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!")

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