Sunday, August 31, 2008

Secrets & Lies: So Sarah Palin never gave birth to a Down Syndrome baby after all-- her daughter did?

At first it appeared that Sarah Palin had given birth to a baby with Down Syndrome earlier this year in order to prove a point about the "right to life."

Now, there's apparently evidence that Sarah, who raised eyebrows returning to work as governor three days after a premature delivery, never had a baby at all, but in old-school extreme-Christian fashion, pretended, in order to cover up for her sixteen-year-old daughter, the actual mother of the child (ask Jack Nicholson about that ploy).

A tip of the Tabloid Baby hat to the Daily Kos for a great little investigation.

Let's see how long it takes for the "mainstream media" to jump on this one. They'll probably wait til the most opportune moment for her to get bounced from the race, but why wait? Because when it comes to a major part of the electorate, this sort of big public lie can actually help Sarah Palin, as the Juno/Juneau twist will only deepen the Lifetime movie "story" this dangerous loose cannon is running on.  In fact, that could have been the plan, all along.

(Click photo to enlarge belly)

At seven months, allegedly.

Read the evidence and decide if it's worth following up.

(UPDATE: Drudge links to the backlash --"Lefty Bloggers Go After Palin's 16 year old Daughter..."--  a clever way to get to the story without angering the constituency.) 

Give til it hurts

Killer Kowalski

Lara Logan swimsuit photos rule okay

Our quest to win back our readership after our yearlong fling with Israeli baseball has gotten a big boost thanks to Lara Logan, the sexy lactating foreign correspondent who just got her booty grounded in Washington with a plum gig meant to keep her not from getting killed, but getting knocked up and busting up another marriage in a hot warzone.

Forty thousand unsolicited hits alone on a Labor Day Weekend Saturday!

All thanks to a recent report that Lara's off the road after her brawling Iraq love triangle scandal and settled into her gig as "chief foreign affairs correspondent" (funny she'd have the word "affairs" in the title) in deadly dull D.C... all because, two years ago, back before the "mainstream" gave a hoot, we had our Tabloid Baby nation on alert to look for the legendary Lara Logan swimsuit photos she'd posed for before her rise to fame as the hottest and hottest-looking television news host and correspondent of our time (the ones that helped give her the nickname 34D Lara in the UK).

Of course we found them.

We still say CBS should give her Katie Couric's job. We'd watch.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Kate Moss is on a naked posing binge

Just when we were thinking that maybe Kate Moss was losing it to age, champagne and blow, our model comes on strong in the new issues of Interview and W magazines. And a golden statue of Kate (the largest since the time of ancient Egypt) will be unveiled at the British museum in October, the same month the new Oasis album is due (October 7th-- now on pre-order at iTunes). We're all young again.

We found the collection here. And yes, this is how we start getting readers back after a year of Israeli baseball coverage...

Kate Coe is back with DeepGlamour.net

Kate Coe is back with a new mission and an exciting new website.

Kate, the Tabloid Baby pal and influential Internet investigative journalist, has been lying low since she split from Media Bistro's FishBowlLA website in April.

Her new turf is fashion, design, and adverts and media and-- Kate explains in the release for Deep Glamour:

"As of Monday, Virgina Postrel (The Atlantic, author of The Substance of Style) and I can be found blogging at DeepGlamour.net.

"We'll be writing about glamour, allure and all the seductive images that bombard us in the media and culture and what they really mean. We'll have exclusive interviews with mysterious and important figures like The Manolo, Simon Doonan, and everyone else we can seduce.

"Please feel free to post about our launch and link to us.

"We can promise provocative, witty posts with Virginia's astute analysis and my tart commentary on everything from Barack Obama to Bravo's Top Design, as well as brilliant writing from guest editors not found all over the internet.

"A woman can go farther with a lipstick
than a man with a Winchester
and a side of bacon."

Friday, August 29, 2008

Dr. Ruehl on flying pig: "Perhaps... some fly!"

Los Angeles-based performance artist Joaquin Blanco says he saw a flying pig while motorcycling through LA's rustic Topanga Canyon. A flying pig? We asked Tabloid Baby pal, contributor, columnist and TV, movie and music video star Dr. Franklin Ruehl, Ph.D.to give us the lowdown on the possibility this is real. Here's his reply (which includes a sidetrip through Bigfoot country):

As with other serious cryptozoologists, I was most disgusted with the recent ploy by 2 buffoons down in Georgia to try to pass off a frozen ape suit as a Bigfoot cadaver! It gave skeptics an undeserved field day to scoff at legitimate efforts to prove such entities do indeed exist.

