Saturday, July 19, 2008

Alan Gardner returns to Israel baseball debate

Alan Gardner has waded back in the Israel baseball fray.

The New York City attorney and former outfielder for the Israel Baseball League was one of the players who'd tried to step in a save the day by replacing the chaotic, crumbing IBL with an Israel Professional Baseball League that turned out to be just as secretive and in the end unsuccessful as its competitor.

Alan-- please, don't sue us!-- has been a cagy and prickly sort, no fan of satire, and very tight on information but quick to threaten us with legal action-- or even have our site taken down-- if we didn't remove anonymous postings about him in our comments section that he deemed to be libelous or even harmful (someone did a twist on a hoary old "kill the lawyers" joke-- see Shakespeare), after he'd elevated himself from a public figure-baseball player (he was on a card, wasn't he?) to public figure-frontman for an internationally-publicized fantasy baseball league.

We felt that Alan was a little sensitive, especially for a lawyer, and didn't "get" this Internet anonymity thing (or the therapeutic aspect of anonymous commenting by IBL veterans afraid of repercussions should they come forward), but hey, some of the comments were a step over the line and we're not out to hurt or embarrass anyone nor do we have time for legal fights.

We removed the comments; Alan went back to lawyering and brushing off our questions about what the heck was going with that IPBL.

Now he's back in his role as wise old Israel baseball public figure and opponent of anonymous postings, commenting on the brouhaha over Eric Holtz, the brash IBL apologist who, if he was a "man" as he likes to challenge all comers, would "man up" and "be a man and apologize for what he said about Our Man Elli in Israel.

Alan has written an entry in our comments section which is worth reprinting, and will probably mean we'll have to delete any negative comments about Alan. So be prepared.

Mr. Gardner:

Alan Gardner said...
Friday, July 18, 2008 7:33:00 PM PDT

"Hey guys... ok, it's time to stop all this anonymous stuff that's been going on... this IS a serious situation... the IBL's infrastructure has crumbled... very little, if anything, meaningful is left and for some very disturbing reasons (as clearly stated in the Goldklang/Zimbalist resignation letter and the Spectrum Capital cancellation letter)... unfortunately, Larry Baras and Martin Berger could not even secure a bridge loan that would allow the league to make the final payments on salaries due to players, managers and personnel and fees owed to vendors. The federal lawsuit allegations are, if true, deeply disturbing and no-one can miss the unusual parallels between the allegations and what we in the league have experienced… And, if we have comments to make from hereon forward, let's make them professional and fact-based and sign off on them. Let's leave the emotional nonsense and smoky messages to the others that have been pulling the wool over our eyes (and, it seems, others) for a bit too long already. " NOVEMBER '07

The anonymous, immature, irrelevant and, at times, mean-spirited and false comments on this site about the different individuals involved in various aspects of the IBL debacle are why I stepped away from this forum. Frankly, the forum was having no meaningful purpose.

For sure, Tabloid Baby includes a degree of lampooning, but the issues involved in the survival and continued development of baseball in Israel deserve to be treated, by the by, very seriously and without spurious and even potentially libelous verbal missives. When the masses remained anonymous and, largely, juvenile, I left TB to those who seemed to have nothing better to do than, among other things, call Larry Baras "fat and sweaty". Larry's size and tendency to perspire are in little, if any, way relevant to the, at a minimum, grossly negilgent mismanagement he brought to what should have and could have been a well executed amazing idea... baseball in Israel.

Recently, I was directed back to TB by a friend who has followed it. With Elli providing some on the mark investigative info, much has come to light about the current state of affairs, all of which has confirmed real, fact-based concerns raised by some of us all too long ago. Unfortunately, TB has again devolved into more of the same from some folks. While some people posted some straight forward questions to Eric Holtz after his comment on the blog, the personal attacks on him have no place here, or anywhere.

However, given that many, many months ago, there were plenty of people in the know that saw very clear and irrefutable evidence to make sure the Larry Baras regime came to an end, it is a fair question why business smart guys like Eric stood strong with him. So, I am willing to adopt those question that were asked of him by anonymous posters.

