Friday, November 30, 2007

Israel baseball's championship season

While the soap opera called the Israel Baseball League rolls into December and closer to an Opening Day that may or may not materialize, the sport of baseball is thriving in Israel and a dramatic, action-packed championship series is underway and getting more ink in the nation than the infighting, announcements and real news behind the bigshot professional league.

Haaretz reports:

The Tel Aviv Reds were running on all cylinders Wednesday night, pounding out 14 hits on the way to a resounding 13-3 triumph over the Ra'anana Wildfire in the first game of the best-of-three Israel Association of Baseball Senior Fall League championship series.

Ra'anana came into the game as the favorite after having won seven straight games to earn home-team advantage. However, the Spring League champions from Tel Aviv made an emphatic statement in the top of the first inning, scoring six runs on five hits. The biggest blow was a two-run double by player-coach Dan Rothem - the first of his three hits on the night, while veteran hurler George Chityat hit an RBI single.

Having helped his own cause, Chityat then proceeded to shut down the Ra'anana attack through five innings, scattering three hits.

Stellar defensive play by Rothem and centerfielder Omri Modiano nailed two Ra'anana runners at home plate during a wild fifth inning, with catcher Ofir Katz, who also had a three-hit game, successfully applying the tags.

Chityat finally ran out of steam in the sixth, but Ra'anana's three-run rally was squelched by Modiano's sterling shoestring catch to end the inning. Closer Jason Hillman secured the win with two efficient innings of relief.

The win saddled Ra'anana's Daniel Maddy-Weitzman with his first loss of the season, and left Tel Aviv one win away from the championship.

Game 2 is scheduled for 7 P.M. Sunday evening at the Yarkon Sports Complex in Petah Tikva's Baptist Village, with Game 3, if necessary, on Wednesday at the same time and place.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Our Man Elli gives us the 411 on the IBL

Our Man Elli in Israel has been on assignment (baseball's just one of his beats), but he's reached us with his take on the announcement by Israel Baseball League president Martin I. Berger of a second IBL season in 2008.

Elli also addresses the fact that Berger made no mention of the league's debts, financial scandals, players' complaints-- or the status of IBL founder Larry Baras, last heard from in a desperate plea to Our Man Elli.

Tabloid Baby: So where have you been? We were about to run a missing persons story.

Our Man Elli in Israel: Working. When you start paying me, you can start keeping tabs on my whereabouts.

So what does the IBL announcement mean?

It means IBL management is certainly moving forward. But remember, they're still facing enormous financial issues. They're clearly hoping they can find some investors who'll help pay off last summer's debts to players and fields and others. And then they've got to prepare for next summer's cash flow. Players and vendors won't be so forgiving the second time around.

And the recent events certainly haven't helped their cause. I know potential investors who pulled out because of that 'lack of transparency' Dan Kurtzer and the nine other board members cited when they quit. And now I'm chasing down rumours the IBl wants to pay the 2008 players less than they paid in the first season. And they still haven't addressed the players who are owed money. So they've got some work ahead.

So is the talk of a 2008 season just that-- talk? Or is it really full speed ahead?

Well, it's full speed ahead right now. But how fast are they traveling? If they don't lock in investors quickly it would seem to be incredibly difficult to get 2008 off the ground.

Then again, did Berger simply "change the headline" with the announcement, taking the focus off the fraud suit and resignations?

Yeah, that's certainly true, because the press release is just that. It's a headline. It says the IBL is announcing its 2008 schedule, but they've only listed the opening night. On the IBL website, if you go to the 'schedule' link, they're still showing last season.

They do say they're scaling back to 40 games, instead of the 45 games they announced last season. And that's probably smart, since they didn't get in the full schedule last season. Four teams played 41 games and two teams played 40. And putting in lights at Gezer for night games will help. That 5 o'clock starting time last season made it impossible for a lot of working stiffs to make it to the ballpark.

Will the stars return?

I'd bet every player who can make it back will come back, except the ones who have jobs and can't make it.

Any possibility that you'll be named commissioner?

Will you guys get off that kick? It's embarrassing. You're sitting on your beach in Los Angeles. I have to work here. So yeah, there are three chances: Slim, fat and none. I don't want to be commissioner. I have a job.

Oh, well. Sandy Koufax, then. Anyway, what about the moving the Petach Tikva team to Jerusalem? What does this mean to Petach Tiikva? Did they support the team or were there too many native Israelis?

I was surprised to hear they were quote 'moving' the franchise. The Pioneers were one of two IBL teams that actually played in the city they were named after. Tel Aviv was the other. The other four teams were named after cities, but didn't play in them. And get this-- the Jerusalem team won't be playing in Jerusalem, either. They're playing in Gezer.

The Netanya Tigers, the Ra’anana Express and the Tel Aviv Lightning will play in Petah Tikva-- but not Petah Tikvah? Why take away the franchise name from the same city it plays in? That's a mystery.

What about Larry Baras? Is he out?

It appears that the three main principals are remaining as leaders of the IBL. Marin Berger, Dan Duquette and Larry Baras.

One more question. What do you think about the angry reactions, slams and accusations you're getting on the comments pages?

Will you please stop trying to stir things up? It's stupid. It's infantile. Who cares? I should say one thing for the record. I have nothing to to with the Israel professional Baseball League. Nothing whatsoever.

We thought you were going to be commissioner.

Nice one. Good night

IBL pitcher Leon Feingold salutes our work!

"Maybe it's a good thing

we have mudslinging,

smarmy, sensationalist,


gossip-column rejects

like Elli and Tabloid Baby...

Maybe they'll help us realize

we're ALL divided

by a common goal -

baseball in Israel."

--Leon Feingold
#45 Netanya Tigers

The aging pitcher for the Netanya Tigers of the Israel Baseball League, one-time Cleveland Indians hopeful and professional competitive eater tips his hat to the hard work the Tabloid Baby staff has been doing to report all sides of the constantly- developing story about the future of professional baseball in Israel and the men behind it. And Leon, we say to you-- oh, we won't embarrass you.

You know what what we have to say!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bizarro! Israel Baseball League's Southern cousins!

You don't have to be Jewish to screw up the first season of your six-team professional baseball league. In fact, you might be a Redneck!

The story of Larry Baras and the foible-ridden Israel Baseball League just might not be so special after all. The Aiken, South Carolina Daily Standard reports this week on the plans for a 2008 season of the South Coast professional baseball league-- after a disastrous first season-- and its wildly similar to the parallel story of the IBL.

Now of course, the dreams of an entire race, the history of a nation, and the future of Israel-- not to mention the lives of a few players and a federal fraud lawsuit-- aren't at stake here-- but Larry Baras, Martin Berger, Eric Holtz can all take comfort in knowing that they are no less inept than a bunch of Southern crackers. Heck, the South Coast pros even have their own Ken Holtzman.