But undeterred, I still maintain that Bigfoot may well be a genuine entity. For instance, the coelacanth, a fossil fish that had been presumed extinct for millions of years, a fish that actually predated the dinos, was suddenly found flourishing in 1938 off of the coast of Madagascar, and other schools have been discovered off of Java in recent years. I stress that this is not a tiny guppy, but a rather sizable marine denizen that is 5 to 6 feet in length, weighing approximately 100 pounds, yet went unnoticed for an appreciable amount of time.

And the mountain gorilla, another hefty creature, was not discovered until the beginning of the 20th century.

So Bigfoot and its cousins around the globe, such as the Yeti in Tibet, the Almasty in Russia, and the Migoi in Bhutan, may indeed exist and have simply found ecological niches to hide and survive in.

On a personal note, when I flew up to northern Manitoba to the community of Norway House for the TV show," A Current Affair," in 2005 to hunt for Bigfoot based on a bargeman's videotape of a such an entity apparently emerging from hibernation, i was most impressed with the dense forestation on all sides, the left, the right, the north, east, south, and west...you could easily have had 100 such creatures concealed within.

While our team did not find Bigfoot, we did uncover a significant amount of secondary evidence. For instance, we found bird bones that had their feathers peeled off before being eaten, something a bear, for example, would not do, but perhaps an action an intelligent Bigfoot might take. And, the locals were bringing us sophisticated digital photos of possible Bigfoot footprints. Indeed, one contingent even delivered a large box of dirt with the footprint embedded within!

So, despite this recent fiasco, I think there is a substantial chance of ultimately proving this beast indeed exists.

Now, in contrast to my furor over the Bigfoot deception, I am delighted with the recent photos of the Flying Pig! Here, we have clear-cut photographic evidence that can readily be studied rather than something hidden away in a freezer!

The term, “When pigs fly,” refers to a supposedly impossible event actually occurring. The origin of the phrase apparently derives from pigs being delivered to an abattoir on barges in the river in Cincinnati, Ohio. As they were stacked one atop another, low-lying fog enshrouded the lower portion, so the barge was rendered invisible, with the pigs apparently floating, or flying, in the air.

While I am not yet prepared to commit myself on the status of the flying pig's authenticity, I do try to keep an open mind on the seemingly impossible… perhaps, despite their girth, some have managed to actually fly.

However, I submit that the existence of Bigfoot is more probable.

May the Power of the Cosmos be with You!

Dr. Franklin Ruehl, Ph.D.

Dr. Ruehl uses his Bizarre News to pitch a script

The Realm Of Bizarre News 34: Suicide In Hollywood

Tabloid Baby pal, contributor, columnist and TV, movie and music video star Dr. Franklin Ruehl, Ph.D. also takes on a 96-tentacled octopus and takes a leap from the Hollywood sign in this latest entry.

Flying pig story flies across the world

We reported last week that noted Los Angeles-based performance artist Joaquin Blanco was claiming he'd spotted a flying pig while motorcycling through LA's rustic Topanga Canyon.

Although the accalimed artist provided what he called photographic "evidence," we'll admit we were wary.

Our skepticism was allayed somewhat by the real fears that Senor Blanco expressed after we ran the first story. He'd asked us to be "discreet"-- odd, since he knew we'd post this photos, yet in light of further correspondence, we've kept the pig on a back burner.

But now the story's been picked up internationally by the much-read UK website Anorak.

So all bets are off.

Thanks, John McCain!

Whew! When we heard that John McCain picked Palin as his vice presidential candidate, we thought he'd gone for this guy!

Then we thought it was Tina Fey! What a relief to find out that McCain's running mate is an extreme right wing, gun-toting, sightly-wacky Christian anti-abortion novice governor from a corrupt wilderness state who herself is embroiled in an ethics and sex scandal, born in the heart of White Supremacist Idaho and unlikely to draw single Hillary fan.

Thanks, John!

Thursday, August 28, 2008


After a year, we end our coverage of Israel baseball

One year ago today, Tabloid Baby entered into a bold experiment that would take our readers into the heart of an unfolding story that on the surface was far afield from our usual tabloid universe, but which from the start had contained all the elements of the best, most engrossing tabloid stories of our time.

