Sunday, December 30, 2007

From "The 2007 Tabloid Baby Awards"

The Tabloid Baby Person of The Year award has been about as anticipated as Time magazine's copycat honors, but we make it a habit to not necessarily bestow it every twelve months. For us, it all began in 1999, when Steve Dunleavy and Dr. Franklin Ruehl, Ph.D. were given the first special Tabloid Baby public service awards, and debate and controversy would follow as honors were handed out in the years to follow. Who could forget the uproar among "serious" journalists when Tabloid Baby alone cited NYPD Blue actress-turned-CNN anchorette Andrea Thompson for her courage and style in the transition from sexy scriptreader to sexy TelePrompter reader and named her Person of The Year in 2001?

And debate still rages after the controversy that erupted when CNN's "anchorman" Anderson Cooper won the honor in 2005 for representing the end of the Hestonian "anchorman" era with his groundbreaking "Brokeback Anchor" style. We saw him as the herald of more than the gay sensibilities of the corporate porn-pushing gossip site TMZ.com, but the new brand of ironic, unauthoritative newsreaders like Katie Couric and silly, posturing Brian Williams. But neither Katie nor Bri-Bri won the honor for 2007-- not as Tabloid Baby's Person of The Year, nor even its Journalist of The Year for 2007. There are two separate honors this time around. We'll get to them soon enough.

But first... the Tabloid Baby team has come up with others who stood out in the Tabloid Baby universe in 2007 (and notice how we don't make the decisions in November like some people):


OVERLOOKED
INTERNATIONAL NEWS STORY
OF THE YEAR

The Israel Baseball League


The story of the first season of the Israel Baseball League may have been a pleasant footnote in sports history if not for what transpired after the final pitch of the season, when Our Man Elli in Israel (Elli Wohlgelernter to those in the journalism world) wrote an article about what really when on during that season in the sun, uncorking a flood of allegations, outrage, whiles setting off a chain events that included a federal fraud lawsuit against the league’s founder, the resignation of the league’s commissioner and much of its advisory board, the creation of a rival league, and announced plans for a second season in 2008. Remarkably, nearly every step in this incredible international saga of mismanagement, betrayal, intrigue and broken dreams was broken exclusively here, on Tabloidbaby.com, while the mainstream media either followed our lead or ignored the story altogether. While the official spin continues this month with the brief arrival of a IBL booster blog, and a na├»ve, inaccurate Bleacher Report story naming the IBL’s feelgood PR report of the first season as “The Best Sports Story in 2007,” the behind-the-scenes soap opera is far from over.

NY Times: Israel Baseball League $1 million in debt; Baras and league unlikely to return in 2008; Ex-commish leads talks to form new league

It only took six months, but a paid professional sportswriter is doing his job and finally breaking some news in the soap opera saga of the Israel Baseball League. Murray Chass of the New York Times, last heard from back in November when he ran a column on the resignations of the IBL commissioner and advisers-- three days after Our Man Elli in Israel broke the news here (of course he didn't credit Elli or Tabloid Baby)-- brings us up to date on the future of baseball in Israel, along with the revelations that:

* The IBL is a whopping one million dollars in debt;

* Boston bagel baron Larry Baras will most likely not be running baseball in Israel next summer;

* Former US ambassador to Israel Dan Kurtzer, who quit as IBL commissioner the day after we revealed the federal securities fraud lawsuit against Baras, is working to bring all the sides together to clean up the mess the IBL left behind, and form a new, solid league.

