Saturday, December 22, 2007

Israel Baseball League starts bush league blog

The folks behind the Israel Baseball League have taken their licks these past four months since Our Man Elli In Israel's clear-eyed news report about the first season foibles caused an uproar akin to Osama bin Laden spewing anti-Semitic epiphets while strolling naked down King David Street. There were complaints about bounced paychecks, a federal fraud lawsuit against founder Larry Baras, the resignations of the commissioner and advisory board, the formation of a rival league, and recently, the brazen announcement that the IBL is pushing full speed ahead in 2008.

Through it all, Tabloidbaby.com has become the main source for unbiased news about the IBL plans and scandals, and as a result, the lightning rod for criticism. Many people in power did not like the idea that any negative stories were out there at all.

Now, someone in or around the IBL has taken a Public Relations 101 course and is fighting journalism with fire-- a site that on the surface looks very much like this one-- only dedicated solely to good news about the IBL.

Which is a fine idea. On the surface.

For The Love of The Holyland (sheesh), at the unwieldy "HolyLandesMen.blogspot.com," spins stories like the New York Yankees signing of two IBL players to minor league deals (seen at the time as a publicity stunt engineered by the Yankee brass on the IBL advisory board at the time) into


But there's also a disturbing nasty side to the good news site that popped up on Tuesday. Its very first post is an Apocalyptic, Old Testament-style attack on the characters of the men who saw an alternative to the IBL scandals with a new league:

Wolves. Andrew Wilson, Jeffrey Rosen.
Michael Rollhaus. Alan Gardner

False teachers who come disguised as harmless sheep.
Wolves in Sheep's clothing.
Grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

Wolves are attempting to do nothing short of an attempted hostile takeover. It is a time for others to speak. They have tried to smudge the record of a brand new IBL league and people involved, make the chairpersons and affiliated people scamper. Make funding difficult. Start a new league after inflicting damage.

Well it won't work. There are too many people who believe in the goals, the purpose, the sincerity -- and most of all-- the things which could not have gone any more right. The same people who have soiled this league are lightweights compared to the marvelous souls who did everything they could to create this successful first season...

Only egomaniacs-- unbecomingly so-- feel the desire and need to cut the legs off what is around them so that they can do things as they want...

I read about you in the Opening Game program about how baseball and judaisim were like crystals of memory throughout your life. Why didn't you support the IBL rather than assembling troops to oppose and destroy it! Ego and greed...

Puh-leeze. We'd suggest that the Baras Berger boosting baseball boys lighten up. It's only baseball, after all. That kind of rhetoric just clouds debate-- which is probably the purpose. And far from a sacred, holy mission, the idea of baseball in Israel has so far revealed itself to be a business proposition.

Oh yeah-- there's one more sign that "For The Love of The Holyland" is not what it seems... they censor and pre-approve all comments. So for the free flow of ideas, the Knesset of Israel Baseball, you will have to turn here.


Anonymous said...

How desparate. The IBL is not going to have a second season.

Anonymous said...

Good for Larry. He needs to do this now because when he is thrown in jail where he belongs, he will not have access to a computer!

IBL Player said...

Why did someone feel the need to personally attack Alan Gardner? He is not the one who is writing the articles about the league. It is also not his fault that we "as players" have not been paid in full.

This is absolutely ridiculous. I feel this website could be used for good. The news that is coming out about the league may be hurting peoples feelings. And you know what? I understand that. But the fact is its true. Players havent been paid, fields havent been paid for, vendors have outstanding debts and there is obviously a lot more....I could go on.

Reality of the situation is the IBL didn't have a good business plan or budget together before beginning there endeavour. And now that they don't have money to pay their debt, a group of people are attempting to try again.

What is wrong with that? Its business. They aren't "wolves or in to underage women", they are simply attempting to start a league that a lot of people feel will work in Israel. This kind of failure and business "take over" happens every day in the business world. And you know what, its apart of life.

I feel terrible for what is happening to Larry Barras and even worse for his family. Its tragic the first year of the IBL didnt work to plan and he had the founder had "the worst summer of his life". The IBL was not ready for the difficulties they faced and it doenst seem like 3 months after the season much has changed.