From the day one year ago that we inadvertently jumped the gun and became the first to publish Elli Wohlgelernter's muckraking expose of the Israel Baseball League's first season, we saw that there was much more to this story than a well-intended attempt to spread the good word of baseball to a foreign land.

And the story grew on its own from there, 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.

Known to our readers as Our Man Elli in Israel, this dogged, learned Jerusalem-based journalist worked the story alone, amid much criticism and constant attack, and he did it for no pay and for no other reason than the satisfaction of nailing a great story first. Elli was a legend in the States long before he jumped on this story. And the lessons he gave to every mainstream sports journalist in this saga should have editors jumping to hire him.

As for the "mainstream": To its discredit, the mainstream sports media largely ignored the story unless personal or financial considerations moved an editor or columnist to copy one of our posts or float a story from a source. Their lack of action on and interest in this international sports scandal proves any point we might want to make better than we could hope.

But now it's up to them to pick up the ball, follow our leads, and see where they go. After all, this story ends with a question mark. Why did the IBL's much-heralded second season devolve to a "show fest," and ultimately to a no-show?

What was the scheme?

Your move.

We gave it a year. We drove our regular readers to distraction and lost thousands of fans. But maybe we gained a few. You can find all the coverage on our Baseball in Israel archive site. If there are arrests, or major developments, we'll certainly call attention to them, but as for our weekly and daily coverage of baseball in Israel-- game called.

Game Called. Upon the field of life
the darkness gathers far and wide,
the dream is done, the score is spun
that stands forever in the guide.
Nor victory, nor yet defeat
is chalked against the players name.
But down the roll, the final scroll,
shows only how he played the game.

Here's how it started, and where it ends:

28 August 2007
07:00 AM

World Exclusive! Special Report! Can't anyone here run this game? Elli Wohlgelernter on the scandalous debut of the Israel Baseball League

Readers of Tabloid Baby know him as Our Man Elli in Israel, our longtime pal and veteran print and broadcast journalist who, more than a decade ago left his native New York City and Yankees for life in Jerusalem, Israel (and subject of the documentary film project, Sex & Baseball. Many others know him as Elli Wohlgelernter, television reporter for the Israeli Broadcasting Authority and freelance print journalist whose reports on life in the Big Bagel have appeared in newspapers from The Jerusalem Post to The New York Times.

Now, in this exclusive report, Elli Wohlgelernter reports on the wild first season of the much-anticipated Israel Baseball League, which led off an eight-week, 45-game season in June:

The Oys of Summer

How Israel's season in the sun
turned into a season in Hell


BAPTIST VILLAGE, Israel - The Israel Baseball League started out with high hopes, an almost mystical dream that resonated deeply with Jews across the United States: a professional baseball league in Israel!

But the result, say many, were more errors than hits: players threatening to strike when paychecks were late; a manager hired to help give face to the fledgling league leaving in the middle of the season, after trashing the league to the media; and a player almost killed by a batting practice line drive, an accident that might have been prevented with proper equipment.

The IBL was created two years ago by Boston businessman Larry Baras, who cultivated glowing press and fan interest in the United States. Baras assembled a distinguished team of advisers, executives, financial backers and former players, to help launch what in essence was a start-up company in a foreign country.

The stated idea was to generate enthusiasm and fan interest by promising, among other things, a range of marketing gimmicks borrowed from minor league ballparks in the states: karaoke night, speed dating night, sack racing, sumo wrestling competitions, and even ballpark weddings. To further build anticipation, the league’s Web site prominently displayed a countdown clock giving days, minutes, and hours until opening day.

But while the marketing may have worked among the Jews in the U.S. and the English-speaking “Anglo community” here, the league barely registered with Israelis, who were largely ignored in the marketing plans-- and insulted to boot.

David Rosenthal, a sports reporter for Walla!, the biggest Israeli Web portal, posted a story four days before opening day, critical of the way the six-team league was being sold exclusively to an overseas audience. “Excuse me, what about us?” read the headline.

Still, for those Anglo fans who did come out, it was a joy, whether hearing Hatikva sung before each game-- without taking off their hats-- eating kosher hot dogs, getting close to the players, or hearing a call for afternoon prayers being announced in the middle of the fifth inning.


But what they didn't know was what was going on in the dugout. Many of the players-- 120 recruited from around the world-- had previously played some professional baseball, a half-dozen even at the Triple-A level, a rung below the Major Leagues. As such, they were expecting a more professional environment, and were greatly disappointed: the housing accommodations were called a hostel, an army barrack, even a homeless shelter; air conditioning wasn’t working in a half-dozen rooms the first week, in the midst of a brutal heat wave; there was no arrangement for laundry service; and the food was so bad, players said, that they eventually lost an average of seven to 10 pounds, or more.

