Monday, July 14, 2008

Israel Baseball League pitcher subject of biopic

If the Israel Baseball League looked better on paper than it worked out in real life, it certainly looks even better on the big screen. The rousing documentary Holy Land Hardball certainly showed how a filmmaker's touch can hone the ragged edges of reality into sharp, compelling drama-- and now, new inspiration is about to be wrung from the IBL desperation as a standout IBL player is about to get the documentary biopic treatment on his own.

Columnist Mike Sullivan reports on Seacoast Online, the website for the Portsmouth, New Hampshire Herald, that local Ari Alexenberg, the 45-year-old southpaw pitcher for the Petach Tikva Pioneers, "could be headed for Hollywood":

"Steve Sanger of Portsmouth-based Sanger Communications is making a movie of Alexenberg's story, which has been well documented in these pages. Alexenberg pitched professionally overseas at the age of 45 after not playing competitive, organized baseball until he was 23 — and that's just one part of his odyssey. Alexenberg is Jewish — his parents and a brother live in Israel — and fiercely proud of his heritage. The film will explore both his Jewish heritage and love of baseball. According to Sanger, 'the film is "in the can'" and currently being edited.'

"...Alexenberg also reported that he was contacted recently by a literary agent about a book deal."

Ari has tracked his baseball progress on a well-written blog. We reported last month that he says he won't be returning to Israel for the four-team, 20-game, three-week, momentum-keeping mini-season that may or not get underway on July 27th.


Anonymous said...

Ari is a good guy but please get us the real story with the IBL.

Anonymous said...


You guys are the best - We have total confidence that you are going to stay on top of the story.

I am waiting for another larry Baras cry for help on how you ruined him.

He deserves to be ruined.

Anonymous said...

tabloid baby would be nothing without google alerts.

Anonymous said...

Steve Sangers only credit is

Her Only Child (MOW) Lifetime Entertainment Television Assistant Set Decorator 2008

i'm soooooo impressed

Anonymous said...

Elli gets the story any way he can and sends it out to enlighten the masses. Thanks Elli!

Anonymous said...

Give me a break. A 45-year old catches on with a one-year baseball league? This is movie material? Jeez, the guys in Hollywood are really grasping at straws these days.

Jeffrey Rosen said...

try this one on for size: scroll to the bottom for a familiar name:

probing scout scams on front of Dominican baseball scene


Saturday, July 12th 2008, 10:57 PM

Melky Cabrera finds controversy sneaking up on him as Dominican report says he received only a portion of his bonus money upon signing with Yanks in 2001.

FBI and Major League Baseball investigators are combing the Dominican Republic, talking with baseball personnel as part of a probe to uncover whether MLB team executives and scouts received kickbacks from bonuses and signing money awarded to Dominican prospects.

Sources tell the Daily News the investigation includes Yankees scouts, while the Dominican newspaper El Caribe reported Friday that Yankee center fielder Melky Cabrera is in the middle of the controversy. The report says the Dominican-born Cabrera received only a portion of the reported $175,000 bonus he got in 2001 after signing as an amateur free agent. Cabrera, 23, was signed by Victor Mata - a Dominican native who is the Yankees' Latin American field coordinator - and scout Carlos RĂ­os. Mata played for the Yankees briefly in the mid-1980s and has been scouting for the Bombers over 15 years.

"I don't know nothing about that," Mata told the Daily News from the Dominican Republic when asked about the investigation. Mata said he is still employed by the Yankees.

Another major league scout, who asked not to be named, told The News "big names" would soon surface in the investigation. He added that scouts, executives and talent finders all look to exploit young Dominican baseball prospects who more often than not come from extreme poverty. The scout would not discuss the matter in depth and said he feared his phone had been tapped due to the seriousness of the allegations and investigation.

If the suspicions are true, it could snowball into a major headache for MLB as it tries to improve the practices of signing players from talent-rich Latin America.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the probe began after MLB's newly formed Department of Investigations got a tip that several White Sox scouting personnel were skimming money from Dominican prospects. The club fired senior personnel director Dave Wilder and scouts Victor Mateo and Domingo Toribio in May.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said he is "unaware of any federal probe that involves the Yankees." A Mets team official, meanwhile, said general manager Omar Minaya has not been contacted by the FBI. "I can't comment on anything I don't know anything about," Minaya told The News.

The probe has been far-reaching, the L.A. Times reported, with authorities interviewing executives from all 30 teams. An MLB source, however, said the FBI is looking into improprieties involving only a handful of teams.

FBI Chicago bureau spokesman Ross Rice would not confirm or deny an investigation. ESPN.com reported late Friday that Washington Nationals GM Jim Bowden and special assistant Jose Rijo, a Dominican and the MVP of the 1990 World Series, were being investigated. Bowden denied the report, telling The Associated Press: "There's no wrongdoing. I met with FBI investigators. I think there are many people throughout baseball who are going to be talking with the FBI and Major League Baseball, trying to help get all the information out there on all the problems that exist over there. At no time when I met with the FBI investigators were questions revolving around myself or Jose Rijo."

