Thursday, June 19, 2008
BREAKING NEWS: Is the announcement of the Israel Baseball League's return a scheme to cook up interest in IBL movie that premieres today?
The Associated Press this ran with the press release stating the Israel Baseball League has pulled itself out from under its mountain of debts and bad will to somehow return to the Holy Land for a smaller, shorter second season next month, and The Jerusalem Post copied the story with no investigation, sending it across the globe to be met with surprise, joy, and skepticism this morning. Now let the real reporting begin...
Already, sources tell us that the press release is part of scheme cooked up by the reclusive IBL founder, Boston bagel baron Larry Baras to raise money on the back of the rousing documentary film about the IBL's startup that premieres today at the Independent Film Channel's film festival outside Washington DC.
"The announcement on the morning of the world premiere of Holy Land Hardball is not coincidental," an insider in Israel tells Our Man Elli. "It's part of the plan to generate more interest, and bring in more investors, especially since Variety just gave it a rave review.
"But the bottom line remains: How much money did Baras take in last summer, and how much was spent? Was it $3 million? $4 million? How can this so-called league operate with such massive debts? Will the players be paid, or are the coming to play for free?
"And if they're being paid, how about paying all the players from last summer? Will Baras be coming to Israel? Will he be arrested upon arrival for his outstanding debts?
"And what level of play will there be? If players couldn't make the cut in any of the standing minor and professional leagues around the world, then the level of play will probably be no higher then junior college level-- at best. And who will the games be marketed to, the few dozen immigrants who came out last summer? The IBL certainly is not about to launch a marketing campaign geared towards Israelis, and isn't that the mistake-- well, one of a few hundred-- that the league committed last summer?
"The Associated Press took a press release and turned it around as news, when the real story is the back story to the whole affair. Where are the credible journalists in the world??"
You found them. Our Man Elli is on the story.
And oy, such a story!