“I’ve lost almost 17 pounds since I’ve been here,” said Scott Jarmakowicz, a catcher for the Bet Shemesh Blue Sox. “Over half my paycheck, at least half, has gone to food. It’s not sustainable eating the same schnitzel and boiled eggs three times a day. I’m a catcher, and it takes its toll. I’m sure I would have lost some weight, but not 17 pounds.”

But that wasn’t even the main gripe. Players just wanted to play baseball, and were expecting the necessities that accompany any sport. But when they arrived at their dorm facilities at Kfar Hayarok just north of Tel Aviv, there was no ice to soothe sore muscles, nor a weight room facility, absolute staples for athletes in any sport.

The league made provisions for ice to be bought, until an ice machine was obtained a couple of weeks into the season; and arrangements were made for players to use nearby gyms. Most of the players were willing to look past the peripheral deficiencies in order to play baseball, a love they all shared, and a dream they all nourished. But here, too, they were working under a severe handicap.

Bones of contention

Arriving only three days before the season began, the players had no time for pre-season workouts; and then there were the fields themselves. The best facility was Baptist Village in Petah Tikva, a beautiful diamond that hosts baseball and softball for the Maccabiah Games.

But the other two fields were bones of contention among the players: One was at Gezer, where the outfield grass sloped upward; there was no warning track in left and center fields; the outfield fence wasn’t padded; and there was a light pole on the field in right. Moreover, the right field foul line was 280 feet, making it feel like a little league pasture, and skewing players’ statistics.

The third field was Sportek in Tel Aviv, which was not even built when the season started. This situation left two fields for six teams and a schedule out of whack: teams had too many days off, managers were unable to set up a proper pitching rotation, and no team completed its full 45-game schedule-- four teams played 41 games, and two played 40. Moreover, neither Gezer nor Sportek had lights, which meant games had to start at 5 p.m., an inconvenient time for working fans.

When Sportek finally opened July 10, 16 days into the eight-week season-– and with a right-field line even shorter than Gezer's-- it still wasn’t ready, with potentially dangerous field conditions.

“There are rocks, glass, and pieces of rusty metal we pulled out of the ground,” said Jarmakowicz. “You can slide on a rock anywhere, but most fields aren’t gong to have three bars sticking out of it. And these are hard fences, you can really get hurt.”

Commissioner Dan Kurtzer, former U.S. ambassador to Israel, concurred. “We need to improve the fields. We used them [Gezer and Sportek], but they are not really at a professional level.”

Near-fatal disaster

At first the ballparks also did not have proper equipment, from little things like pitchers’ resin bags, to important items like screens at the bases during batting practice, to crucial equipment like batting cages, which protect those not on the field from getting hurt during pre-game batting practice. This lack of protection almost resulted in a fatal disaster.

On July 11 at Gezer, Reynaldo Cruz, a 24-year-old star outfielder from the Dominican Republic playing for the Petah Tikva Pioneers, committed a cardinal sin and turned his back on batting practice. Standing near his dugout situated very close to the field, he was struck in the back of the head by a line drive off the bat of Modi’in’s Adalberto Paulino.

Cruz was knocked cold for a couple of minutes and lay on the ground shaking, which gave the surrounding players a fright.

There was a 20-minute wait for an ambulance to arrive before Cruz was taken to Assaf Harofeh hospital, where he stayed for two weeks, was released, and went back in complaining of dizzy spells.

Cruz’s season was done, but he was alive.

“Gezer is a particular problem-- we probably should have anticipated more safety requirements at Gezer,” said Kurtzer. “Secondly, the players themselves have been too lax all season, not wearing batting helmets, and not paying attention on the field during practice. So the horse escapes, the barn door gets closed. We did institute some better safety procedures at Gezer.”

The forfeit

The players were also vociferous in their criticism of the umpiring. In one famous incident that was subsequently posted on YouTube (above), one of the league’s best players, Ryan Crotin, argued an umpire’s call, got thrown out of the game, refused to leave the batter’s box, and his team was declared to have lost on forfeit.

“There [have] been a couple of problems with the umpires here,” said one player on his independent blog. “They don't know some of the rules. They don't know correct umpire positioning. They have inconsistent strike zones at times. They have a bad habit of ejecting players for no specific reason. And most importantly, some of them have trouble taking control of the game.”