In the article South Coast League preparing for 2008, Sports editor Cam Huffman reports:

"It is no big secret that the South Coast League of professional baseball, the newest independent baseball league that played it first season this past summer and included the Aiken Foxhounds, got off to a tough start. From a nationally-publicized on-again, off-again relationship with former New York Met Wally Backman to the cancellation of the inaugural All-Star game and culminating with financial losses that would make the Tampa Bay Devil Rays look like the New York Yankees, Chief Executive Officer Jamie Toole had a year he would like to forget. Still, reflecting on the season that was as he prepares for year No. 2, Toole is keeping a positive attitude about the future of the SCL...

"'We really did not have a good year financially. We knew going into this thing that you could not start six new baseball teams and make a profit. We certainly weren't believing that we would come into this thing with cash falling all over the place. But sometimes it is not what you make but what you spend. From our financial stability, I feel good with where we are, but we are... looking to bring on investors to help us grow.'

"Newly hired coaches and managers almost always point to year No. 2 as the season that will either make or break their new clubs, and Toole believes a similar approach should be taken when evaluating the SCL.

"I think this is the most important year coming up,' he explained. 'In 2007, there was a lot of excitement about just playing the season and getting the league started. In 2008 we have some history, we have a better understanding of some of the challenges we face, and the performance in 2008 it a better barometer of how each market will perform.'

"Accomplishing the league's mission in year No. 2 will be up to a number of personalities that were not even around to go through the struggles of the SCL's first year... With new faces behind the scenes, many of the organizations may take on entirely different personalities in 2008, but Toole explained that was not totally unexpected.

"'It is probably a little more than normal, but typically our industry has a lot of turnover anyway,' said Toole. This year with a start-up league there were a lot of trials and tribulations, a lot of extra hours and a lot of things we all had to learn. Some folks can handle that better than others.'"

Read the entire article here. Meanwhile, a tip of the Tabloid Baby hat to the anonymous commenter who gave us the story link and said, "Remove SCL and insert IBL and the stories are almost exactly the same!"

And to the baseball fans who got all huffy about our Eric Holtz story: We don't have a stake in the IBL. We just follow a good story. So you can say whatever you want in our forum. but when you take a cheap shot at Our Man Elli, prepare for us to defend him.

(FUN FACT: In DC Comics' Bizarro world of the cube-shaped "Htrae" ("Earth" spelled backwards), society is ruled by the Bizarro Code which states "Us do opposite of all Earthly things! Us hate beauty! Us love ugliness! Is big crime to make anything perfect on Bizarro World!")

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

IBL Player Holtz makes a play for commissioner; launches campaign by attacking Our Man Elli!

Hillary and Obama, take notes! In a lengthy statement in the Tabloid Baby comment section, Eric Holtz, the aging 41-year-old shortstop for the Bet Shemesh Blue Sox, looks to find a post-playing career by casting his lot with the battered but defiant Israel Baseball League-- and, in angling for the role of commissioner, hurling a vicious spitball at the head of the man he sees as his main competitor for the job: Our Man Elli!

In his comment that appeared at 2:53 pm under this morning's Tabloid Baby post on questions raised by Martin Berger's announcmement that the IBL will be back for a second season in 2008, Holtz, whose IBL profile lists his favorite movies as Godfather I, Jackass, and Austin Powers: Goldmember, talks of his own experience ins starting up a business, defends founder Larry Baras, forgives the IBL for the bounced paycheck he says he received, condemns the team behind the rival Israel professional Baseball League, and for some reason swings a Louisville Slugger at the back of Our Man Elli In Israel:

"It just upsets me as I have seen in business over the last 22 years that there are Vultures that try to pick off the last pieces of meat off of a carcass and to me that is exactly what is going on with this whole IPBL nonsense. These guys busted their balls for years to get this thing off the ground, and now a 'New Leadership Group' is going to swoop in and just take over???? You can look yourself in the mirror and that may be O.K. for you, but for me I could not have allegiance to Vultures..."

"In life it is always easier to pick apart what someone did wrong (Monday morning quarterback) Like this Elli guy from Israel who could be the lowest level of Human Life in a reporter that I have ever seen, rather than to Look at the Positives and try to recover from them. I myself have always prided myself on being a Glass Half-Full Guy but again -That is Me!"

Oddly, the comment is followed two minutes later by the posting of an anonymous comment stating:


...and, 31 minutes later, a lengthy statement of support from "The Rubenstein family," indicating it is the family of Ra'anana Express infielder Brendan "Ruby" Rubenstein :

"...Eric, we think of you as a fine man, one that has demonstrated a maturity many on this board have not had. You are a credit to the League and your words speak the feelings many of us have for what has gone on..."

The order and timing of the postings indicate this may have be a planned campaign, and we at Tabloid Baby wish Eric Holtz well. We understand that at his advanced age, his days as a player are behind him ("again, I will be 42 in a couple of weeks, and I may look at things a little differently than some of the younger guys, but I need to live with myself...") and that he is positioning himself for a management role in the new IBL.

But we really take issue with the wormy tactic of kissing up to the bosses by smearing an honest, diligent, experienced and brave reporter whose investigation and reportage has been inspired solely to protect the lives of Holtz and his colleagues. Elli Wohlgelernter is not Tabloid Baby. And, as he stated, he wants nothing to do with our campaign to name him commissioner of any baseball league. The stories he has written have been bylined. The rest of the reporting and posting comes from the Tabloid Baby staff. And the rich, scandalous material we post comes from the very people whose asses Eric Holtz kisses.

(NOTE: Eric Holtz was quoted in Our Man Elli's landmark investigative article on the IBL's first season. While some players complained, Holtz said: "“My personal experience has just been wonderful in every aspect of it." 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?")



I trust that everyone had a great Holiday weekend. I am sending this out from myself-I have not been prodded by anyone to do this, but being one of the senior members of the league (age wise) I wanted to share my feelings with you on some of the things, rumors etc.

When starting a business, there are many speed bumps thrown at you, many things that come up that are just un-foreseen, I myself started a company in 2000 that did not exist. Knowing what I know now, I may not have done it-- My balls were to the wall for the first 9 months. Not knowing if I would be able to pay my mortgage or bills, but in my heart knowing I was trying my best. That was in my backyard. The IBL was created and executed in a foreign land with many obstacles that were un-foreseen until they were right in front of their faces. Promises made with good intentions and I believe in my heart that no one started this thing with the intention to hurt or screw anyone.

The management of the league was understaffed to say the least- I remember seeing Larry picking up garbage at Gezer prior to a game. That was just ridiculous to me. Yet- He did whatever he needed to do. At the end of the day, We Played 130 Baseball games in a land that had never had 1 Professional game- Had an All-Star game and Awarded a Champion. A full day does not go by without me thinking of something that may have happened on the field, dealing with Blomberg or spending a day off on the beach with friends. There were so many Great things and relationships that were made over these 63 days in a foreign land.

