Monday, June 23, 2008

One Israel Baseball League vet won't be returning

Earlier this month, we gave a sports columnist from the Portsmouth, New Hampshire Herald in some stick for falling for the Israel Baseball League's "Clock to Nowhere" and reporting gullibly that there would be a second IBL season this summer after all. Well, waddaya know? With word that IBL Mach 2 is promising a four-team, three-week, 20 game momentum-keeping "season" starting July 27, it looks like Mike Sullivan had the inside track.

And now we know why a sportswriter from New Hampshire cared about the IBL. Local Ari Alexenberg was a savvy southpaw pitcher for the Petach Tikva Pioneers last season. But is he returning for the big season two?

This morning, Mike Sullivan has the scoop-- and gets in a few well-placed digs as well:

Despite recent reports to the contrary, the Israel Baseball League is moving forward with its second season, albeit an abbreviated one. Portsmouth's own Ari Alexenberg, who at 45 years old played and coached during the IBL's inaugural season last summer, is not making the trip.

"From an experiential standpoint I would have loved to play," Alexenberg wrote via e-mail. "From a financial standpoint it would have been difficult. Minor league wages work fine for 23-year-olds ...; tougher for 46-year-olds with a family to support."

Not playing in Israel this summer really does come down to the money for Alexenberg, so don't think for a second his age is playing a role in his decision to not return to the Petach Tikva Pioneers.

"As a pitcher I believe I can do it, as a regular position player I could not," he wrote. "It is a bit frustrating because I learned so much last year and would love the chance to start fresh-armed with last year's experience. I started out last season miserably but got better and better as the season progressed."

...Whether the league was to play a second season had become somewhat of a lesson in Internet contradiction recently, with conflicting reports on the status of the league appearing all over cyberspace.

Most reports contended that the league would not play this summer. To borrow the infamous line from Mark Twain: "The report of my death has been exaggerated." So despite reports to the contrary, the IBL is alive and at least breathing.


Anonymous said...

"don't think for a second his age is playing a role in his decision to not return to the Petach Tikva Pioneers"... What??? Are you serious. I have met Ari and spoken with him - he is a good man - and would make a fantastic coach, but reality should have set in last season... 0-6 with a 7.64 ERA, 34 Hits, and 37 walks and 10 hit batters in 33 innings with only 18 strikeouts... He would struggle at age 46 against High School players.

Ari Alexenberg said...

Hard to argue with my overall season stats, they were terrible. But, with that said, I feel compelled to point out some facts that lie beneath my overall record.

In my last 10 relief appearances I had a 3.37 ERA and my last 5 relief appearances I had a 1.08 ERA. My bloated ERA was essentially due to two atrocious starts against Tel Aviv and Raanana. In a short season that is all it takes. On the flip side against the mighty Blue Sox lineup I gave up only one hit and no runs in six innings.

What I struggled with was control, something that is atypical for me and was due to many difficulties I and many of the Pioneers had to deal with. Many players and the team as a whole underperformed. Age was not the factor. My “stuff” was more than enough to compete well in the IBL. There are many pitchers performing well even at the Major League level who are 40+ years old.

My biggest challenge (I realize this sounds odd from a 46 year old)was inexperience and managing outside forces.

Ultimately, I realize, it was my doing and I own the stats.