Because of all this happening the first three weeks of the season, the league worked hard at spin control. In a July 13 letter from Martin Berger, president and COO of the IBL, the players were told that everything was fine.

“Things over here continue to be strong,” Berger wrote from the U.S. “We are meeting with investors every day and we have a meeting with Major League Baseball Affiliates this week. The buzz is fantastic.”


Three days later was payday, and miscommunication between the league and players resulted in smaller paychecks than were expected. Players-– led by those from the Dominican Republic, who were much more in need of the money to send to their families back home-- threatened to strike, 22 days into the brand new league.

In rushed the league’s commissioner, who scrambled up to Kfar Yarok to stem the rebellion. Around noon, a meeting was held on an outdoor basketball court with the player’s improvised union, led by 45-year-old Alan Gardner, centerfielder for the Blue Sox and a practicing New York lawyer.

“It was funny because the IBL was close to striking-- it was surreal,” said a player in attendance. “Some of the players took video of the makeshift meeting because we all thought it was so funny.”

Not to the league it wasn’t. Kurtzer-– a savvy veteran of tough Middle East political negotiations-- told the players that there had been a misunderstanding, but that he would not negotiate under threat - and, according to players who were there, that he would cancel the league if they struck, a threat Kurtzer denied.

“I didn’t say that,” Kurtzer said. “I said, ‘I’ll talk to you all day, and we’ll fix the problem, but I’m not going to be here with you saying if you’re not happy you’re going out on strike.’ I said, ‘If you want to go out on strike that’s your choice, I can’t stop you.’ ”

Kurtzer explained the mix-up, saying: “The problem at the beginning of the season was that they didn’t understand that we overpaid them the first time, and therefore we adjusted it the second, and our communications broke down. In other words, after two weeks there were supposed to get a week’s pay, and then have that week delay, as in most businesses. After two weeks we paid them for two weeks, so after the second two weeks, we paid them for one week, and we were gong to start the delay, and they said ‘hey, wait a minute, we worked two weeks, and threatened a strike. It was explained to them, and they understood it.”

At a subsequent payday, money was again late. The players, having heard rumors about the league’s financial difficulties, were upset that the league was not more forthcoming.

“I believe that they knew seven or 10 days ahead of time that it was going to be late,” said Jamarkowicz. “Don’t just have us show up, keep telling us you’re going to pay us, and then when we get there, when you knew 90 percent chance that it wasn’t going to come through, tell us, ‘Hey, we’re really trying to get you paid, it could be up to a week late. We’re gonna push it back. We’re gonna try and give you 100, 200 shekels to try to get you by, just work with us.’ I’m more than willing to work with anybody 100 percent. I understand financial backing, new league, things are going to happen. I’m OK with that. But be up front with me, be honest with me, don’t BS me around.”

No balls

Meanwhile, the threatened strike was headed off, and baseball continued. But not all the teams were doing well. The Petah Tikva team, managed by former Jewish Major Leaguer Ken Holtzman, was losing a lot of games, and was destined for last place early on. The losing, and the problems encountered all season, finally got to Holtzman, and he publicly criticized the league, the teams, the players, the fields, and the Israeli fans. (see sidebar)

The league, understandably, was outraged over his words and his going public. It was the black eye the league had been working to avoid all season. Two weeks later, the league and Holtzman reached an agreement for him to leave.

But the league was in trouble, financially most of all. At one point there were no more baseballs, partly a result of players handing out too many souvenirs in the spirit of promoting the league. The IBL had to order more, and the players were ordered not to give away any baseballs to fans, under threat of a 50 shekel fine.

“I know how hard it is to say no and I am very aware of how persistent and sometimes over-zealous our fans can be,” Berger wrote the players on July 31. “But we cannot throw balls into the stands anymore. I just brought over 3500 more baseballs. This is it for the rest of the season. If we run out, we stop playing.”

The players were upset.

“Do you have any idea how hard it is to say no to a seven-year-old boy asking for a ball?” wrote Jesse Michel on his blog. “What should I tell him, ‘No son, the league has threatened to fine me if I give you one?’ Right.”

Fans in the dark

All of the various issues plaguing the league were unknown to the public during the season, the result both of an absence of news reporting, and a major effort at spin control by the league.

With the notable exception of Rosenthal writing all season on Walla!, the Israeli press-- Hebrew and English-- was mainly uninterested. The stories that were printed were written by the league’s amateur reporters, who consistently led with the wrong news day after day: a story on a no-hitter led with the news that the game was the quickest of the year, while the story on the All-Star game began with the home run-hitting contest, to cite two examples.

