Monday, April 21, 2008

Israel baseball blogger arrives late to the game

“Think about the goals of Baseball in Israel…
Are we going over to offer a distraction?
Do they need a distraction?
Is this another example of America trying to act as a hero?”

A new baseball website has us wondering, as we’ve stopped to do more than once over the past nine months, why the mainstream sports, business and political media have overlooked, and actively ignored— the story of the Israel Baseball League and efforts to bring professional baseball to Israel-- a story that’s of such interest and importance to so many people around the world. With league founder Larry Baras a colorful, controversial and lawsuit-laden bagel baron based in Boston, with a would-be rival league headed by a controversial lawsuit-laden toymaker taking cash from auditioning athletes in Miami, and minor and semipro leagues around the world picking up IBL refugees, there would seem to be enough local angles, mysteries, sports fans and Jewish readers out there for some award-hunting reporter or editor to feel the thrill of the hunt as they follow the money.

For now, Our Man Elli In Israel has the field to himself. But the latest visiting player is "Elliott," AKA “OMmetsfan07,” the blogging Mets fan behind the 213 Miles from Shea site. His new site, The Great International Pastime (Exporting America’s Game), started up a few weeks ago with a post about baseball in Ghana (anybody seen Eladio Rodriguez?) and today lands in Israel.

Despite a year of raucous infighting, accusations and outrageousness that was enough to fill an entire website called Baseball in Israel, this new internationalist site picks up the story of the Israel Baseball League in a much simpler time, before the drama of the past year, when the spin was only starting to pick up speed, and doesn't seem to realize that greed and bad business killed off baseball in Israel in 2008:

"Baseball in Israel was one of the first topics I thought of when I decided to talk about world baseball because I feel that its known in America more than in Israel and I have often questioned the motives for it (but I do love it, don't mistake that). I root for the Modim Miracle only because of their Manager, Art Shamsky, who was a '69 Met, so I am a little biased when it comes to their teams.

"I found this video on YouTube not too long ago (about two weeks ago). The video was added online a little over a year ago, but makes a lot of insightful points subliminally. When you watch it, think about the goals of Baseball in Israel? Are we going over to offer a distraction? Do they need a distraction? Is this another example of America trying to act as a hero? 
I have been thinking about this clip now for over two weeks, and I still have not finalized my opinion about it.

These of course are questions first posed by Our Man Elli almost a year ago, so we don’t know whether to be frustrated that the author didn’t do a Google search of “Israel Baseball” or gratified that someone’s at least sniffing out the story. We sent Elliott a link to our site. Once again, we’ll see if the bloggers pick up where the mainstream journos dropped the ball.