Tuesday, November 20, 2007

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 Tabloidbaby.com (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."

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