Remember the Israel Baseball League?
Remember how we spent an entire year covering the fallout from the inspirational, fun, yet disastrous 2007 inaugural season of the Israel Baseball League, and followed every lawsuit, liar, layabout and lunkhead as they schemed, blathered, promised, fought, sued, threatened, begged and bullshat until by the same time 365 days later, we had to throw our hands up and walk away?
We ended our intense coverage on that first anniversary, but not before starting up a special Baseball in Israel companion site-- and not without regret, as we wrote:
"...The story grew on its own... with all its intrigue, deceit, betrayals and bizarre and unintentionally comedic twists. And the characters-- including a bagel baron, a champion competitive eater, a fast food defector, a ballplaying attorney, an overgrown Peter Pan, a mysterious Dominican, a toymaker, a billionaire, a US ambassador, a neglected wife, a controversial web mogul-- only made the saga richer.
"In the past twelve months and more than 300 posts, this site-- a tabloidcentric site of pop culture and media criticism and satire, became the meeting place and sounding board for ballplayers and sports fans around the world-- not mention a place where anonymity allowed key players in the story to float rumours and leads.
"All credit goes to Elli Wohlgelernter..."
We also said we’d report back when there was something worthwhile to report. So Elli Wohlgelernter, the top Jerusalem-based journalist known in these parts as Our Man Elli In Israel-- the man whose reportage, hard work and expertise our comprehensive coverage was built upon-- has this report:
Professional Baseball in Israel rained out for 2009
by ELLI WOHLGELERNTER
Special to TabloidBaby.com
JERUSALEM - Forget about professional baseball in Israel in 2009.
Sources tell me that the current economic meltdown is making it difficult to jumpstart a professional league of any kind in Israel in the foreseeable future.
"The economic climate is not the most conducive for these kinds of ventures,” says a figure close to the Israel Association of Baseball (Israel’s governing body for baseball and the only group authorized to run a pro league here). “But hopefully by 2010 there will be some kind of pro league here.”
The source adds that the IBA “hopes we’ll have something concrete to say this month, but it ain’t over till its over”—which seems to imply there are some serious negotiations being conducted.
Other sources tell me that one thing is for sure - the IAB is not negotiating with David Solomont. The controversial Boston businessman, who installed himself as the de facto head of the Israel Baseball League is persona non grata ever since he announced a twenty-game 2008 IBL season ... make that seven-game… er, six-game... would you believe a five-game "festivus" that never took place?
Even so, the frontman for disgraced IBL founder and former president Larry Baras continues to try and raise cash for a pro baseball league in Israel.
His “Twitter” page-- his preferred means of announcement-- states:
Getting ready for a hectic week with 3 deals to close! 12:28 PM Nov 28th from web
"working on several transactions -- Electric Vehicle Propulsion Systems is "hot". Of course, baseball is right up there as well:) 11:46 AM Nov 18th from web
"Working on Electric Vehicle Propulsion Systems, Solar Powered iphone Charger/Carrying Case, and Baseball! 8:26 AM Oct 13th"
The problem is that Solomont’s public displays are hindering others from moving forward.
Another insider who doesn’t want his name used:
"Solomont is going around telling people that all he has to do to get a license from the IAB is to pay debts of the IBL, and that the IAB's reluctance to deal with him is simply a matter of money, and not of trustworthiness. That's been complicating anyone else's efforts to get serious traction on an alternative approach."
That complaint is exactly what was written here on the Tabloid Baby site on August 22nd:
As long as the people leading the alleged IBL (Larry Baras, David Solomont Martin Berger and the gang) hang around, it will be tougher to get anyone else interested in taking a new approach. Even if the IAB puts the IBL out of our misery by deciding it will no longer deal with its "executives," any other group stepping forward will have to deal with the baggage.”
Sources also tell me that "Solomont reportedly has been claiming that he has the ability to raise $ 5million. I'm not sure anyone believes him, but the Jewish National Fund apparently has maintained contact with him."
We’ve asked it before and we'll ask it again:
Why is the JNF in bed with the IBL?
And how much money is stuffed inside the mattress of that bed?
It’s good to be back on the hunt. Not that I ever left.