Chass writes:

Seeking Common Ground
It’s an old Jewish joke told by Jews among Jews: Put three Jews on a committee, and they’ll have four different opinions.
That’s where baseball in Israel seems to be right now. There’s last summer’s league, there’s a new league that has been announced, there’s an independent businessman who isn’t thrilled with either one and there’s a group of former advisers to the original league who want to resolve the mess and emerge with one strong, viable league.
The mediators include Dan Kurtzer, a former United States ambassador to Israel and commissioner of the Israel Baseball League; Marvin Goldklang, a limited Yankees partner and owner of several minor league teams; and Andrew Zimbalist, a Smith College economics professor.
They hope to get everyone together for a meeting in New York next month.
“Everybody thought the league was a wonderful concept, but serious divisions developed,” Goldklang said. “We have tried to develop an approach under which those who are interested in continuing the league can come together and support a common approach based on a much sounder business plan.”
The Israel Baseball League is about $1 million in debt. Its founder, Larry Baras, the Boston bagel entrepreneur, isn’t likely to be able to operate the league next summer. Jeffrey Rosen, who was Baras’s first investor, has announced the creation of the Israel Professional Baseball League.
That’s exactly what the Goldklang group wants to avoid, starting a new league without settling the chaos left by the original.
Further muddying matters is the relationship between Rosen and Jeffrey Royer, a Canadian investor in the original league and a general partner of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Royer and Rosen are reluctant to meet for their own reasons.
Along with the Goldklang group, Buddy Lewis, whose Nokona Athletics Goods contributed the league’s equipment last summer, wants to see the problems resolved.
“Everybody believes that the notion of baseball in Israel is fantastic and it can be a reality,” Lewis said. “It only means everybody pulling on one rope.”

Watch this space for more, as Our Man Elli follows up and separates the wheat from the Chass.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Israel Baseball League starts bush league blog


The folks behind the Israel Baseball League have taken their licks these past four months since Our Man Elli In Israel's clear-eyed news report about the first season foibles caused an uproar akin to Osama bin Laden spewing anti-Semitic epiphets while strolling naked down King David Street. There were complaints about bounced paychecks, a federal fraud lawsuit against founder Larry Baras, the resignations of the commissioner and advisory board, the formation of a rival league, and recently, the brazen announcement that the IBL is pushing full speed ahead in 2008.

Through it all, Tabloidbaby.com has become the main source for unbiased news about the IBL plans and scandals, and as a result, the lightning rod for criticism. Many people in power did not like the idea that any negative stories were out there at all.

Now, someone in or around the IBL has taken a Public Relations 101 course and is fighting journalism with fire-- a site that on the surface looks very much like this one-- only dedicated solely to good news about the IBL.

Which is a fine idea. On the surface.

For The Love of The Holyland (sheesh), at the unwieldy "HolyLandesMen.blogspot.com," spins stories like the New York Yankees signing of two IBL players to minor league deals (seen at the time as a publicity stunt engineered by the Yankee brass on the IBL advisory board at the time) into

AWESOME SIGNING OF IBL
SEASON ONE PLAYERS

But there's also a disturbing nasty side to the good news site that popped up on Tuesday. Its very first post is an Apocalyptic, Old Testament-style attack on the characters of the men who saw an alternative to the IBL scandals with a new league:

Wolves. Andrew Wilson, Jeffrey Rosen.
Michael Rollhaus. Alan Gardner

False teachers who come disguised as harmless sheep.
Wolves in Sheep's clothing.
Grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

Wolves are attempting to do nothing short of an attempted hostile takeover. It is a time for others to speak. They have tried to smudge the record of a brand new IBL league and people involved, make the chairpersons and affiliated people scamper. Make funding difficult. Start a new league after inflicting damage.

Well it won't work. There are too many people who believe in the goals, the purpose, the sincerity -- and most of all-- the things which could not have gone any more right. The same people who have soiled this league are lightweights compared to the marvelous souls who did everything they could to create this successful first season...

Only egomaniacs-- unbecomingly so-- feel the desire and need to cut the legs off what is around them so that they can do things as they want...

I read about you in the Opening Game program about how baseball and judaisim were like crystals of memory throughout your life. Why didn't you support the IBL rather than assembling troops to oppose and destroy it! Ego and greed...