Many of the players have been signed to Independent ball contracts and as you all know Rees and Rodriguez have Minor league deals with the Yankees. I still cannot believe that. I am not sure how many of you are still owed money, but I know that Martin and Larry are fighting everyday to try and secure financing to make good on old debt and go forward with season 2. I myself am owed money (don't know if that will make you feel better or worse) but I am trying to look at the big picture and I am giving them every benefit to try and resolve these matters.

For some of you younger guys, I know it is Black and white-Where's my money?? and I cannot argue that- It is not my place to even try.

It just upsets me as I have seen in business over the last 22 years that there are Vultures that try to pick off the last pieces of meat off of a carcass and to me that is exactly what is going on with this whole IPBL nonsense. These guys busted their balls for years to get this thing off the ground, and now a "New Leadership Group" is going to swoop in and just take over???? You can look yourself in the mirror and that may be O.K. for you, but for me I could not have allegiance to Vultures. I would personally have to have Martin/Larry & Dan Duquette exhaust every last opportunity in righting the wrongs before I would even consider thinking about anything else.

Now again, I will be 42 in a couple of weeks, and I may look at things a little differently than some of the younger guys, but I need to live with myself and to me this is not Just about Business!! This is about guys busting their asses for years to get us to Israel and get games played.

In life it is always easier to pick apart what someone did wrong(Monday morning quarterback) Like this Elli guy from Israel who could be the lowest level of Human Life in a reporter that I have ever seen, rather than to Look at the Positives and try to recover from them. I myself have always prided myself on being a Glass Half-Full Guy but again -That is Me!

I wish everyone a Phenomenal Holiday season to you and your families, and I miss you all!!!!!



Addendum: 34 readers' comments on IBL Player Holtz makes a play for commissioner; launches campaign by attacking Our Man Elli!


Anonymous said...
Oddly - You are an idiot! Eric didn't post his own letter on tabloid baby, he is sick of your daily blog - he sent it as an email to everyone in the league this morning. He sure as hell wouldn't have posted it on your forum!

Someone else posted it, and I in fact had to call him up and let him know that some bozo had posted it on this site.

In fact, I'm the one that wrote Eric Holtz should be the next commissioner, and just by chance, a few minutes after the letter was posted.

Investigative journalists you are not! As a matter of fact, it was nice to see someone put their name to something for a change. He does not want to be commissioner in any way shape or form. Go ahead, ask him! He already has a job, and it isn't in Israel!

P.S. He never started a failed buisiness, he strted a buisiness that was difficult in the beginning, and is now very successful. Nice try though!

11/27/2007 5:35 PM
Anonymous said...
Knowing how you guys work, someone probably sent it to Elli and he posted it here to make himself look like the poor attacked journalist... boo hoo, Eric said something bad about me, I'll start to smear him too...

Only one problem - WE ALL LIVED with the man for 2 months, and he was the most honest guy there, and went out on a limb for every player there every chance he got. Including standing against Baras when he felt he was wrong.

Go ask any player there! Go ask the group that is trying to start the IPBL, go ask the security guards, the trainers, the staff, the other managers, and most of all the Israeli fans.

You just shot yourself in the foot tabloid baby! You messed with the wrong man! Elli is just upset because the last time he called Eric for a comment, he said he would prefer to keep his opinions to himself. Sometimes you should just quit while you are ahead!

11/27/2007 5:53 PM
Sandy Koufax said...
Oh, so Holtz isn't big enough to slander Elli in public. He only did it behind the scenes, in a continuation of the smear campaign begun after the first article. Big man.

And you wrote in to nominate Holtz for commissioner "just by chance?"


Holtz is the one who went on a self-serving slander attack and (I know from slander), whether via email or on the comments forum (and thank G-d for that forum).

And thank G-d for this site and these journalists who are playing it down the middle.

11/27/2007 6:58 PM
Ken Holtzman said...
I wrote it as a joke Alan Gardner, and yes as a lawyer you are probably quite familiar with slander - you did it behind peoples backs all summer, and now here!

Oh, and I'm pretty sure that this forum doesn't serve Holtz in any way, and writing an email to the entire league and all it's members certainly doesn't constitute behind the back since he knows some self serving fool would send it to Eli.

Thank G-D we don't have to watch you try and play baseball anymore!

11/27/2007 7:24 PM
Anonymous said...

11/27/2007 7:30 PM
Shawn Green said...
It's nice to see that you can pull your hand off your man member for a change to write in. Nice job with the shift key! You can release it and go back and play now.

We know how much you love to hear yourself speak but did you have to write it twice?

Too bad the only service you have to offer is being an asshole. Guess there isn't a great deal off demand for that in the states! I hate to tell you, but Israel doesnt want you either. Baptist Village called, they said we should keep the idiot!

11/27/2007 7:45 PM
Kfar Fruit Bat said...
Do not fuck with Eric Holtz, he is a good and decent man. I hope i speak for all IBL players when I say I will never visit or post on this site again.

11/27/2007 9:16 PM
Anonymous said...
I'd jump in front of a bus for Holtz - that's a real leader, someone who will tell you like it is with no BS even if you don't like what it is he has to say. I've seen him tell off Baras, Berger, as well as Rollhaus and Wilson, and I've seen him praise each of them as well. I read his letter. He doesn't preach or tell you what to think, he gives his own opinion and why he believes what he does, and lets you decide for yourself.

I'm with the last poster - I'm done with this blog "THE END PERIOD!"

11/28/2007 6:31 AM
Anonymous said...
Shawn Green, who are you referring to?

11/28/2007 7:30 AM
Anonymous said...
" honest, diligent, experienced and brave reporter whose investigation and reportage has been inspired solely to protect the lives of you and your colleagues..."

Wow! Elli does all that! I didn't know that I was in so much danger! Why were the sunflowers going to attack? Perhaps you were protecting us from the wild peacocks at the Hkfar! Thanks for the protection, but next time I'll just buy a pit bull. They are more loyal and trustworthy.

Sit Elli sit! Good dog!

Story is dead along with your career as a serious journalist, but please feel free to continue reporting on Israeli football, you have a real future in that... perhaps as the person who runs out and grabs the tee after the kickoff. I hear you are quite qualified to do that.

You can hardly call it good honest reporting when you pick and choose who you talk to, and avoid others when they won't give you what you want to hear because it doesn't quite fit into the story!

There was a reason why everyone called Gardner Media-Al. He never saw a camera or an interview he didn't like. He had more air time than playing time! There is something about a 45 year old NY lawyer who goes out at night wearing a crooked Dominican Republic hat and hitting on 19 year olds in a bar that really creeps me out, but hey, just beause you are a sleeze doesn't mean you aren't good for a quote or two. Nice job Elli!, and way to go tabloid baby.

