1999-2010

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

DAVID SOLOMONT IS ISRAEL BASEBALL LEAGUE'S "INTERIM PRESIDENT"! PROMISES TO MAKE ISRAEL "THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC OF THE MIDDLE EAST"!


In wake of Our Man Elli in Israel's exclusive report last night that former Israel Baseball League player and "incoming president" Dan Rootenberg has resigned from the league amid frustrations and unanswered questions from an inner circle that includes embattled founder Larry Baras and controversial Boston businessman David Solomont, comes the expected cancellation of the new IBL's promised four-team, 20-game, three-week, "momentum-keeping" mini-season.

But the news release from the IBL bunker this morning includes several other revelations, shifts and promises that are sure to generate more controversy, and extend this story and its accompanying investigations in 2009:

* David Solomont is the IBL's "interim president."

* A brief, "best-of-seven, "festival-style" tournament pitting an Israeli all-star team against international players will begin on August 14th to coincide with the Beijing Olympics. The series will include youth clinics. The international team will be comprised of all-star players from last year, the league said.

* Solomont says the league hopes to begin winter play this year.

* Winter facilities have not yet been arranged.

* Solomont says the new management has raised enough money to pay off all remaining debts and finance the league for at least two more seasons... and believes it can be profitable.

* Former Boston Red Sox General Manager Dan Duquette, who oversaw player development last year, will now take on an expanded role as director of operations.

* Duquette and new board member Gary Woolf will oversee long-term development, including the launch of the winter league in southern Israel.

* The long-term goal is to attract international players along the lines of the winter leagues in the Caribbean.

* Solomont says: "This is going to be the Dominican Republic of the Middle East."

* The IBL is in the process of hiring a full-time staff, including senior sports-marketing professionals who will be based in Israel and the U.S.

* League founder Larry Baras, will no longer be involved.

* Officials at the Israel Association of Baseball, a local organization that promotes the sport in the country, did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

* Solomont said he expected to work with the IAB "for years to come."


The expanded Associated Press story, from The International Herald Tribune:

Israeli baseball league to shorten season, launch winter league in latest shakeup

JERUSALEM: Israel's beleaguered professional baseball league on Wednesday unveiled its latest plan for survival, saying it would scale back its upcoming season to a brief exhibition series next month before launching a winter league and returning to full strength next summer.

The shakeup was the latest twist in the league's short but tumultuous history. Just last month, the league said it was coming back for a second season after an inaugural campaign that left it on the brink of collapse. At the time, it said four teams would compete, down from six last year, and the season would be cut in half to 20 games.

But after further discussions, the league's new management concluded a brief "festival-style" tournament pitting an Israeli all-star team against international players would be the best way to generate fan interest and showcase homegrown talent, said David Solomont, a Boston businessman who is serving as the IBL's interim president.

He said the best-of-seven series, which will include youth clinics, would begin on Aug. 14 to coincide with the Beijing Olympics. "The plan to host an Olympic style baseball festival is a fabulous way to promote the sport and give the Israeli athletes the attention they deserve as local baseball heroes," he said.

The international team will be comprised of all-star players from last year, the league said.

The inaugural 2007 season delivered a respectable level of play — roughly on par with single-A minor league baseball in the U.S. — and more than a dozen players went on to sign professional contracts.

But in a Middle Eastern country where football is king and baseball is little more than a curiosity, the league suffered from low attendance, financial difficulties and a mass defection of executive board members after the season. The troubles fueled persistent rumors that the league would fold.

Solomont said the new management has raised enough money to pay off all remaining debts and finance the league for at least two more seasons. He said the league's new investors believe it can be profitable. "In the next three to five years, the challenge, and the opportunity, is to develop a local fan base," he said.

Former Boston Red Sox General Manager Dan Duquette, who oversaw player development last year, will now take on an expanded role as director of operations. Duquette and new board member Gary Woolf, a Boston businessman with years of sports-management experience, will oversee long-term development, including the launch of the winter league in southern Israel.

"Now that the potential is established a more robust and sophisticated league, teams, management and vision can be engaged," Woolf said. "The entire team believes this enterprise can become an explosive element not only in Israel but have international marketing and business appeal."

Solomont said the league hopes to begin winter play this year, though he said facilities have not yet been arranged. The long-term goal is to attract international players along the lines of the winter leagues in the Caribbean. "This is going to be the Dominican Republic of the Middle East," he said.

Solomont does not expect to serve as league president for long. It is in the process of hiring a full-time staff, including senior sports-marketing professionals who will be based in Israel and the U.S.

The league's founder, Boston businessman Larry Baras, will no longer be involved, and Dan Rootenberg, a former player who was appointed league president last month, has decided not to accept the position, the league said.