This is a very unfortunate situation, which a lot of people feel very strongly about. But all in all, both leagues want the same thing. Baseball in Israel. Isn't that what we all want?

I know that there is a majority of players who would love to go back next summer given the opportunity because this past summer was worth all of the aggravation we went through. But now to see 3 months after the season the league hasn't paid us and their board of directors ran for the hills. Doesn't that tell you something about the league. It's time to move on and let someone else try. Why should the dream of baseball in Israel die because the first group that tried it was not financially responsible?

Anonymous said...

Well said. And the hard reality is that even if every one, including the vendors, were paid before season 2 the IBL has lost the confidence of future vendors, investors and the banks. This is a business.

The nastiness and vindictiveness must end. The priority for the few that remain in the IBL is to find ways to cover the debt. It is unlikely that they will be able to do much more than that.

And let's hope IPBL can make a second season happen with a well funding business plan.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how the tryouts went in Miami on the 23rd? Also, I wonder what was said there about the financial situation and prior obligations (particularly the salary issues) of the league.

Anonymous said...

Don't talk about censorship and how you produce unbiased news reports, put down the blog relating to the IBL, AND THEN DELETE MY POST!!! TB's blog is much worse than the IBL since at least they have the balls to set their blog so everyone knows their comments must be pre-approved.

You on the other hand make it seem like anything can be posted, but what you don't tell readers is that you delete the posts you don't want others to see. You are a bunch of liars and have become what you say you hate most... a bunch of censors!!! How long before you delete this one!!!

Anonymous said...

There is a huge difference to what you said. There are limits to free speech. You cant just make up whatever you want and post it. What you said is slander.

If you want to make posts, make them productive. Its sad if you want to resort to bashing someone who has no involvement with TB.

And not to mention if you are going to bash someone and want free speech you should at least make your name known.

Its sad that we haven't gotten paid and now we are fighting each other rather than the league.

tabloidbaby said...

"Don't talk about censorship and how you produce unbiased news reports, put down the blog relating to the IBL, AND THEN DELETE MY POST!!!

"You on the other hand make it seem like anything can be posted, but what you don't tell readers is that you delete the posts you don't want others to see. You are a bunch of liars and have become what you say you hate most... a bunch of censors!!!"

Hey Pally, we'll delete libelous and slanderous posts that we can get sued and or shut down for.

When you call someone a peodophile or go in for other personal attacks that are against the Google guidelines, you get deleted.

Next time sign your name or attach a return address.

You moron. Go delete yourself.


Anonymous said...

Go re-read the email you deleted bozo. It was done in as a joke and was written as humor. No one could call that slanderous, and you idiots do it all the time. I never said I had proof of anything, and if you had even the slightest clue you would know that. Delete myself... bite me you talentless bunch of losers! As for the idiot who keeps claiming that it's such a shame we haven't been paid, well then go do something about it. That's what a court is for, but you would rather bitch and moan than be a man and stand up for yourself. Screw all of you.

Anonymous said...

I'll leave a name when you leave a name talentless baby, and TB isn't a name, it's a disease.

IBL PLAYER said...

"They censor and pre-approve all comments. So for the free flow of ideas, the Knesset of Israel Baseball, you will have to turn here." Free flow? Who are we kidding here? Posting naked pictures of Heather Mills is O.K., but a post that is clearly satire is deleted? Sounds like you should practice what you preach or is acting as a censor part of your everyday activity at timid baby - so sorry that the post was against google guidelines. We know how much emphasis is put on the truth and good taste on this blog.

Here let me buy you a dictionary:


A literary work in which human vice or folly is attacked through irony, derision, or wit.

Irony, sarcasm, or caustic wit used to attack or expose folly, vice, or stupidity.

Speaking of stupidity - I present to you the staff at TB!

Anonymous said...

What did I say that was bitching or moaning? I said we havnet gotten paid. Which is a fact. If we sue the league they will without a doubt not be able to have a second season. Not to mention, what assets do they have for us to sue. It is pointless brining it to court. The reason i personally haven't wanted to sue was because i want to give Martin and Larry the benefit of the doubt that they will be getting money soon. But you can't see past that. you just see bitching and moaning. Just like you can't see that your post wasn't funny or humorous. Esepcially about the person you wrote it. Thats why its slander, you moron. I guess you couldn't realize that because you were too busy doing detective work looking up satire in the dictionary. You must have gotten worn out by all that thinking. But its alright.