Maybe next you can interview the peacocks at the Hkafar, they might have the inside scoop, or maybe you can just scoop up after them as you prepare for your next career.

11/28/2007 7:39 AM
Anonymous said...

11/28/2007 7:45 AM
Shawn Green said...
There you go again - can't hit the caps lock key because you are too busy pull your hand off your man member.

Please go back to thinking about 19year old Israeli girls, no one wants to hear from you any more. Besides we already know who you are.

You can go back and play now.

11/28/2007 7:57 AM
Anonymous said...
From my reading of this blog over the past months, I would say it is safe to express any opinion but that you should launch personal volleys against Eli. That seems fair. I would agree that Eric, fine person as I know him to be, was ill-advised to have done so and should apologize.

11/28/2007 9:13 AM
Raanana IBL Player said...
Agree with Fruitbat. This site is dead to me. You call yourself a messenger but all you are doing is fanning flames of a fire (a very weak fire). You are trying to divide and promote hostility within a very tight group, and it is working.

Why in the world would you write that Holtz wants to be the commissioner? He never said it, never implied it. WHy would you write that he had a failed business. You have no proof his business failed, in fact you can assume it is doing else could he take off a few months to play ball and still support his family.

This is my last post. I now see what this blog truley is.

Elli you may have at one time been a respected journalist but you have allied yourself with tabloid baby. I cannot tell what tabloidbaby starts and you end. You are the same.

Game over.


11/28/2007 10:43 AM
Anonymous said...
The fat lady is singing on this story and the IPBL! By the way, you can buy Tabloid baby on EBAY for $1.82 American, and none of the proceeds go to the Author! Hey...the paper is worth more than the book sells for!

11/28/2007 11:08 AM
Anonymous said...
Gardner can cry to Rosen and Rollhaus for playing time-(Playing with himself) is about all he is capable of

11/28/2007 11:11 AM
Anonymous said...
In the states we have the Mendoza Line... in Israel be it forever known as the Gardner Line!

Mr. .190!

11/28/2007 11:14 AM
Anonymous said...

11/28/2007 11:17 AM
Anonymous said...
Hey! I saw ESPN, wasn't Mendoza at least a great defensive player? I don't remember seeing that from AG.

11/28/2007 11:22 AM
Anonymous said...
Well he sure ran to catch the Reynoldo Cruz ambulance. Suddenly he was Reynoldo's best friend! Must be something instinctive in lawyers. A new Schnitzel! Best defensive ambulance chaser in the IBL.

11/28/2007 11:25 AM
Anonymous said...
Eric started it when he called "the lowest level of Human Life in a reporter that I have ever seen."


Uncalled for.


Foul ball.


Eric deserves the spanking from TB because they stand up for Elli. He started it.

11/28/2007 11:31 AM
Anonymous said...
I can see it now-Gardner with the Pom Poms and Rollhaus with the Tzitzis flying out from under his shirt everytime he stands up. Gardner-Holtz was wrong!! You should have started instead of Mr. NY Yankee Jason Rees or Slaughter or Lyons-Didn't you tell people you better than all 3?

11/28/2007 11:34 AM
Anonymous said...
I can't believe someone actually wrote "He started it!"

"DID NOT!!!"

11/28/2007 12:00 PM
Anonymous said...
This comment thread is beyond ridiculous. Reality check here. The fact is that the IBL is deeply in debt, just lost its team of advisors who lent both credibility and legitimacy to the league, and has yet to communicate how it plans to rectify the situation. From the press releases it appears that season 2 is still going forward. However, there are so many unanswered questions. Whatever the circumstances are that got the IBL to this situation and whether you stand with the IPBL or IBL, Martin and Larry just need to communicate what's going on. This is not just about players who are owed $500. There are honest, hard working vendors that are owed hundreds and thousands of dollars with no idea if they will ever get paid. It is in everyone's best interest to make sure that either of the leagues is not operated in a slipshod way.

11/28/2007 12:24 PM
Anonymous said...

Reality Check... It is almost impossible for a new league to make money in it's first season, especially one with only 6 franchises. Go take a look at the Southern League in Georgia if you think this is an isolated problem unique to the IBL.

I challenge everyone to visit this web site, read the entire story, then tell me that this is such a one of a kind situation!

Remove SCL and insert IBL and the stories are almost exactly the same!

11/28/2007 12:41 PM
Anonymous said...
I don't think it is unreasonable to ask for some direct communications from the IBL on how it is going deal with these problems. That has nothing to do with a start-up business and should occur whether or not you are profitable.

If your own business was being jeopardized because someone couldn't pay and wouldn't tell when or how you were going to be paid, you'd be less dismissive and forgiving.

11/28/2007 12:49 PM
Anonymous said...
At this point, I'm really craving a bagel.

11/28/2007 1:27 PM
Anonymous said...
When will we hear from Larry Baras?

Will it be before or after the first of the year?

11/28/2007 2:12 PM
Anonymous said...
What is with you people? Calling for a guy to get killed? What's wrong with you people? Were you in Israel? It doesn't sound like it? So Holtz didn't play Gardner much. Does anyone really think he's trying to get a new league going so he can play more? Or so it's better for the guys we all played with. Does anyone remember who called the guys together when the Dominicans were going to walk on payday, got Dan Kertzer there and prevented the walkout? Wasn't that Gardner? Anyone remember Pribs saying to let Gardner handle it because he'as an attorney? Didn't the attorney get the job done?How do you think we got Larry to agree to pay cash for the rest of the summer-another promise he broke. Give the guy a break. What did he do wrong? No meeting with the players, no more league, we go home in late July. What did he do during the summer to fuck with anyone? What's Holtz got against him? He couldn't hit the curveball? Neither could Holtz, so they're even. By the way, Eric may be a solid dude, but what's the Holtz line? Anyone check that out? I mean, let's be fair here and not a bunch of jerks.
And has anyone asked Holtz what he's getting out of supporting Larry and Martin? Is it all because he's just a good dude? Does he have an interest? Hey, I don't care who gets baseball going in Israel as long as it happens. I had a great time, got some good playing time in and I've got a new job, so I'm not going back. But what's with this bullshit everyone is writing? . I didn't realize there were so many assholes in our group when we were having a good time this summer. Freakin' grow up.
By the way, I talked to Gardner yesterday and he had no idea this stuff was posted here until I told him. He told me he gave up on this site because of the nonsense being written in anonymous posts. Who could blame him or anyone else.

11/28/2007 10:15 PM
BringHeat said...
Pioneers are red
Bet Shemesh is Blue
Elli's a hack
And let's play two.