While a certified agent usually takes between 3%-5% of whatever a player signs for, buscones - the term for brokers between Latin American players and big-league teams - have been known to take as much as 30%-40%. With so many players coming from Latin American countries, scouts and executives are now pitting major league teams against each other and subsequently driving the price of prospects up, ensuring an even higher cut from the deal.

In 2005, baseball commissioner Bud Selig told The News that he wanted to address the buscon problem. "We ought to be able to do it in a socially responsible way," Selig said then. "Not hurt ourselves, but not let the kids get hurt."

That same year, The News reported on a marriage-for-visa scam being operated out of the Dominican Republic, where buscones - or "finders" - preyed upon baseball prospects and asked the players to enter into fake marriages in order to get Dominican women visas to enter the United States. Two Yankee pitching prospects were permanently banned from entering the U.S. after their involvement. At the time, Mata tried to help the two pitchers - Maximo Nelson and Juan De Leon - have their visas restored, but the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo denied the request.

Anonymous said...

well, at least Maximo now has a harem of Geisha girls who love his 95 mph heater and the way his slider dips...

pooper scooper said...

From the bottom of our hearts, thanks for trying Dan. From the vendors, players, staff, and fans, we appreciate the time effort, and willingness to put your name on the line to try and help.

I'm just sorry that they decided to leave you on the island, but in the end, people get what they deserve. It's just too bad that people like you who try to help sometimes get caught up in their wake.

Again, thanks Dan. What's the Yiddish word? You are a real mensch!

As for David Solomont - The yiddish words are schakren, and schwindler. Unlike Baras who made huge mistakes but was well intentioned, you... thanks for setting everything back een further.

Let's hope there is someone out there who steps up and does the right thing for the right reasons, because there are so many good people with good intentions involved in this idea of having baseball in Israel, that it is only a matter of time before it all comes together and works.

Anonymous said...


You are a moron. Larry Baras well intentioned.

Give me a break. what the f are you talking about.

pooper scooper said...

You can be well intentioned and be a moron when it comes to buisiness decisions. Nobody has demonstrated to me that Baras ever meant to hurt anyone, but obviously he screwed up pretty badly. That's what th F- I'm talking about. I never said he shouldn't be blamed, but please the guy is not a swindler or liar like Solomont. Baras is just a putz who though everything would just work itself out!

Anonymous said...

Larry swindled people out of over 1.5 million dollars and the amount of money that is still being raised for project baseball through the JNF is a major fraud that is still continuing.

This money is bring raised under fraudulent premises and is not finding its way to Israel.

This story is yet to be told and when it is Larry will go to jail and the JNF will have a major black eye.

So POOPER , I mean Larry, stop trying to spin.

Anonymous said...

larry baras came back to Israel from a "fund-raising" trip to the States last summer and looked everyone and their mothers in the eye and insisted that his efforts had developed a nest egg of cash for the IBL to run for the next 3 years. untrue. he agreed to pay the players cash if they wished after a near work stoppage and then called that off and bounced a boatload of checks at the end of the season (you'll have to convince a lot of people that he didn't know that those checks would bounce)...he has now been trying to raise additional monies by showing a docu-video that only covers the "IBL story" from its early stages to the opening day, with some side stories, but no mention of all the troubles that beset the league during and after the season through today...hardly a stand-up way to go about his business, even if he's doing it from under a rock these days...
not a con artist...jeez...let's not be so afraid to hurt his feelings with the truth.

Anonymous said...

Yeah - way to tell it like it is.

Larry you are despicable. What truly makes Larry dangerous is that cleverly crafted persona of a boob.

Don't let it fool you with that Oh you have ruined me line. He is out there hustling people and he will continue to hustle people until he is stopped.

Anonymous said...

Now POOPER is quiet because he sees what a moron he is.

Anonymous said...

Will the IBL have the decency to say we are not going to play this year or are they going to just say nothing.

The sad thing is Israel Baseball is a great idea.

Only a con artist like Larry Baras good f up such a great idea.

Anonymous said...

the countdown continues...11 days till opening day

Anonymous said...

Larry Baras well intentioned???
What are you smoking?
Explain: 6 LLC s now a 7th/
Checks bounced during and after season and now after he claimed once again that he has the proper financing/
Poor financial records if any/
No financial reports
His investment banker resigns/
His advisory board resigns(and yes Kurtzer ,Goldklang and the like are good people)/
Puts Dan Rootenberg as incoming President and then lies to him /
Natalie Blacher sues for fraud/
There is more to follow as a sex scandal with Larry and a board member will be revealed

Lary Baras is a common criminal.