So who'll be running publicity for the new Dominican Republic of the Middle East Baseball League? Not Marty Appel, the New York Yankees' public relations legend who had the job the first time around, before the coup by El Presidente David Solomonte, when the league was known as the Israel Baseball League.
The PR maven who helped get the original IBL off the ground with brilliant stunts like having the Modi'in Miracle draft Sandy Koufax, tells Our Man Elli in Israel that he was approached by the Boston businessmen running the DRMEBL to help turn the tide of public criticism.
Appel says he was hesitant, torn between the great promise and challenge of baseball in Israel and his skepticism about the direction the DRMEBL seemed to be taking. He says he offered to take the job if several conditions were met:
1) He be paid for last year's work (Appel, like the players and former IBL commissioner Daniel Kurtzer, has not been paid);
2) He be paid for this summer in advance;
3) The Dominican Republic of The Middle East Baseball League agree to operate with full disclosure and financial transparency in order to win back credibility.
Appel says he never heard back.
He tells Our Man Elli:
"I was hoping that the group would be able to stage a 2008 season, and there had been an offer to me to return to serve as the league's media representative, but I never heard anything further and feared this might be the reason.
"It's disappointing, but I remain hopeful that there will be pro baseball in Israel in the future and that the Israeli people be given a full opportunity to experience this great game. Hopefully, the scaled-back plans for this year will result in new enthusiasm for the concept."