IBL vs IPBL is not the battle here. True, there's only room for one pro baseball league in Israel - and make no mistake, there IS room for pro baseball in Israel - but when the dust settles, I think we'll realize we have in our collective hands ALL the tools we'll need to run a successful and exciting league for all sports fans to enjoy, with enough room for everyone who wants to be involved, in a way that respects everyone's input - both financially and organizationally. Everyone's collective connections, skills, goodwill, and experience can rebuild credibility, establish a better, more fair business model, and make this into a wildly successful venture of which we can all be proud, no matter our roles.

I would never throw anyone involved with this league so far under the bus - I believe everyone had good intentions, and even those who mishandled things and/or made poor decisions, did so in good faith. I think we need to step back from the drama and realize what an amazing thing we have here - and find a way to work TOGETHER to make it happen. It's definitely not too late.

Maybe it's a good thing we have mudslinging, smarmy, sensationalist, no-talent gossip-column rejects like Elli and TabloidBaby trying to stir up dissention. Maybe they'll help us realize we're ALL divided by a common goal - baseball in Israel - and regardless of our on-field affiliations, we're on the same team off the field.

During the American Revolution, Ben Franklin once said something along the lines of, "We must all hang together, or we shall surely hang separately." The context was different but the sentiment is the same as another, more apt saying, this time from Abraham Lincoln: "A house divided against itself cannot stand." Israel baseball needs all of us to succeed. We have to find a way to make this work, together.

There's a solution here without taking sides or hurling insults. I'm putting my name on this because - well, it's important. This is bigger than Holtzie or Gardner or Baras or Berger or Holtzman or me or anyone. This is about us as a league.

I'm in, and I'm willing to do whatever I can to make it happen.

Are you?

-Leon Feingold
#45, Netanya Tigers

11/29/2007 7:45 AM
Anonymous said...
Well said Leon! Everyone that wants BASEBALL to succeed in Israel needs to be on the same side here. It is clear that tabloidbaby has an agenda that cares nothing for baseball or any league. They care only about tabloidbaby going forward. To that end they continually look for credit and accolates and not substance.

Those that care about Israeli baseball need to keep their eyes on THAT prize and not get diverted or divided. It would be appropriate for the IBL to reach out to all that would like to be constructive and accept help from everyone that offers it. I hope that happens. I know many people have offered with a pure heart to help the league, their effort were not always accepted. Perhaps that can change now as we go forward.

Leon, it is good to see you chime in here with a voice of reason. You should be proud of yourself.

11/29/2007 8:53 AM
Anonymous said...
rvhey did you all hear the news!!

Alan Gardner supposedly has had a fight with Rollhaus and Jeffrosen has backed off from the IPBL

well iguess that's that!!

12/01/2007 10:55 AM
Anonymous said...
Really good job Leon. I agree on all counts. I apologize for not leaving my name. Given the nastiness of this blog,I dare not expose my family to shit about me which wuld endoubtedly be written in return anonymously by gardner and rollhaus. Elli, Rollhaus, Gardner ( No i do not for a second believe he is unaware of each and every posting, as he does most) Wilson you are shit. Disloyal in it to be somebody. Rosen you just do not know how nothin those guys are.

Lets make the IBL work. Larry if you are reading this, forgive some for not doing more to stand up for you. I know you have given this all you got. I know how you have been thrown under the damned bus. You have had an oar taken from you, and many have swam away but stay steady and strong. You are more than many.

12/01/2007 3:14 PM
Anonymous said...

We hear youre a competive eater. So eat this.

We're saving you dumb jocks from getting fucked over next season as well.

We take it personally

Fuck you.

The Tabloid Baby staff.

12/05/2007 2:48 AM

Comments were posted

Big questions about Israel Baseball League 2008

With the announcement of plans to charge full speed ahead with a second season of the Israel Baseball League, president Martin I. Berger has once again done a brilliant job of changing the headline while ignoring the fury and controversy that swirls around the league. The IBL even managed to pull off a team move to Jerusalem with the backing of the nonprofit Jerusalem Foundation (but be advised, the Foundation says it "provides full accountability and open reporting to its donors by maintaining ongoing contact with and supervision of all its projects"-- something the IBL apparently did not).

Miami attorney Berger has proven himself adept setting his own agenda despite the flames around him, as he showed on Novermber 15th on when, an hour after we posted the exclusive story on the resignations of the IBL 10, he posted a comment on this site that the resignations "will have no effect on the incredible things going on right now with the League."

The president has also done a fine job of keeping embattled IBL founder Larry Baras out of the spotlight. The news on the IBL website yesterday made no mention of the IBL-related fraud lawsuit against league founder Lawrence Baras, nor the complaints from players and vendors thatthey have not been paid for the the 2007.

So is the announcement of the IBL 2008 season the real thing? Many questions, incuding the ones below, remain:

What players will return for a second season?

Will the IBL cover the debts from 2007?

Will Larry Baras continue to be involved with the league?

Will there be an advisory board consisting of American sports-related bigshots?

And, in the interest of keping things clean in '08... will Our Man Elli in Israel be offered the job of league commissioner?

We've got our calls out, seeking comments. Answers, please!

Monday, November 26, 2007


Israel baseball fans, rejoice! Despite the scandals and lawsuits, complaints and debts, resignations and rebellion, the Israel Baseball League claims to be ready for 2008 with a full schedule and a new team!

Three months of radio silence on the IBL website was broken with a bang with two explosive stories: The announcement of a schedule for a second season in 2008, and the arrival of professional baseball in Jerusalem. The Petach Tikva franchise is moving and will be renamed the Jerusalem Lions.

Embattled IBL founder Larry Baras is not quoted in either story. But president Martin Berger leads the way. No comment yet from the rebels who announced the formation of the rival Israel Professional Baseball League, though the heralding of Jerusalem as a city with "hundreds of thousands of American tourists, American ex-patriates, visiting American youth groups, and American students on extended stays" does not bode well for native Israelis who claimed they were ignored by the IBl the first time around.

Our Man Elli in Israel will have an update on the historic news. Meanwhile, here are the stories from the IBL website:

2008 IBL Schedule Announced
With great excitement and anticipation, the Israel Baseball League today unveiled its 2008 baseball schedule. This will be the second full season for the IBL. Features include each of the six teams playing a 40-game schedule, culminating in a Championship Series at the end of August.

Opening Day has been set for Sunday, June 22nd, with two exciting games taking place. At Gezer Field, the IBL Champion Bet Shemesh Blue Sox will be playing host to its arch rival, the Modi’in Miracle. And at the Baptist Village, a future rivalry will be born when the Tel Aviv Lightning takes on the new Jerusalem Lions. Both games are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.

“This is a well-balanced schedule, with teams having more off-days than last year in order to recharge their batteries in a very challenging hot climate,” said league president Martin I. Berger in announcing the schedule. “There will, however, be a baseball game played every night at both the Baptist Village and Gezer Field, the two baseball venues in which the IBL will play next season,” Berger continued. “Right now, we are assuming that our regular season night games will begin at 7 p.m. at both venues, as we are working with the Jewish National Fund to upgrade the field in Gezer with renovations that will include improved lighting for night games.” As was the case last year, no games will be played on Friday nights and Saturdays.