I do this because I believe that full disclosure will go a long way towards closure on the original IBL and it's Solomontian 2d incarnation and allowing the future of baseball in Israel to start on a healthy course. This is a venture, given its brief and tortured history, that needs to be led by well-respected, upstanding business people, not those who carry clouds of suspicion and negative reputations whirling about them. I know that there are interested, intelligent, well-intentioned and well-funded people out there who would love to build an oasis of baseball in Israel.

Heck, if there is a chance that Eric and I even see eye to eye on some of the issues, call that gravy. The key is righting the path of the future of the great sport that we all love in the land of milk and honey.

Let's play two...it will happen.


One note: That November posting with which Alan led off his latest comments, included another couple of lines:

"There is, from what I have seen in discussions that I have been having with some very responsible and concerned people, a very bright light at the end of the tunnel. I believe that baseball will continue in Israel and will have a brighter future than the past season could ever have foretold.

"If you have concerns about money owed to you, please reach out to me at 917-710-7168 or by email at amgardneresq@gmail.com."

Meanwhile, when it comes to commenting here, please do, feel free, anonymous or otherwise...


Anonymous said...

Alan Gardner is right that baseball will come back to Israel when legitimate businessmen and interests take up the cause.

However Alan is no baseball player and taking a look at the stats confirms it. He did better than Eric with a .190 batting average.

There are better ball players playing in competitive softball leagues in Israel.

Whatever happened to Alan and his initiative to start baseball in Israel?

Larry Baras said...

I love Alan Gardner!!!

Larry Baras said...

I want a threesome with Eric and Alan.

tel aviv girls said...

Alan's bat is bigger than Eric's.

Larry Baras said...

I love Tabloid Baby. I can't get enough of this story. The coverage has been excellent. And you know what they say :

"Bad Publicity is better than No Publicity"

And you know all this talk about Eric and now Alan and the possibility of a threesome has be hot and bothered and really sweaty.

Anonymous said...

Did Alan get paid for playing last summer?

Anonymous said...

Alan 190 not too good below the Mendoza line

Eric 097 way below the Mendoza line

Anonymous said...

I just received a check from the league for $500 as my last payment from summer 2007. It also had a note from Dan Rootenberg attached. Does anyone know if I should cash this check or will it bounce like the one I got at the end of last summer and I end up with a bounced check fee?

Alan Gardner said...

If anyone has received a new check and is concerned about the IBL account having funds available to cover it, try the following (it worked for me and several others back in September when they had some funds available, but apparently not enough for everyone):
Go to one of your bank representatives and ask them to contact the issuing bank (if it's still Citizen's Bank in Boston, the number should be available on their website; it's how my bank made contact). Tell your rep you are concerned about whether there are sufficient funds available on account at the issuing bank and you do not want to incur fees for this check bouncing. Your bank should be able to call and, using the account number on the check, determine if there are sufficient funds available to cover the $500 check. If your rep gives you a hard time, ask to speak to a manager and push the issue. It's a simple phone call, but the issuing bank probably won't tell you because you're not another bank.
If there are not sufficient funds on account, send an email to Berger; I do not have any contact info for Solomont (if anyone does, maybe it should be posted on this site); might also be a good idea, so as to inform everyone still owed money, to post your results here. And, in the future, please think about posting your name with your comment. We were all in this together and, in my view, we still are. I hope it finally works out.

Alan Gardner said...

By the way, why is it that folks are so willing to hide behind the veil of anonymity, particularly in their mindless, sophomoric and failing attempts at humor?
It amazes me that these people have zero better to do with their time. A mind is truly a terrible thing to waste and you all prove it all night and day and you folk just keep on doing it on this blog.
If you care about baseball in Israel, why don't you all try writing something productive or, better, yet, getting involved in a discussion intended to forward baseball's life in Israel?

Anonymous said...

