Friday, January 04, 2008

Israel Baseball: Holtz keeps on the sunny side

Recent grim news about the sad state of the Israel Baseball League, its million dollar debt, a decree by the formerly uninterested Jerusalem Post that the league's first season was a failure and the unlikely prospects for Israel baseball in 2008 led us to wonder about the reaction from the two IBL players who were most vocal in support of IBL management-- and critical of Our Man Elli in Israel and his coverage of the season's foibles and post-season scandals.

Leon Feingold, the Netanya Tigers pitcher and competitive eater called Our Man Elli and the Tabloid Baby team "mudslinging, smarmy, sensationalist, no-talent gossip-column rejects," while aging Bet Shemesh Blue Sox shortstop Eric Holtz (above right) went further-- defending founder Larry Baras, shrugging off a bounced paycheck, and stating that Elli "could be the lowest level of Human Life in a reporter that I have ever seen."

Today, Holtz, the self described "Glass Half-Full Guy," writes in:

My response is this:

I had a great experience, I got to meet wonderful people. I was re-introduced to my own heritage and got nine weeks to visit a beautiful land, meet warm Israeli people and do what I love most-Play/Manage Baseball. I have made life-long friends and will continue to look back and smile on the entire experience. Tabloid did not get Thanks from Mothers and fathers of Children who Thanked Us for "Making their Summer." That was an incredible feeling. Elli/Tabloid Baby will never get to feel something like that.

120 st(r)angers met with one thing in common and bonded into something special.That will never be taken away from anyone who experienced this. I do hope that Baseball continues in Israel. It will take time to gain trust, interest and ent(h)usiasm, but Soccer is still st(r)uggling here in the U.S. decades after it was introduced. On the business side, almost every new league is in the red when starting out, hopefully the IBL will be able to crawl out from it's financial debt to get back to doing what it intended to do from the get-go (Play Baseball).

I hope this answers your question as to "What would Eric say"? As now I have to get back to what is important in my life-- Fathering my 3 children and running my manufacturing business.

I wish Everyone a Happy Healthy and Prosperous 2008.

Eric Holtz

Leon? You're on deck, bubbala.


Anonymous said...

I think Holtz should be commended-You can call it what you want-"Sunnyside" He is entitled to his opinion-He lived it-TB did not-Elli does his job and feels necessary to comment and write how he sees fit-I think Eric Holtz is a stand-up indivudual and I am proud to know him.........

BringHeat said...

Boychik, how can I turn down an invitation like that? Unlike TabloidBaby, I'd hate to leave readers disappointed by my contributions, or lack thereof.

If baseball is to succeed in Israel, as it absolutely should once done correctly, it will involve a lot of people working together to build on the positives of last season (of which there were many, although you'd never know that from reading here) and overcoming the negatives (of which there were just as many).

Somewhere in the IBL blogosphere this week, someone commented about the importance of everyone pulling on the same rope. That allusion stuck with me for some reason, and I maintain that all those who wish to see baseball succeed are trying to reach that common goal by pulling on different ropes - which cannot work, and certainly is not the most efficient solution.

The irony I see is not that the different parties have different ideas about how a league should be run, so much as there are many people who had no patience for the problems with the current league and wanted to tear it down and start from scratch with a better business plan, more transparency, etc... but instead of working WITH the people already there, have decided to compete and attempt what is essentially a hostile takeover where none was really necessary. I know Larry Baras reasonably well, and after all he poured of his own time and money and energy into making this league a reality, there was DEFINITELY a bipartisan way to fix the problems from within. It's not just about money, or fame, or records, or credit, or individuals. It's about making something beautiful and culturally significant happen on an international and historical scale, and we're so very close to the tipping point where this can really take hold. Some people in BOTH groups just didn't want to do things any way but their own, and I believe it is their stubbornness and insistence in doing everything their way that has created two apparently opposing camps divided by that common goal.

In the school of thought to which I adhere, there is STILL a narrow window to use all the positives everyone brings to the table - Baras, Goldklang, Perlman, Berger, Rosen, Holtz, Rolhaus, Kurtzer, Duquette, Zimbalist, and many more - to do what SHOULD have been done in the beginning: get everyone with a part of the same rope in their hands, and find a way to pull together. I'd love to get everyone in the same room at the same time and force them to hash it out like grownups, or at the very least like young adults. I'd volunteer to mediate, although I'm sure we can get a more experienced, well-known expert to step in and work out a way to have everyone involved who wants to be, and present a unified front against any new challenges that will face the league from outside, rather than self-immolate via infighting.

In closing, it's axiomatic that we can't change the past, but we can learn from it and find a way to shape the future. There's not much time left before a solid framework needs to be in place for next season, but I know enough about the people who want this to succeed, that I believe we have enough time to make it happen.

After all, as everyone knows, there's no time limit in baseball.

Leon Feingold

Anonymous said...

Delgado Prepares to Hit; Minaya Is Going to Israel

Published: January 4, 2008

Mets first baseman Carlos Delgado said his rehabilitation from a fractured left hand was on schedule and that he expected to be at full strength when he reports to spring training in six weeks. As Delgado prepared to begin the next phase of his recovery, hitting off a tee, General Manager Omar Minaya was getting ready to depart for an eight-day good-will tour of Israel.
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Minaya’s involvement evolved from his friendship with the player agent Arn Tellem, who is leading the delegation and is on the board of directors of Seeds For Peace, which strives to improve relations between Israeli and Palestinian children.

The trip will mark the second consecutive off-season that Minaya has visited a foreign country for the first time. Last winter, Minaya spent time in Ghana as part of a delegation that was trying to heighten interest in baseball.

Delgado has mostly remained in his native Puerto Rico this off-season, recuperating from the broken left hand he sustained when hit by a pitch in the last game of the season, as the Mets completed their epic collapse.

“If we continue to talk about 2007 in 2008, chances are we’re going to be thinking about something we shouldn’t be thinking about,” Delgado said in a conference call.

Delgado, who set full-season career lows in home runs (24) and batting average (.258), attributed what he called a “horrible” year to his failure to make adjustments at the plate, and added that it had nothing to do with the elbow and wrist surgeries he had before the season.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with Holtz and the other anonymous poster. I'm sickened by some of the articles I read on this page, written by people who did not experience this season firsthand. You claim to have the interest of baseball in Israel at heart, but it sometimes seems like you just want to make everything "IBL" look as bad as you possibly can. If you played in 40 games last season, stayed at the Kfar with the players, and saw what happened between the guys and the fans, and you'd have some better things to say about the league. You disgust me. I'm proud to agree that Eric Holtz's description of you is spot-on. Let the League try to succeed and go write about something else that you actually have some experience with. Don't bother challenging my personal experience with the league, I have nothing to prove to you, I have more IBL experience in my right pinky toe than your entire staff. I'm not returning to this website - you barely deserve this much of my attention, you won't get any more.

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