Tickets for next season’s games are due to go on sale in December. For information, contact

IBL Adds Jerusalem Franchise
for 2008 Season
Last year, we had uniforms and batting cages. We went through thousands of balls and had to quickly order an extra 50 bats as the wear and tear depleted the existing stock. “Baseball” music in both Hebrew and English resounded through all of the games. We even had resin bags brought in through customs. All of the trappings were there, in other words, but one giant omission was obvious to many fans. There was no Jerusalem team.

This is about to change for the 2008 season, as the IBL announced that it is moving the Petach Tikva franchise to Jerusalem for the coming year. The team, to be known as the Jerusalem Lions, will play its maiden season in Gezer Field, about a 25 minute drive from the center of Jerusalem. By the 2010 season, the league expects the team to have a home field in Jerusalem itself.

Jerusalem, with its hundreds of thousands of American tourists, American ex-patriates, visiting American youth groups, and American students on extended stays, has long been a hotbed of baseball activity in Israel. Over 300 participants play in local softball leagues during the summer and hundreds of players in Israel’s youth leagues hail from Israel’s capital.

“Our problem was finding a site in Jerusalem that could accommodate pro baseball requirements,” said Ami Baran, the IBL’s Director of Israeli Operations. “However, we have been working under the leadership of the Jerusalem Foundation in getting a particular parcel designated as a baseball field and it is clear that enough progress has been made on that score for us to start planning for baseball in Jerusalem,” Baran continued.

The Jerusalem Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by former mayor Teddy Kollek, raises money for cultural and recreational projects in Jerusalem. It has made the creation of a multi-purpose outdoor athletic field a priority and has already received significant financial commitments for the development of the site. In a recent meeting between representatives of the IBL and the Foundation, plans were solidified for the baseball community of Jerusalem to have a portion of the field dedicated for baseball use.

“Meanwhile,” Baran said, “the Jerusalem team will play its home games at Gezer Field. We will make arrangements for charter bus service to take interested fans to and from the games. It is only a 25-minute drive from Jerusalem to Gezer, so it makes sense for us to get the team started now,” he said. The Petach Tikva Pioneers will be moved to Jerusalem. However, baseball fans in Petach Tikva will actually experience a net gain, as the IBL plans to have three teams call the Baptist Village home field – the Netanya Tigers, the Ra’anana Express, and the Tel Aviv Lightning. The Baptist Village is located right on the border of Petach Tikva.

Herald harbors Unholey headlines

Our Man Elli notes, "Miami Herald headline writers working overtime":

Lawsuit: Bagel firm in the hole

Sunday, November 25, 2007

From a supporter of the Israel Baseball League...

Debate continues to rage over the Israel Baseball League, the upstart Israel Professional Baseball League that wants to take its place, and most recently our decision to print an email from embattled IBL founder Larry Baras in response to Our Man Elli's request for comment. Of all the responses, this posted comment from an hour or so ago seems to demand a wider audience. Full of outrage and accusations, we hope it inspires even more debate. We've cleaned up the punctuation and nothing more:

"Ely you ought to go to Hell for what you have done. You will never amount to anything but being a zero. Stop pinning your hopes on this blown out of proportion story find someone or something else to demonize to make yourself look like a something.

"Isn't there something going on in Israel other than this? Or does Rosen or Rolehouse pay you to much to keep focusing on this one? Or does stupid young Andrew Wilson give the crappy info?

"The putzes who are starting a new league ought to be sent to Hell, as well. Actually, they are already on their way.

"They have fed this blog fodder for weeks and let them be exposed for what they are.

"Guess who will be the inhouse writer for their proposed new league ?


"They indeed have sent the gas into the balloon of this blog and shitty Eli stories. Right, Alan Gardner, Andrew Wilson, Jeff Rosen and Rolehouse?

"You want to make the IBL look bad so you can come marching in as the solution saving the summer for the children of Israel.

"Folks, don't let them put that wool over your head. They are all a bunch of evil creepy zeros. There are thousands of people who had a great summer. Let them enjoy their memories you have tried to destroy something amazing and hopefully you will not succeed in tearing down the IBL or Larry Baras. You have already done so much evil. The fact that you would publish that letter from Larry shows how low you beasts will go to try and get some acclaim at any cost. Tear it down so you will look like saviors. Cannot wait til the announcement that you will be saving baseball. It is so sleezoid.

"I will make personally sure that each one you assholes are investigated and every teenage child you tried to screw and every whore you grabbed will be a part of someones tabloid. Watch your mail. Just watch me.

"It is coming!!!!!!Better stop now!

"Jeff Rosen, shall we dig up pictures of the children in hospitals?

"Whomever is looking for more background on Larry is simply seeking to coerce him into quitting and hurt him more deeply. he has tried his best.






Israeli baseball headline runner-up

Ex-Burger King exec sues ex-bagel baron

And by the way, Bang The Drum, Shlomo wins our documentary title prize.

OY GEVALT! Elli's covering Israel football for TV!

We told you a month ago that Our Man Elli in Israel, who saved lives, changed the course of Israeli sports history and set the future of Israel professional baseball on a straightforward course for its next season (regardless of the brickbats and slanders hurled his way) with his unblinking investigative coverage of the first season foibles and post season intrigue behind the Israel Baseball League is also covering the four-team Field Turf Israel Football League, the first national tackle football league in the Holy Land.

Well, Elli's got more than a pen and notepad this time around. That's Elli Wohlgelernter, reporting for the Israel Broacasting Authority, in the clip above. Hang on to your jocks.

(Said one fan to the Jerusalem Post after the league kicked off: One fan proclaimed, "As a fan of football, it's a wonderful thing to be here to watch American tackle football being played in the holy land." Oy, does that sound familiar!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Jerusalem Post finally covers baseball scandal

But they went with the Associated Press story...

(Translation: Israel's major newspaper didn't assign a reporter for its first story on the collapse of the nation's baseball dream. They cut and pasted a story on the Larry Baras fraud suit that came in from the wire service on Tuesday. We ran the original story 12 days ago. At least Haaretz ran the IBL 10 story last Sunday-- four days after we broke it.)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Israel Baseball League fans! Shirts are 20% off!

"In 2007, history was made once again in the Land of Israel –
The Israel Baseball League was born.

"It is exciting to see this age-old sport and family pastime
brought to a new level of professionalism
and meaning as it is being played
by six dedicated teams throughout Israel.

"Join in on the excitement of Israel’s venture into baseball
by sporting an IBL t-shirt from Jerusalem Depot!"

Mementos of an idea gone by? Or the start of something big? Someone with a good eye for business is making hay with all the publicity The Israel Baseball League has received on this site. The Jerusalem Depot is offering Israel Baseball League T shirts at 20% off-- this weekend only!