Puh-leeze. We'd suggest that the Baras Berger boosting baseball boys lighten up. It's only baseball, after all. That kind of rhetoric just clouds debate-- which is probably the purpose. And far from a sacred, holy mission, the idea of baseball in Israel has so far revealed itself to be a business proposition.

Oh yeah-- there's one more sign that "For The Love of The Holyland" is not what it seems... they censor and pre-approve all comments. So for the free flow of ideas, the Knesset of Israel Baseball, you will have to turn here.

Addendum: 29 readers’ comments on Israel Baseball League starts bush league blog

Anonymous said...

How desparate. The IBL is not going to have a second season.

Saturday, December 22, 2007 11:06:00 AM PST


Anonymous said...

Good for Larry. He needs to do this now because when he is thrown in jail where he belongs, he will not have access to a computer!

Saturday, December 22, 2007 6:55:00 PM PST


Anonymous IBL Player said...

Why did someone feel the need to personally attack Alan Gardner? He is not the one who is writing the articles about the league. It is also not his fault that we "as players" have not been paid in full.

This is absolutely ridiculous. I feel this website could be used for good. The news that is coming out about the league may be hurting peoples feelings. And you know what? I understand that. But the fact is its true. Players havent been paid, fields havent been paid for, vendors have outstanding debts and there is obviously a lot more....I could go on.

Reality of the situation is the IBL didn't have a good business plan or budget together before beginning there endeavour. And now that they don't have money to pay their debt, a group of people are attempting to try again.

What is wrong with that? Its business. They aren't "wolves or in to underage women", they are simply attempting to start a league that a lot of people feel will work in Israel. This kind of failure and business "take over" happens every day in the business world. And you know what, its apart of life.

I feel terrible for what is happening to Larry Barras and even worse for his family. Its tragic the first year of the IBL didnt work to plan and he had the founder had "the worst summer of his life". The IBL was not ready for the difficulties they faced and it doenst seem like 3 months after the season much has changed.

This is a very unfortunate situation, which a lot of people feel very strongly about. But all in all, both leagues want the same thing. Baseball in Israel. Isn't that what we all want?

I know that there is a majority of players who would love to go back next summer given the opportunity because this past summer was worth all of the aggravation we went through. But now to see 3 months after the season the league hasn't paid us and their board of directors ran for the hills. Doesn't that tell you something about the league. It's time to move on and let someone else try. Why should the dream of baseball in Israel die because the first group that tried it was not financially responsible?

Sunday, December 23, 2007 4:49:00 PM PST


Anonymous said...

Well said. And the hard reality is that even if every one, including the vendors, were paid before season 2 the IBL has lost the confidence of future vendors, investors and the banks. This is a business.

The nastiness and vindictiveness must end. The priority for the few that remain in the IBL is to find ways to cover the debt. It is unlikely that they will be able to do much more than that.

And let's hope IPBL can make a second season happen with a well funding business plan.

Monday, December 24, 2007 5:03:00 AM PST


Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how the tryouts went in Miami on the 23rd? Also, I wonder what was said there about the financial situation and prior obligations (particularly the salary issues) of the league.

Monday, December 24, 2007 6:27:00 AM PST


Anonymous said...

Don't talk about censorship and how you produce unbiased news reports, put down the blog relating to the IBL, AND THEN DELETE MY POST!!! TB's blog is much worse than the IBL since at least they have the balls to set their blog so everyone knows their comments must be pre-approved.

You on the other hand make it seem like anything can be posted, but what you don't tell readers is that you delete the posts you don't want others to see. You are a bunch of liars and have become what you say you hate most... a bunch of censors!!! How long before you delete this one!!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007 9:08:00 AM PST


Anonymous said...

There is a huge difference to what you said. There are limits to free speech. You cant just make up whatever you want and post it. What you said is slander.

If you want to make posts, make them productive. Its sad if you want to resort to bashing someone who has no involvement with TB.

And not to mention if you are going to bash someone and want free speech you should at least make your name known.

