Gezer.

The Netanya Tigers, the Ra’anana Express and the Tel Aviv Lightning will play in Petah Tikva-- but not Petah Tikvah? Why take away the franchise name from the same city it plays in? That's a mystery.

What about Larry Baras? Is he out?

It appears that the three main principals are remaining as leaders of the IBL. Marin Berger, Dan Duquette and Larry Baras.

One more question. What do you think about the angry reactions, slams and accusations you're getting on the comments pages?

Will you please stop trying to stir things up? It's stupid. It's infantile. Who cares? I should say one thing for the record. I have nothing to to with the Israel professional Baseball League. Nothing whatsoever.

We thought you were going to be commissioner.

Nice one. Good night


Anonymous said...

This is nonsense. The IBL has paid everyone in full and is moving full steam ahead. If this wasn't true why is the website up and running again,why would players have been signed for next year and more tryouts scheduled in December.It has to be true.
Who needs Kurtzer and those frauds anyway?

ruby said...

i have not been paid in full, so your post is false.

Anonymous said...

The IBL is still deep in debt by the hundreds of thousands. The advisors resigned because there was not a full accounting of what funds came in and went out.There are a number of vendors contemplating lawsuits.

Hopefully the additional money and loans will come through so everyone can be paid. The first posting is definitely not true.

Anonymous said...

it's not just ruby...there's a lot of us who are out a bunch of money...some as much as $1500. why would you make up that nonsense when it has to do with such a basic issue as paying the guys who played the games? if you don't know the facts, shut up...maybe we can turn this site into a meaningful resource rather than the sewer that its been.

Anonymous said...

Tabloid Baby is interviewing its own contributors? How strange.

Anonymous said...

If it is true that you have not been paid why don't you sue? That is the only way you will get paid. They have money which is going to other endeavors ie tryouts, website, their pockets!

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!!

Anonymous said...


We hear youre a competive eater. So eat this.

We're saving you dumb jocks from getting fucked over next season as well.

We take it personally

Fuck you.

The Tabloid Baby staff.