All six IBL teams are represented, along with the official league shirt ("All six IBL teams are displayed here in this official league t-shirt."). Originally $24.90, now on sale for $19.90.

The Jerusalem Depot is connected to the Israel Today magazine. Subscribe today and win a free trip to the Holy Land-- and possibly catch an IBL (or IPBL) game next season!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Forward wins our Israel Baseball headline prize

Scandal Tarnishes Holyland Diamonds

AN URGENT CALL TO THE FRIENDS AND FAMILY OF LARRY BARAS! His emailed message to Our Man Elli has us worried about his state of mind and well-being

you have totally
destroyed me.
You win.
Won't you stop now?
--email message
from IBL founder Larry Baras
to Our Man Elli in Israel

Someone please check on Larry Baras and make sure that he's all right.


The story of the implosion of the Israel Baseball League, the lawsuit against its founder Larry Baras, resignations of its leadership and the controversial creation of the rival Israel Professional Baseball League all played out exclusively on Tabloid Baby for months, but now that the story was ripped off without attribution by the Associated Press, it is this morning spreading around the world and beyond, from Israel to New York to Paris to Baghdad-- to the headline news being beamed to the shuttle up in space.

It's a story about baseball. And business. And the history of a nation. It's also the story of man, Larry Baras, who according to those who know him, is a hardworking, well-intentioned Zionist who wanted to bring a good thing to Israel and "who ran to replace a popsicle for a child... who had perspiration marks up and down... making it all happen on opening day, stress and sweat oozing out of his pores... picking up left behind trash towards the end of the game..."

That is why this response to Our Man Elli's request for a comment on the latest turn of events is so disturbing to us.

It read like a suicide note. Or at the very least, a cry for help.

For Larry Baras to blame Our Man Elli for his predicament is unfair and baseless.

Elli, you have totally destroyed me...

Our Man Elli wrote a balanced news article about the ups and downs of the first season of the Israel Baseball League. Yes, that article in the days after the season's last out led to the first widespread negative publicity the IBL had received since its creation. But remember, in midseason, financial problems caused the cancellation of the league's broadcasting deal with Sport5 cable TV, players had threatened a strike over late paychecks and living conditions, and manager Ken Holtzman quit spectacularly. Later, players and vendors complained of bounced checks. Native Israelis complained that they were not appreciated by the league.

Our Man Elli had nothing to do with the lawsuit filed against Larry Baras by an investor in his stuffed bagel company. The banking group that was to provide him a bridge loan canceled the deal because Larry Baras did not inform them of the federal securities fraud suit.

The IBL commissioner and advisers who walked away last week did not do so because of Ell Wohlgelernter's or Tabloid Baby's reporting. They did so, because they "were distressed that the league's finances and business operations were not handled in a more professional manner and, in particular, that the league was unwilling to provide relevant financial information concerning its operating results. They also noted significant staffing and other organizational problems that have beset the league since inception."

You win. Congratulatons (sic).

You win? Win what? Tabloid Baby is a journalistic cooperative and forum. No one gets paid to express their views on the is site. We, and everybody wins, if the league's problems are repaired and the ump shouts "Play ball!" in Israel in 2008.

Won't you stop now? Please?

It doesn't work like that. We are journalists. We follow a story. And as a story develops, we report its twists and turns wherever it leads us. And this particular path concerns us greatly. We urge Larry Baras' friends and family members to give him a call, bring him some chicken soup-- see that he's all right.

We do not want his or anyone's blood on our hands.

For the record:


FROM OUR MAN ELLI, Mon, 19 Nov 2007 09:23:23 -0800 (PST)
hi larry,
would you care to comment on the law suit?
elli wohlgelernter

is there a new lawsuit or do you mean the one I know about?

FROM OUR MAN ELLI, 8 minutes later:
also, to the board members' claim of non-transparency. i'm writing a story and thought, even though a small chance, that you might want to comment.

FROM LARRY BARAS, 32 hours later:
Tue, 20 Nov 2007 20:54:08 -0500 (EST)
Elli, you have totally destroyed me. You win. Congratulatons. (sic) Won't you stop now? Please?

( UPDATE: Last night, Baras was reached at his home by WCVB-TV. He said the claims in the lawsuit against him are "absolutely, 100 percent, not true," that his SJR Foods is still "a profitable, functioning company of which (Blacher) is a shareholder," that Blacher could still see a return on her investment, and that "the goal is still to sell the company and distribute the proceeds to the shareholders." Baras denied using any money invested in SJR Foods to prop up the baseball league, which he said will continue to operate "despite the distractions.")

Israel Baseball: Our Man Elli advances the story

While "mainstream" news organizations like the Associated Press are just now getting to rehashing and taking credit for the Israel Baseball League news that Tabloid Baby and its multitalented investigative reporter Our Man Elli in Israel have been bringing you exclusively since August, Elli Wohlgelernter continues to advance the story here and elsewhere.

Today, as lazy sports editors in places like Boston (hometown of embattled IBL founder Larry Baras--where the Globe buried the story as the last item in a baseball notes column), Jerusalem-- and the International Herald Tribune-- copy the nine-day old AP news, Our Man Elli brings readers of the New York Jewish Week up to date:

Dueling Israeli Baseball Leagues?

Rough diamonds: IBL Commissioner Dan Kurtzer,
left, resigned last week. And embattled IBL
founder Larry Baras, right, has been hit with
a fraud lawsuit against his company, SJR Foods, Inc.

by Elli Wohlgelernter/Jerusalem

Is Israel ready for not one but two professional baseball leagues?

That was the question this week as the Israel Baseball League, which launched its inaugural season last summer, seemed to be unraveling — and a new league, the Israel Professional Baseball League, seemed to be taking shape.

The IBL’s commissioner, former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer, resigned last week along with 10 members of the IBL advisory board. Yet the IBL, plagued with problems on and off the field in its first season, says it is moving forward with a second season.

The resignations came amid charges by the IBL board members of a lack of transparency in the league’s financial operation, as well as revelations of a fraud lawsuit against IBL founder
Larry Baras.

The league’s Web site has not been updated since Aug. 31, except for the removal of the list of advisory board members, including those of Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig and members of his family.

At issue for the board members, as well as for Spectrum Capital Group, an investment banker group that pulled out of an agreement with the league, was the failure by Baras and league President Martin Berger to disclose both the extent of the league’s finances, as well as the suit against Baras.

“Several of us had been arguing with Larry and Martin for some time in view of our understanding that they were continuing to solicit investors, without providing them or us with the financial results of operations by the league and its franchises for last season,” said Marvin Goldklang, a part owner of the New York Yankees and owner of four minor-league baseball teams.

The suit against Baras and his company, SJR Foods, Inc., was filed in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts on Sept. 24 by Natalie Blacher of Dade County, Fla., alleging fraud, securities fraud and breach of fiduciary duty.