The league was happy with the free, non-controversial publicity, and tried to control any negative publicity by censuring players blogging on their Web site, as well as influencing independent bloggers to remove negative postings.

So the fans kept in the dark on the dugout intrigue supported their teams blindly. By far the teams with the most fan support were Bet Shemesh, followed by Modi’in, two cities with large Anglo communities. One fan from Bet Shemesh celebrated his 45 birthday by baking a cake and traveling to Tel Aviv to hand out slices to his beloved Blue Sox.

“It brought back innocence,” Alan Krasma said of his summer experience, while dishing out the desert. “If you look at the last two summers, we had Gush Katif two summers ago, we had the Lebanon war last summer. This summer was just really relaxed. I was able to come with each of my kids to the game, we met a few of the players, and we really got to know them. It was like coming to watch a bunch of friends play.”

Too little, too late

But while Americans supported the sport-- the league’s attendance ranged from an average of 73 for Netanya to 418 for Bet Shemesh, though it was often a matter of guesswork-- there were few Israelis who attended. The promised marketing gimmicks never happened, and outreach to communities was too little, too late: teams visited their respective city’s malls to give out free tickets and paraphernalia in the seventh week of the eight-week season.

“We did, I think, a superlative job for a new league marketing among Americans in America and among Anglos in Israel,” said Kurtzer. “And we did nothing with Israelis. Part of it had to do with organization. We talked about it a lot, and then we didn’t hire anybody to do it for a long time, and then there was a budget issue, we spent a lot of money on the television contract… This was our management fashla,” he said, using the Israeli slang for a screw-up. “That’s what it was."

Not all Anglos felt the outreach. Rabbi Stewart Weiss, a lifelong fan of his hometown Cubs and a former Bleacher Bum, is director of an organization in Ra'anana helping new immigrants. He and his family attended several games to root for the IBL team named after his adopted city, the Ra'anana Express-- but heard little, if any, information about the team and league in Ra'anana itself.

"They're called the Ra'anana Express, but they don't play here, there is no publicity about them in town, and you can't buy tickets locally," said Weiss. "There ought to be a concerted attempt to reach out to Ra'anana - a city of 75,000, one-third of whom are English-speaking immigrants. There has to be a stronger connection to the city in order to build team spirit and team support. Can you just name a team after a city without actually involving the city or its inhabitants?"

No pay, no play

The league did try one marketing drive aimed at Israelis-- they paid the Israeli sports channel to broadcast Sunday night games in Hebrew. But when payment stopped coming, so did the broadcasts.

“It’s a shame this is what they are doing to us, after we put our heart and soul in it,” Yaron Talpaz, sports channel’s vice president for business development, told Walla! “We did not expect this kind of management from a league whose commissioner was the former U.S. ambassador to Israel.”

Kurtzer said everyone would eventually be paid, including, he admitted, himself, and that it was a shame the sports channel chose not to broadcast the second half of the season, including the championship game.

“Yes, we do owe them money, but I’m confident that they are gong to get paid. It’s a haval that we didn’t have the cash flow to pay them, it’s haval that they didn’t want to do it on faith that they are going to get paid, so, haval. Everyone’s going to get paid.”

Kurtzer said that plans for next season are already under way, that he and league management knows what needs to be done, and that a replay of this season’s problems isn’t likely.

“It will be different in the sense that you will have other complaints-- the food is always going to be a complaint-- but I’d say that 75 percent of the legitimate stuff that these guys complained about this year-- legitimate being because it was true-- we’ll fix it. And they’re gonna get paid on time, and we now know that you gotta get the laundry right, so all that stuff will be done right.

The main problem, he said, was not enough hands on board.

“We need more personnel, league personnel, just to handle issues. Very often players didn’t know to whom to turn, so you just need enough people – someone who is responsible for x, and responsible for y, and you know where to go. So those are the things we’ll work on.”

The players themselves understood that. By the time the Blue Sox beat the Modi’in Miracle for the championship, the players had put all the problems behind them, and were sad to see the inaugural season end. The camaraderie was evident the night before the playoffs, when they held an award night and gave out “The Schnitzel Award” in a number of jocular categories.

Almost to a man, all players asked said they would love to come back and play another season, if they don’t get offers to play anywhere else.