Its sad that we haven't gotten paid and now we are fighting each other rather than the league.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007 12:45:00 PM PST


Blogger tabloidbaby said...

"Don't talk about censorship and how you produce unbiased news reports, put down the blog relating to the IBL, AND THEN DELETE MY POST!!!

"You on the other hand make it seem like anything can be posted, but what you don't tell readers is that you delete the posts you don't want others to see. You are a bunch of liars and have become what you say you hate most... a bunch of censors!!!"

Hey Pally, we'll delete libelous and slanderous posts that we can get sued and or shut down for.

When you call someone a peodophile or go in for other personal attacks that are against the Google guidelines, you get deleted.

Next time sign your name or attach a return address.

You moron. Go delete yourself.

TB

Tuesday, December 25, 2007 1:04:00 PM PST


Anonymous said...

Go re-read the email you deleted bozo. It was done in as a joke and was written as humor. No one could call that slanderous, and you idiots do it all the time. I never said I had proof of anything, and if you had even the slightest clue you would know that. Delete myself... bite me you talentless bunch of losers! As for the idiot who keeps claiming that it's such a shame we haven't been paid, well then go do something about it. That's what a court is for, but you would rather bitch and moan than be a man and stand up for yourself. Screw all of you.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007 5:40:00 PM PST



Anonymous said...

I'll leave a name when you leave a name talentless baby, and TB isn't a name, it's a disease.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007 6:12:00 PM PST


Anonymous IBL PLAYER said...

"They censor and pre-approve all comments. So for the free flow of ideas, the Knesset of Israel Baseball, you will have to turn here." Free flow? Who are we kidding here? Posting naked pictures of Heather Mills is O.K., but a post that is clearly satire is deleted? Sounds like you should practice what you preach or is acting as a censor part of your everyday activity at timid baby - so sorry that the post was against google guidelines. We know how much emphasis is put on the truth and good taste on this blog.

Here let me buy you a dictionary:

Satire:

A literary work in which human vice or folly is attacked through irony, derision, or wit.

Irony, sarcasm, or caustic wit used to attack or expose folly, vice, or stupidity.

Speaking of stupidity - I present to you the staff at TB!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007 7:50:00 PM PST


Anonymous said...

What did I say that was bitching or moaning? I said we havnet gotten paid. Which is a fact. If we sue the league they will without a doubt not be able to have a second season. Not to mention, what assets do they have for us to sue. It is pointless brining it to court. The reason i personally haven't wanted to sue was because i want to give Martin and Larry the benefit of the doubt that they will be getting money soon. But you can't see past that. you just see bitching and moaning. Just like you can't see that your post wasn't funny or humorous. Esepcially about the person you wrote it. Thats why its slander, you moron. I guess you couldn't realize that because you were too busy doing detective work looking up satire in the dictionary. You must have gotten worn out by all that thinking. But its alright.

I just have a couple of question I'm curiouse about, please feel free to answer the ones you want. What has TB lied or been slanderous about? If you were a player last season, have you been paid in full? What do you have against the members of the IPBL? And why do you have so much hate for people giving negative information out about the IBL?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007 7:26:00 AM PST


Anonymous said...

There is no IPBL. Maybe in 2009, maybe 2010, but not in 2008. If you think a new league is popping up next season you are kidding yourself, and if you want baseball to be played next season there is only one game in town regardless of their performance last season. My guess is you care more about your involvement next season than about baseball succeding in Israel.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007 6:48:00 PM PST


Anonymous said...

I'd rather no baseball in Israel if it is to be run by unethical management.

The IBL can not get any funding because of their poor business practices.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007 7:12:00 PM PST


Anonymous Holy Land Hardball said...

You nailed it: You would rather there be no baseball in Israel because it was never more than a job for you.

Most players would have played for free, but a select few had other agendas. I assume you are one of them, and now you don't see yourself going back. It's easy to blame someone else for your bad experience, but take a good hard look in the mirror.