Officials at the Israel Association of Baseball, a local organization that promotes the sport in the country, did not immediately return messages seeking comment. The group has had rocky relations with the professional league, but Solomont said he expected to work with the IAB "for years to come."

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Enough with the promises.

Now that the league has lied to Dan Rootenberg what players would play for these crooks.

They would have to be the dumbest of the dumb.

Anonymous said...

These guys need to be stopped.

They said they wanted to do something good for Israel.

As far as I can see they have taken something so wholesome as baseball and are lending Israel's name to something so corrupt and ugly.

Anonymous said...

You know who is owed a huge apology :

KEN HOLTZMAN

He had this story right even before tabloid baby (which deserves great credit) and he was run out of Israel on a rail.

Kudos to you Ken Holtzman for speaking your mind and standing up for what is right.

Anonymous said...

If the IAB does business with these guys, not only is baseball doomed in Israel, but mark these words, eventually, somebody will end up in an Israeli and/or American jail. And, if you believe Larry Baras will not continue to be involved in this nonsense (as a silent partner), I got some good prices for you on the Brooklyn, George Washington, Golden Gate and London Bridges. Messrs. Katz and Kurz, be forewarned. And get smart or cede the business of doing baseball in Israel to people who are really willing to get the job done with legitimate developers, whoever they may be in the long run.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't we get another missive from Larry telling us how he tried so hard, gave lollipops to little girls and how he is just an all around swell guy.

I love that sweaty fat f-ck!!!

Anonymous said...

Winter baseball in Southern Israel!
Great idea, but what about the rainy season?
Do you need fields?
Do you need fans?
Do you really think that people are that stupid to invest in this non-sense?
Sounds like another scam !

J BENSON said...

im in if it all goes winter ball would be a great idea...so what if it rains it rains everywhere else in the baseball world!!! Keep on pressing boys!!!

Anonymous said...

Bensen:
Do you know how it doesn't rain in Israel in summer months? Well, it pours sometimes for days at a time in winter. Once again it is great to see how you stick up for teamates who have not gotten paid.
Did you see Justin Cardinal's post that his $1500 check bounced?

Anonymous said...

For another thing, Eilat is in the freakin middle of the desert...getting a baseball field there is the equivalent of believing in mirages...one can appreciate fellas being gung ho about baseball in Israel (or anywhere for that matter...Jason has played in a lot of places around the world), but it is time for a reality check. it is becoming dangerous to encourage people to support an enterprise that has been jerking people around for over a year now (wasn't the Dominican uprising about exactly a year ago?)...
That Justin's and probably others new checks bounced should be the last straw...when are the rest of the guys going to band together and tell these assholes to take a collective long hike in the desert? when is there going to be a collective conscience rather than selective ignorance?

Alfred said...

Jason is right.
They can play ball in Eilat. Solomont said that all debts are going to be paid and they have enough money for two seasons.
Why is everyone doubting him?
Solomont is a good guy.
Larry Baras ,the brainchild of baseball in Israel,is doing his best. So what if his accounting records are a bit sketchy. So what if 90% of what he says is a lie.
Baseball will be succesful with these great men like Solomont and Baras. Solomont has the money and is minuts from clearing all past debts . Just you wait and see!

Anonymous said...

justins check isnt the only one that bounced. and i wrote solomont and told him and he didnt even respond and that was 2 days ago!

Anonymous said...

E-mail takes several days to go through the airwaves. Solomont will be taking care of it. He is a man of his word.
And another thing , Larry is a man of his word too.
Be patient. As Eric Holtz said, upstart ventures take time to develope. His megamillion dollar business took 3 years.

baseballbunny said...

Anonymous said.....

"For another thing, Eilat is in the freakin middle of the desert...getting a baseball field there is the equivalent of believing in mirages..."

Nobody thought the Jews could make the desert bloom either... and now that desert is a country called Israel.

Anonymous said...

Fraud at its best!

Anonymous said...

hey baseball bunny...israelis are amazing and the most industrious people in the world...they have turned the desert into a fertile wonderland in the middle of nothing....but...
they don't know baseball and, thanks to the IBL elite, they know nothing more about the game and have no greater interest, or knowledge that it exists, than they did in 2006.
in other words, they do things they have to do to survive...baseball is not a survival item and, right now, the native population could care less.

Anonymous said...

David Solomont is a crook adn aliar and a discrace to the Jewish people. They should use his head as the official baseball.

Anonymous said...

when is the winter league starting?When will the web pages be updated?

Anonymous said...

David Solomont screwed $4mil in his creditors as is clear from his new bankruptcy. He was sued for embezzlement and has more judgements against against him than you can count, with counts including fraud. Anyone who thinks of this man as honorable has their head in the sand. I personally know many people in the community who were screwed by David and the list keeps growing. Are you going to be next?

Anonymous said...

Gary Woolf's mailing address?