“My personal experience has just been wonderful in every aspect of it,” said Eric Holtz, the 41-year-old player manager for the Blue Sox. “To be able to play and compete, having my wife and children here for three weeks and having them involved in one of the most exciting things of my life, has just been phenomenal. And being a Jew, you can’t come here and not feel some sense of spirituality. And I’m not a religious Jew.”

Asked if he and the other players would come back next season, after all they went through, Holtz didn’t hesitate.

“If they lived through the worst and survived,” he said, “then why wouldn’t they come back next year?"

Elli Wohlgelernter contributed to Roger Kahn's semi-classic baseball book, Good Enough To Dream, and considers this story something of a bookend. Watch Tabloid Baby for more exclusive reports from Our Man Elli in Israel.

And don't forget to read the sidebar on the mudslinging exit of manager Ken Holtzman.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Dr. Ruehl's Realm of Bizarre News Two-Fer!

The Realm Of Bizarre News 32: Bad Vibrations

Embedding issues have caused the popular Realm of Bizarre News columns from Tabloid Baby pal, contributor, columnist and TV, movie and music video star Dr. Franklin Ruehl, Ph.D., to stack up like alien crafts over Area 51!

So let's land a couple! Above, weird vibrations and odd surgeries... below... NASA evidence of ETs and a man who shot at mice...

The Realm Of Bizarre News 33: They Do Exist!

Hey! Our Conspiracy Dept. and all our interns are waiting to hear the lowdown on flying pigs!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Happy birthday, Ron Blomberg

Ron Blomberg turns 60 today.

Besides making history as the manager of the champion Bet Shemesh Blue Sox of the Israel Baseball League in its first and last season, he was a New York Yankee and Major League Baseball's first designated hitter.

From Newsday:

...Blomberg keeps an incredibly busy schedule, juggling responsibilities that include motivational speaking, Yankees fantasy camps, wine-and-dine in Yankee Stadium suites and some scouting work for the team.

In addition, he also runs a summer camp for kids. He said it's "the largest Jewish sleep-away camp in the country." Herb Brown, Larry Brown's brother, runs the basketball portion of camp, he said.

He's also coming off a busy past year that including writing a book, "Designated Hebrew," as well as managing in the start-up Israel Baseball League. The league lasted only one year because of finances, but he loved it. It was his first trip to Israel, and he called it "an unbelievable experience."

Friday, August 22, 2008


Newly-released image from Joaquin Blanco's photo series.

Blanco notes reported flying pig sightings

Joaquin Blanco writes:

"Tabloid BebĂȘ:

"I do not wish to trouble you, but your reprint of my iPhotos on the local de BebĂȘ has caused me to get flood of e-mensagemes from many such as I who have seen the Topanga Flying Pig. Of great interest to me is this "shotscreen" of the traffic systems at LAX sent to me by a vizinho here in Westchester. The tela shows air traffic at 6:20 pm yesterday, precisely the time I was traversing os Garganta Topanga!

"Note the "UNKN" item with the curly trilha.

"Could this be? I to put BLOW LA plans aside for a few days to study this further. I am meeting tonight to discuss this with contacts made available to me during my time fencing with NASA over my Garbage Cane. Obviously, I cannot tell you whom or where.

"I will keep you apprised.

"Be discreet.

"Joaquin Blanco"

Screw Bigfoot! Pigs fly!

We last heard from Portuguese exile and performance artist Joaquin Blanco after his nuclear blast of the Santa Monica California's artsy GLOW festival, and his hasty assembly of a rival BLOW fest ("an equally lame but even more over-hyped extravanganza of so-called ‘art'..." details of this actual festival soon to be announced).

Now the Los Angeles-based genius is going on about the recent media hoopla over an obviously phony capture of a "Bigfoot":

"It pains me when I see obviously fake photographs of a man dressed in a gorilla suit in a freezer being passed off as Bigfoot.

"I am appalled at the lack of respect in the media for the ideals of true cryptozoology, good journalism and sharp pictures.

"I will set straight that now.

"You no doubt have heard of the Topanga Canyon Flying Pig in the hippiedippie Topanga Canyon section of Los Angeles. In some circles, the elusive creature is as famous as the Bigfoot.

"Only yesterday, I was riding my motorcycle across the canyon when I saw him zooming above. Actually, it was my muse, Peggy Hippdom, who pointed to him from the sidecar. And after adjusting my goggles, I pulled from my leather coat my new iPhone camera.

"I snapped these before he nicked me on my helmet and flew off.