Baras did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

Berger sent an e-mail to the players thanking the resigning board members “for their help in launching this amazing venture. I want you all to know that this will have no effect on the incredible things going on right now with the League.”

Meanwhile, many players say they have not been paid in full for last summer.

Some have helped found the new IPBL, which sent a letter to IBL players Sunday decrying the “frustratingly destructive inability of management to communicate on basic matters of the financial affairs of the league. As such, it is apparent that the original leadership has lost the much-needed credibility with vendors, lenders, past and future league participants to adequately carry on the affairs of a professional baseball league in Israel.”

The IPBL said it has “the funding and understanding of all the problems and concerns that occurred last year.”

Those behind the new league include: Jeffrey Rosen, a major IBL investor who also owns the Maccabi Haifa basketball team; Andrew Wilson, who was a facilitator on the ground for the IBL and now works for Rosen; Alan Gardner, a lawyer from New York, who was the centerfielder for the Beit Shemesh Blue Sox; and Michael Rollhaus, a businessman from Queens and major IBL investor.

But what, no link?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

AP finally runs our exclusive Baras lawsuit story

Eight days after Tabloid Baby broke the story, some pisher at the Associated Press has turned in a version-- and doesn't give us or Our Man Elli any credit.
Big surprise.

For the second time in three days, the AP has picked up a report that appeared exclusively on Tabloid Baby, rewrote it without credit to or mention of the source or backstory, and posted it so it is already being picked up around the world:

BOSTON - The founder of Israel’s financially struggling professional baseball league is being sued by a Florida woman who claims he defrauded her of the $275,000 she had invested in his bagel business, and instead used the money for personal expenses and to support the league.
Natalie Blacher is asking for the return of her investment along with interest and attorney’s fees in the lawsuit against Lawrence Baras, of Brookline, Mass. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Boston in September.
Blacher claims that she bought $275,000 worth of stock in SJR Foods Inc. after she was assured by Baras that the company was financially sound. Baras was the company’s president...

On November 12, we wrote:

The rumoured financial problems and improprieties clouding the future of the Israel Baseball League and its founder exploded to the surface today with the details of a federal lawsuit filed against Boston-based businessman Larry Baras.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts and obtained exclusively by Tabloid Baby, alleges fraud, securities fraud and breach of fiduciary duty on the part of the embattled founder and managing director of Israel's first Major League-style professional baseball league.
Baras has been in headlines in recent months due to allegations that he owes money to players and vendors involved in the league's first season, and to the frustration of many, has been silent on the question of whether the lBL will return for Season Two. He has yet to address serious questions abut the IBL's management in wake of the disturbing August 28th report on the first season by Our Man Elli In Israel.
In the lawsuit filed September 24th, Natalie Blacher of Dade County, Florida sued Lawrence S. Baras and SJR Foods, Inc., claiming that the founder of the Israel Baseball League duped her out of $275,000 that was supposed to go into a successful bagel company, but instead went to “his personal living expenses or expenses which should be charged to IBL.”
Blacher contends that she spent $275,000 to buy stock in Baras’ SJR Foods on Baras’ word that the company was generating $10 million per year, only to discover that the company was $1,500,000 in debt and that despite his claims, Baras was spending all his time—and possibly stockholders’ money-- on the IBL...
Credit was due, no? Hey, maybe we can ask That Putz Greenberg.

Maybe they should change the name of the movie to 'The Bad News Baras'?

Ouch! Lost in the shuffle of all the controversy over the Israel Baseball League that has raged on this site is the documentary movie about the league's birth! No, it's not "Mel Brooks' The Producers 2," it's called Holy Land Hardball and it's due out on the spring.

Three nice Jewish boys-- and experienced directos and producers are behind the film. Brett Rapkin directed, produced and edited “Spaceman: A Baseball Odyssey,” an independent film about former Boston Red Sox lefty Bill “Spaceman” Lee. Erik Kesten won an Emmy for HBO’s terrific Curse of the Bambino and co-produced HBO's Mantle. Executive producer Matthew Hilyzik worked five annd a half years for Harvey Weinstein at Miramax! They've all got lots more credits you can read about here.

On the trailer above and the one you can see here on their site, you can put some faces to some of the names that have been tossed around on this site over the past few months.

The doco looks to be topnotch. But as they say, the ending may be unwritten...

Can you come up with a more topical name for Holy Land Hardball? Be the readers' favorite and win an autographed copy of the book Tabloid Baby!

Baseball in Israel: You don't have to be Jewish...

So will there be professional baseball in Israel next summer? With backers of the Israel Baseball League claiming that he postseason scandal is much ado about nothing (while its embattled founder, Boston bagel-stuffing baron Larry Baras remaining mysteriously mum), a renegade cell of players, employees and investors breaking off to start up the Israel Professional Baseball League (nice dig), Our Man Elli on the case (and potentially the country's new baseball commissioner), and the international battle being waged in the comments section of this unlikely playing field of (which is always days ahead of the "mainstream" media who won't give us or Elli Wohlgelernter credit for carrying their water), the prospect seems likely, if not in 2008, then certainly the following summer.

And you don't have to be Jewish to love the idea of baseball in Israel. Fabian Armenta, who blogs as Javelin13 on a site called A Goy in Israel, is a southern Californian who pitched for the Netanya Tigers. He lived through the season. He's owed money. He's being charged bank fees. He got screwed over. He can't wait to go through it again, as he posts today:

In the last couple of weeks many things have come to light for many people regarding the Israel Baseball League, its future, and many things that have gone on/are still going on regarding the finances of the league. All this has been talked about on various sites but mostly on one site called tabloid baby. Many things have been said, most of them appear to be true. Its hard to say what is and what isn't because many of the posters have done so anonymously.

One thing I do know for sure is that money is still owed to players, including myself. My last paycheck bounced two times already and I have been charged $170 in bank fees due to the multiple times my paycheck bounced. It is now three months after the last game of the inaugural season and I still haven't been paid my last paycheck.

Another thing that is for certain now is that there is an attempt to start a new league to compete with the IBL. All of this has been reported already in the site I mentioned before. The new league is going to be called the Israel Professional Baseball League. It is being started by people involved with the IBL in its first season and someone already involved in professional basketball in Israel.

I hope all of this gets worked out soon though. I just want to get back to playing ball in Israel. I fell in love with Israel this summer and can't wait to return. People seem to think that you need to be Jewish to love Israel, but that is not true. I was there two months and I fell in love with it. My mother wishes to come out to Israel if I do indeed return. She has long wanted to see the city of Jerusalem. I just want to get back there get to play lots of baseball, have some shwarma, some chicken with hummus in a pita, and see the ladies of Israel. Another thing that I am surprised that I do miss is the kids in the crowd saying "Give me ball... give me ball please."