I just have a couple of question I'm curiouse about, please feel free to answer the ones you want. What has TB lied or been slanderous about? If you were a player last season, have you been paid in full? What do you have against the members of the IPBL? And why do you have so much hate for people giving negative information out about the IBL?

Anonymous said...

There is no IPBL. Maybe in 2009, maybe 2010, but not in 2008. If you think a new league is popping up next season you are kidding yourself, and if you want baseball to be played next season there is only one game in town regardless of their performance last season. My guess is you care more about your involvement next season than about baseball succeding in Israel.

Anonymous said...

I'd rather no baseball in Israel if it is to be run by unethical management.

The IBL can not get any funding because of their poor business practices.

Holy Land Hardball said...

You nailed it: You would rather there be no baseball in Israel because it was never more than a job for you.

Most players would have played for free, but a select few had other agendas. I assume you are one of them, and now you don't see yourself going back. It's easy to blame someone else for your bad experience, but take a good hard look in the mirror.

If your paycheck was the main reason you went, maybe you shouldn't have gone in the first place.

Oh, and the IBL can't get any funding because there are some people out there who would like to run a campaign to put doubt into the heads of investors, and suck the life out of anything good that happened last season.

I'm not an idiot, and I have no idea if or how Larry can fix things for next year, but I do know they are owed the opportunity to correct their mistakes. If they can't by the end of next season, I'll be the first to say good luck to the IPBL!

Anonymous said...

To the posting above:

Your assumptions about me are sadly mistaken. I am not a player but there were players for whom the money was important. Not every one had the resources to spend an entire summer without any income... for the sheer pleasure of playing baseball in Israel. As you know some player, especially those from Latin America, needed to send the money home or for their own day to day expenses.

However, what seldom gets mentioned is that the travel agency and numerous vendors are out tens of thousands of dollars, if not more. These business people are in debt because they relied on contracts and the good faith dealings of the IBL. For their sake, I hope that the IBL and Larry/Martin make good on all this debt. And as much as everyone would like to disparage the advisors who left the IBL, these guys were legitimately worried that their reputations would be tarnished by being associated with an organization that was so fiscally irresponsible. In many ways, a good idea like professional baseball in Israel may have been irreparably harmed for years to come.

Anonymous said...

I think almost everyone who reads this site or has been involved with the IBL realizes how fiscally irresponsible IBL management has been. But what is troubling me the most is the fact that people are beginning to forget that this was professional baseball. Players were supposed to get paid to play. Fields were supposed to be paid for. Vendors were supposed to be paid for. (the list can go on) But they were not. Whether the players would have played for free or not is irrelevent. THe point is all of people mentioned above signed a contract and should get paid. On that same note, this was a business. Not just some club that grown men put together for fun. They went out and got investors to give their hard earned money to them. And what did they do? They spent it frivolouslly.

So now we are at a crossroad. The IBL has a tremendous amount of debt. Everyone can see that the IBL had good intentions and would like to have a second chance. And I would love to see that happen. But reality is I dont see that happening. Rational investors are not going to throw money into a company where they will not see a return on their investment.

While many people out their may read this and feel that all I care about is money. But that is not the case. I have been thinking long and hard about the situation and realize that this is a business first and fun second.

My main interest, whether its the IBL, IPBL or some other group, is having a league in Israel. I would love to be able to watch and follow the league. I think its a great idea. As long as its run properly. Had proper budgeting been in place, none of these conversations would be happening right now and we would all be looking forward to next season.

Anonymous said...

Hey some well written posts!
Thats a first. Who besides the travel agent and players have not gotten paid? did the Miami tryouts boast a great next season?
If only a couple of players and the travel agent did not get paid, bid deal. One small investor can pay the 20-30 thousand they are in debt.

Anonymous said...

One area to look at here is how the Miami tryouts were handled on Dec 23rd, did they even come off and if so what was told to the new prospects. It seems to me that this would be valuable information in judging if there will be a second season. WHAT IS KNOWN ABOUT THE MIAMI TRYOUTS LAST WEEK!?