"This is evidence."

What the f***?

What the f*** was that all about?

The Israel Baseball League's promised expanded second season was reduced to four-team, three-week, 20-game "momentum-building" mini-season, truncated to a one-week "show" festival, reduced to a five-game "show" festival, cut to a one-night stand-- and ended with nothing.


For all the lip-flapping and free-lunch-acceptance from IBL apologist Shoeless Leon Feingold, for all the deceptive posts on the IBL website, and for all the twitterings of "in-coming President" David Solomont, the supposed saviour with pretensions of installing himself as Presidente of the Dominican Republic of The Middle East Baseball League-- for all the abuse that anonymous commenters heaped on Our Man Elli in Israel's accurate and groundbreaking and award-deserving coverage (and you can find your own links this time, because we're disgusted)-- they never played a f***ing game!

It never happened!

Our Man Elli reports that Shoeless Leon and the other IBL "All-Stars" who got a free trip from the States to Israel have headed back home (hopefully without any transmitted diseases, which could be a possibility if our spies are correct-- Neve Ilan ain't the Olympic Village, boys).

Russell Robinson of the Israel National Fund has checked out of his five-star hotel without ever throwing a first pitch. And David Solomont has also fled the country.

Israel Association of Baseball President Haim Katz, whose group was falsely accused of stopping the tournament that was ever advertised, insured or manned, told Elli today:

"This week changed nothing; It did not affect any change in their (the IBL's) status or in their license to play baseball. No matter what they would have done, it wouldn’t have affected that status.

"It was irrelevant if they played one game or two games or no games. Nothing was coordinated with us beforehand, so it didn't have any bearing on the future."

Mr. Katz, we must disagree. We'd say that a lot has changed.

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 wit h the baggage.

Bottom line:

Who will buy their bulls*** now?

And what the f*** was that all about?

Where's the Associated Press coverage of all this?

Oh, right. They only refashion press releases.

Where's bigtime Jerusalem Post sports editor Jeremy Last and his team? Watching the Olympics on television? Or because of the embarrassing publicity, has he gotten the order not to use this site as a source?

Does Jeremy Last still think the IBL failed because there was no promotion among Israelis?

Stay tuned here for a major announcement on the future of coverage of the Israel Baseball League and its fallout.

"This is going to be the Dominican Republic of the Middle East... Our players are going over to put on a show!"
--IBL's new "in-coming president" Solomont

Thursday, August 21, 2008

What, him worry?

"Players, coaches... interested parties should become the league": Scott Cantor, the Israel Baseball League's oldest player, offers a modest proposal

No, there are no games scheduled in the Israel Baseball League's promised show fest. It never happened and "in-coming president" David Solomont, for all his promises, remains silent on the latest fine mess (except that Our Man Elli in Israel has word that Solomont has indicated to people that Larry Baras and Dan Duquette are still in equity control of the IBL).

But Scott Cantor, who, as a 51-year-old pitcher with the Petach Tikva Pioneers was the oldest player in the Israel Baseball League,has offered this proposal to bring some sort of resolution to the chaos and mountain of debt that have been left in wake of the first and so far sole season of the Israel Baseball League:

1. All of last year's players should pool what ever we were paid and distribute the pool evenly to all the players.

2. The IBL players, coaches, managers, baseball administrators, and former trustees, plus all honestly interested parties should team together and become the league.

3. The people and institutions that are owed money would have to be negotiated with and brought in as partners or work out a settlement.

Feasible? Possible?
What do you think?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Our Man Elli in Israel reports that the Israel Baseball League's "in-coming president" David Solomont is trying frantically to recoup the disaster of the canceled IBL show fest by arranging a a "one night only" game for Thursday, which he will attempt to have videotaped so that he can "broadcast" the game in the United States in order to attract investors.

While there are a number of Israel Baseball League "All-Stars" languishing in Israel after traveling from the States, there is no word where Solomont plans to to find the players for an opposing second team unless the Israel Association of Baseball decides to help (an eventuality that IAB president Haim Katz told us exclusively is not in the cards unless "certain requirements"-- like paying past debts-- are met), or how Solomont will arrange for insurance, which he and his "league" apparently did not acquire in anticipation of the baseball show festival.

Solomont is accusing the IAB of persuading Baptist Village, site of the announced show festival, to not to deal with him, a claim Katz denies.

"This is going to be the Dominican Republic of the Middle East... Our players are going over to put on a show!"
--IBL's new "in-coming president" Solomont