Saturday, November 17, 2007

"Public lynching!" "Bone scavenging!" A fan defends Israel Baseball League founder Larry Baras

Well, now we can say for certain that somebody is blaming Tabloid Baby and Our Man Elli in Israel-- not Larry Baras, the embattled founder of the Israel Baseball League-- for the fine mess that could destory, for the time being, at least, every Jew's dream of professional baseball in the Promised Land. A site called Welcome Israel Baseball League!, said to be written by an anonymous fan who calls himself "Tiger" ("Thrilled there is finally baseball in Israel. Father of two, husband of one. Electrical engineer by profession."), but whose URL ("IsraelBaseballLeague.blogspot.com") has led some in the Tabloid Baby office to suspect an official connection to the IBL, has lain dormant since September, one month to the day after the publication of Elli Wohlgelernters's special report on the IBL's first season, when it posted the Pollyana bromide:
Over the holidays this year we were discussing what we felt most thankful for. We were discussing the past year and what was very apparent was that the summer was far more joyful than any other one in memory. No war. No intifada. Baseball.

We cannot wait til next season but in the meantime, thank you Israel Baseball League management, founders, players and all who made it a summer to pleasantly remember!
Today, Tiger's site-- and a linked, day-old blogsite called Tigerviews, has run a more pointed story:

Israel Needs The Israel Baseball League.
The Israel Baseball League Needs Larry Baras.

I am disturbed to read of the public lynching which has gone on relative to IBL founder Larry Baras. Lynching may be too kind a word. I am thinking bone scavenging. We ought to ask ourselves WHY? There almost seems like there is money and power behind a campaign to discredit this man. Every single person who supports and benefits from professional baseball in Israel should be just as distressed. Any fair person ought to question how can something like this can rightly happen.

I know Larry as a person who ran to replace a popsicle for a child near me at a game when it dropped. I know Larry as the person who had perspiration marks up and down, beside and in front of his polo shirt making it all happen on opening day, stress and sweat oozing out of his pores-- and I even witnessed someone taking his seat leaving him without one at the same opening game. ( there was that overflowing crowd of thousands) I even saw him picking up left behind trash towards the end of the game... as we all left the Yarkon with happy hearts and the nicest evening memory in years. I mentioned to my friend-- gee-- I wonder what time he started his day.

My wife knows of his family - a wife and great kids who are solid. That is who Larry is. Without question, the IBL could have never gotten off the ground without his herculean efforts. Players would not have known the joy of signing autographs, Israeli children would not have had the summertime of baseball. Adults would not have had the joy of watching a good game after work. Players and coaches would have not lived moments of feeling like superstars. While detractors point to unpaid obligations that is unfortunate but not necessarily permanent as anyone in a new business knows. If one were to ask anyone who has put together a new business, particularly one thousands of miles away, it is not unexpected. Those who stick by Larry and support this league and what is right are correct and you are heroes.

I myself am rededicating myself to doing more. I am writing to the IBL offering to put together a baseball event for my company during the upcoming season. The reality is that Israel, a land which is known for dissention, war, disagreement, rudeness ---had the beauty of baseball, courteous lines at the snack stand and in the parking lots. The world saw a happy story on the news. Fans were truly created. The world was able to see an Israel which can exist, which ought to exist.

I suggest we all consider the fact that Larry Baras has done the most work in making this happen at all and he is publically being blamed and demonized for what could be shortcomings attributable to any new business particularly one which is undercapitalized despite hard work and dedication, along with the huge market potential which exists.

This is not a post for discussion. It is a post to hopefully make people think.
This make us think of the old phrase, "Say it Ain't so, Joe!"

What do you think?

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