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately the IBL is not dealing with that kind of debt--$30,000. Otherwise it would be well on its way to season 2. It is many times that amount- in the hundreds of thousands. It will not be enough to pay off last year’s debt. The IBL has to raise money for the upcoming year which has got to be several million. As was mentioned in another post investors need to know how this past year’s money was spent and for whatever reason the management has not provided any of this information. It could just be poor record keeping but who knows. Three are a lot of things working against the IBL. I do think that there should be some open and honest communication with the players about what is going. Not just PR postings on the website. Given that there were tryouts in Miami it just begs the question of what is being done to resolve current problems

Anonymous said...

I heard it was cancelled
then the field location changed( probably because of non payment to the field) ran by former IBL players with Berger ,Dukette but not Baras

Anonymous said...

Well was it cancelled or moved? It can't be both? The fact is the tryout went well, and there were several very talented players who were there and will add to to leagues talent next season. It's interesting that the only people saying that there won't be a league next season are the IPBL guys... guess they couldn't get a field to play on so they hope to short circut this season with more lies and negative comments. Hey it's a good business strategy for the IPBL. It's unethical, but hey - look who's involved! Should we expect anything different?

Anonymous said...

the tryouts went well
the New York Times is full of shit
the IBL made a million not lost a million
they have their facts wrong

Anonymous said...

made a million????!!!! From what, ticket sales??? Or maybe it was merchandising, or a TV contract? I'm sure the 75 tickets sold per game brought in tons of money...

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah.. the IBL made $1 million! No one believes that for one minute. So, please explain why the players who were paid a pittance didn't get paid. It could only mean one thing. The money was misappropriated....but the fact is the IBL is deep in debt

Anonymous said...

finally, a few steps foward into some thoughtfulness on this site...and then a a couple of steps backward into nonsense.
the truth is that the tryouts went like crap...there were hardly enough players to even make it worthy of a tryout...Dan Duquette was there but didn't bring any of his people who ran last year's tryouts (probably because he is still owed money); let's not kid ourselves, Martin Berger is not the guy you go to for running a baseball tryout. then the field everyone went to was unable to be used...an excuse was given along the lines of "at the last moment, a player who tried out last year threatened to make a legal claim for an injury (pulled hamstring) he suffered...hardly had the ring of truth, but the invitees then had to shuttle to another field about a half an hour away. the fact of the matter is that the founder of the IBL IS about 1 million in the red with no prospects of raising money for year 2...anyone with half a brain who has been following this can figure out that this has nothing to do with the IPBL guys...who gives money to a company to run its second year when the monies also first have to pay off such significant debts from year 1? no one is the answer, not even the apologists for the IBL that have written their support with their eyes closed to the facts...by now, it has sunk in for most of us...let's support moving forward and keeping baseball alive. murray chass doesn't just write things for the Times to write them. Let's remember that it was his journalism that helped the IBL get going...potential investors saw his article, found Baras and got involved...now he has examined the facts and reported them...not even a Roger Clemens-like refutation letter from Larry Baras or his lawyer. It's pretty clear why Mr. Baras is not quoted in the article.
The original investors then took a serious financial bath and have not been given any answers to where the money went and what for...can anyone really say that it isn't time to move on? and doesn't everyone realize that if a new page isn't turned, there will be no professional baseball in Israel?
Let's keep our eyes on the facts and avoid gratuitous misstatements and arrogant, irresponsible commentary.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Another great posting! What happened to the rival IBL blog?

Anonymous said...

Yes, this was a well written post. Larry’s bagel business is $1.5 million in debt and the IBL is $1 million in debt. He hasn’t denied any of this. It does seem unlikely that there will be any resolution unless Kurtzer and the other advisors are able to get to the bottom of things (like where the money went) and obtain financing the cover the debt. My guess is that any future investors will want new leadership in place with proven experience. What a mess!

Anonymous said...

The bagel business is $1.5 million in debt? What is happening with lawsuit from Natalie Blacher in Miami? I believe that money will be dolled out in date sequence of lawsuits. Who takes priority? Israel or USA debts? He definitely has assets as other people such as the Pres of the IBL.
Don't think that you wont get paid due to lack of funds.(AS long as a claim is made!) They have money it is just a matter of time before it is uncovered.

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