Friday, November 9, 2007

No future? Israel Baseball Leaguers gather here

“The biggest problem players have right now
is that some of us have yet to be paid
the money owed to us, along w/bank fees…
Some of the players needed/need the money
as they were recent college grads...

“Another problem is miscommunication
from the league and league reps…
Some people are not so eager to speak up
because they are afraid they will not be
asked to come back IF there is a league next year.”

Tabloid Baby is becoming the forum of record for players in the Israel Baseball League!

Since we posted Our Man Elli in Israel’s exclusive story about the possible closing of the IBL after a memorable but problem-plagued season (also notoriously and historically revealed here by Elli Wohlgelernter), we’ve received dozens of comments and off-the-record emails and news leads—many of them from the athletes who met on the ballfields of the Promised Land and are now scattered to their respective corners of the planet.

Some returned home with less money than they’d expected, due to the alleged bouncing of their last checks. Most all are frustrated that league founder Larry Baras and other execs have maintained a Western Wall of Silence around the IBL’s future.

The players’ evident goodwill and jockmanship in pointing out the pluses of their season in the Promised Land doesn’t hide their frustration that they can’t get through to the IBL leadership, to find out if there will be a Season Two:
"…the way information isn’t being shared with those affected is inconsiderate as well. I would be much less upset if I was being kept up to date with the steps people are taking to resolve the issue…
It’s clear that the players are almost begging Boston-based businessman Larry Baras to, as one emails:
"Please come forward, say anything-- tell us to go to hell, tell us you love us-- but for g-d's sake, have you no compassion at all for these players? One of us was almost killed, the conditions sucked, we were treated like shit, and you can't even now be upfront and tell us where their money is? Have you no shame?"
And another:
"Next week marks three months since the championship game and the end of the season. If so many of us have still not been paid in full, imagine how many other debts the league has incurred, and then ask yourself what realistic chances are there for the league to continue. There's obviously more to this story than we all know, lots more, despite all that's been written here on Tabloid Baby since the end of the season.

"And why people have blamed Elli Wohlgelernter for 'being negative,' when all he did was spell out the facts, as a reporter who actually went to games and reported what he saw and heard, and which we all know to be true, is beyond me. We still have not heard a word from Baras. Maybe the only answer is a class-action suit against the league, or maybe go on the record to Elli and have him write where it's at."

Does the IBL owe you money? Email us at and tell us your story. We’ll make sure Our Man Elli sees it. And we'll protect your anonymity.

And to all IBL vets: Thanks for the comments. Please keep them coming. We'll keep you posted.

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