Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Jews Are Burning: Did Our Man Elli kill Israel's baseball dream?


From the uproar he’s kicked up, you might have thought Our Man Elli in Israel had led a campaign to elect Mel Gibson to the Knesset. Elli Wohlgelernter's article about the disastrous first season of the Israel Baseball League has hit a raw nerve among Israelis, baseball fans—and players’ moms! He’s been called a “dirt digger” and “crap scraper” and accused of potentially killing the league the very week its first season ended. He’s also been hailed as brave and as simply a good journalist.

And now, one IBL athlete has gone on the record in support of Elli’s write-up. All Star Ryan Crotin of the Petach Tikva Pioneers writes:
I think the news story was true and accurate and powerful. I hope all players, management and spectators read the details mentioned for higher awareness. I believe that the problems will finally become apparent to the higher powers that be. As players and participants, if we do not publicize, if we do not criticize, if we do not expose problems, the league will ultimately remain in status quo.

If they decide not to reinvite players who potentially give the management "trouble," then we (meaning a fellow troublemaker) have done a justice to the IBL, as our voices had not fallen upon deaf ears. They (management) have to spend money on particulars to improve the treatment of players, for if the players are unhappy with whatever circumstances that can arise, then you have nothing. The players run the league. They are the league's product.
.
And then there are fellow journalists, like David Brinn of the Israelity blog:
I know, the name’s been taken, but Ball Four seems like the perfect title for this comprehensive play by play of the first season of the Israel Baseball League… For all of us who had great times at the games we went to, the behind the dugout controversies and fights seems like one of those Israeli telenovelas that we’re addicted to. Here’s hoping that despite all the problems outlined here, the IBL will be back for another season next year.
Expect lots more flak as the article appears in various editions of Jewish weekly newspapers across the USA.

Meanwhile, here’s a sampling of the response, so far:
“Elli you obviously enjoy pulling down the efforts of what others try to constructively do. Good job! What have you tried to do positive lately? If you need any help with sensationalist headlines why not check out the British media. I am surprised you could not find any sex scandals in what was a beautiful first season enjoyed by many…”

“You are an absolute a$$. Do you want to watch soccer for the rest of your life? Because if you do you should keep covering the IBL. How could you say nobody cared? I took my son to many IBL games to watch our beloved BlueSox and he and all of the other kids his own age, (probably 30) were chasing down foul balls like their lives depended on it… You sucker punched the league, and you better hope it doesn't die.”

“I cannot imagine why anyone would feel the need to try to find the negative during such a positive event for israel. You can find the crap in every event. This is such a positive one. Why would you look to find the negative and seek fame leeching on this? …How can you call yourself a journalist? You are a dirt digger, crap scraper. That ought to be your business card: Dirt Digger, Crap Scraper, Leech.”

“I think it is pretty disgusting that the writer here wants to tear down something so positive. Given it was the first year, I think it was a fantastic season…. (The players) must be having a sensation of feeling like they have sacrificed a lot and made a lot of boulders move, all to be criticized. When was the last OTHER time when Israel was in the worldwide media in a positive way?!! …The games were something great… Elli you will be remembered as being someone who brought forward vicious and degrading tabloid smut to feed your own deficiencies.”

“You people are getting mad at the wrong person. These things actually happened. You should be mad at the league for not putting the time to make this league the best it can possibly be. The league sucker punched the players by making them play and have no ice…”

“elli left out the story about the baseball "chanas," the israeli "baseball annies" (see Bull Durham, Ball Four and others for a fuller definition) who made it a point of having as much sex with the ballplayers as possible.”

“Elli is a brave journalist. He followed the story where it led him. He stated the facts. I saw no sensationalism in the article and suspect readers were misguided by the ‘tabloid’ name of the blog.”

“As a player who sought and continues to seek to solve some of the growing pains of this league, I can say that there is much truth to the factual information provided by some of the sources in the article... Elli's angle comes off particularly hard, but not really knowing him, I can't say that this is a result of sensationalism rather than his personal disappointment in what he expected this league to be, even in Year 1….The positive sense Elli seems to have about a future for the IBL may well have leaked out in his somewhat disconnected final quote from Eric Holtz, the gist of which is, the vast majority of players would be happy to come back next year… To see what fun it was so you can get in on the action in '08, enter www.israelbaseballleague.com in your browser and find the photo gallery of game and other photos…”

“…Elly, you moved to Israel, you are supposedly starved for baseball... Why the need in a sensationalist way attempt to tear down the positive efforts of others and a league which is in its infancy? Anyone who has ever set up a brand new league thousands of miles away… all from a standing start--- are the only people who are in a position to judge how the management did…”

“I had a thought after reading this sensationalist blog: How many of these players thought to get off their butts and instead of going to bars after games and complaining, thought to be a part of creating some solutions to fill in various gaps? …This blog brings forward these gripes to a new lousy level. Assuming the writer thinks is important to have baseball in Israel, besides just trying to be famous for this muck, did he ever contact someone and say, Hey, I have been in Israel for 10 years… maybe there are some issues whether it be in obtaining adequate ice? …Or maybe he could have said, Can I invite some of these players for a homecooked meal?”

“We ought to look in the laundry pile of any start up company, household, or school for that matter--- to get jollies if we enjoy reading this stuff. I am thrilled my son got a chance to play professional baseball in Israel and I would be unhappy to think he did not recognize the enormity of the variables which were put in place very well this summer as to enable something great which never existed in Israel before… There is no other professional baseball league outside of the U.S. besides Japan that gets close to the crowds which the first season IBL got. There are no start up leagues that accomplish anything outside of the U.S.close to what happened this summer THAT IS BECAUSE IT IS HARD HARD HARD TO DO to ANY EXTENT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHY DONT YOU PEOPLE GET THIS! …This was a START UP that was incredibly successful. Don’t tear it and the memories down!”
Stay tuned as the controversy continues to develop...

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