Per Solomont in Arutz Sheva-- all debt have been paid off (Unbelievable!!)

The league suffered serious financial and organizational problems last year, but Solomont said debts have been paid off. "In the next three to five years, the challenge and the opportunity, is to develop a local fan base," he said.

Anonymous said...

Alan the fact that people tune into Tabloid and comment sophomoric or otherwise is furthering the cause of Israel baseball.

Grow up and get a sense of humor.

Anonymous said...

Tabloid Baby is this last post true.
Have all debts been paid as this last comment has said?

We need a story confirming this. Or is this just more BS.

Anonymous said...

It does not say in the Arutz Sheva report that debts have been paid!

Alan Gardner said...

Hey anonymous, tell me how the repetitive nonsense about Larry Baras being "fat and sweaty" and the baseless and nasty personal attacks against me, Wilson, Rollhaus and Rosen and, now, Holtz further the cause of baseball in Israel...and put a name to yourself, since you seem to suggest you know me. Cause I'm happy to discuss with someone I can identify why the nonsense does not help and what can help.
It's one thing to be angry at Baras and his crew for the problems they called, it's another thing to choose between calling him names or otherwise look to do something to make sure it doesn't happen again.
Just look at the crap that appears here, anonymously...one person reports that Solomont reported in Arutz Sheva the all debts have been paid off...an apparent lie because the last post before this one says that simply is not true. How does this absurd banter advance the cause of the sport?

Anonymous said...

Alan -

What exactly are you doing to advance the cause of baseball in Israel?

As far as I can see nothing. You were going to be part of a new league and nothing happened with that.

Why don't you look into the improper behavior of the JNF giving money to Larry without insisting that he provide an accounting.

larry baras said...

Alan loves my huge bat and he likes to play with my sweaty balls.

David said...

that last posting could very well have been Larry Baras himself

Alan Gardner said...

Well, anonymous, perhaps you raise a valid question for the JNF...I've met with them in the past, they have some good ideas and I cannot say they've engaged in wrongdoing, but why don't you come out of the closet and get involved yourself? Everyone knows the names by now, so why don't you write a letter asking the powers that be at JNF to answer your questions. The more people that come out of the woodwork and ask for answers, the more likely it is that answers will be obtained.
So long as you all remain in anonymity and question others actions while doing nothing, you continue to do nothing.
As far as the IPBL goes, what I can tell you is this.
It is a well-thought out venture. Very professional steps were taken, here and in Israel, to assess the situation, from nuts to bolts and a very impressive business plan was prepared. All of the participants are solid and there has been real investor interest. Anyone who is willing to be honest and was at the "summit meeting" in January can attest to that (I was not at the meeting, but was fully briefed).
Unfortunately, doing baseball business in Israel in the aftermath of the IBL's failures, without going into details, has been made a more complicated process than it should ever have to be.
The IPBL venture, however, is not dead. Let's just leave it at that.
My suggestion to all the naysayers and critics out there is to stand up and be accounted for, get involved in some meaningful way outside of this blog and try to get answers to your questions and/or present useful ideas that will advance the cause of baseball in Israel.
By the way, not knowing who you are, I cannot know how far you can see. Knowing that you have not been involved in anything I've done (or you wouldn't have written your post), I do know that you cannot have much information.
More importantly, I have been approachable about this stuff. Just ask some of the guys from last summer and you'll find out.
But back to you, champ. Why don't you take your question and do something with it. I completely support anyone who has a useful question for any of the players in the Israel baseball world. And maybe in the long run, I'll applaud you for, in some positive way, advancing the cause of baseball in Israel while the rest of the idiots waste their time making believe they're Larry Baras and others and write their insane comments while seemingly overdosing on local schnitzel and bug juice.

FABIAN said...

Ummm schnitzel. I got hungry just reading that part.

I also miss the peacocks and fruit bats.

Alan said...

We have some good schnitzel here in New York when you visit, bro...fruit bats and peacocks, well try the Central Park Zoo...