If your paycheck was the main reason you went, maybe you shouldn't have gone in the first place.

Oh, and the IBL can't get any funding because there are some people out there who would like to run a campaign to put doubt into the heads of investors, and suck the life out of anything good that happened last season.

I'm not an idiot, and I have no idea if or how Larry can fix things for next year, but I do know they are owed the opportunity to correct their mistakes. If they can't by the end of next season, I'll be the first to say good luck to the IPBL!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007 8:58:00 PM PST


Anonymous said...

To the posting above:

Your assumptions about me are sadly mistaken. I am not a player but there were players for whom the money was important. Not every one had the resources to spend an entire summer without any income... for the sheer pleasure of playing baseball in Israel. As you know some player, especially those from Latin America, needed to send the money home or for their own day to day expenses.

However, what seldom gets mentioned is that the travel agency and numerous vendors are out tens of thousands of dollars, if not more. These business people are in debt because they relied on contracts and the good faith dealings of the IBL. For their sake, I hope that the IBL and Larry/Martin make good on all this debt. And as much as everyone would like to disparage the advisors who left the IBL, these guys were legitimately worried that their reputations would be tarnished by being associated with an organization that was so fiscally irresponsible. In many ways, a good idea like professional baseball in Israel may have been irreparably harmed for years to come.

Thursday, December 27, 2007 5:42:00 AM PST


Anonymous said...

I think almost everyone who reads this site or has been involved with the IBL realizes how fiscally irresponsible IBL management has been. But what is troubling me the most is the fact that people are beginning to forget that this was professional baseball. Players were supposed to get paid to play. Fields were supposed to be paid for. Vendors were supposed to be paid for. (the list can go on) But they were not. Whether the players would have played for free or not is irrelevent. THe point is all of people mentioned above signed a contract and should get paid. On that same note, this was a business. Not just some club that grown men put together for fun. They went out and got investors to give their hard earned money to them. And what did they do? They spent it frivolouslly.

So now we are at a crossroad. The IBL has a tremendous amount of debt. Everyone can see that the IBL had good intentions and would like to have a second chance. And I would love to see that happen. But reality is I dont see that happening. Rational investors are not going to throw money into a company where they will not see a return on their investment.

While many people out their may read this and feel that all I care about is money. But that is not the case. I have been thinking long and hard about the situation and realize that this is a business first and fun second.

My main interest, whether its the IBL, IPBL or some other group, is having a league in Israel. I would love to be able to watch and follow the league. I think its a great idea. As long as its run properly. Had proper budgeting been in place, none of these conversations would be happening right now and we would all be looking forward to next season.

Thursday, December 27, 2007 11:01:00 AM PST


Anonymous said...

Hey some well written posts!
Thats a first. Who besides the travel agent and players have not gotten paid? did the Miami tryouts boast a great next season?
If only a couple of players and the travel agent did not get paid, bid deal. One small investor can pay the 20-30 thousand they are in debt.

Thursday, December 27, 2007 2:17:00 PM PST


Anonymous said...

One area to look at here is how the Miami tryouts were handled on Dec 23rd, did they even come off and if so what was told to the new prospects. It seems to me that this would be valuable information in judging if there will be a second season. WHAT IS KNOWN ABOUT THE MIAMI TRYOUTS LAST WEEK!?

Friday, December 28, 2007 12:15:00 AM PST


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately the IBL is not dealing with that kind of debt--$30,000. Otherwise it would be well on its way to season 2. It is many times that amount- in the hundreds of thousands. It will not be enough to pay off last year’s debt. The IBL has to raise money for the upcoming year which has got to be several million. As was mentioned in another post investors need to know how this past year’s money was spent and for whatever reason the management has not provided any of this information. It could just be poor record keeping but who knows. Three are a lot of things working against the IBL. I do think that there should be some open and honest communication with the players about what is going. Not just PR postings on the website. Given that there were tryouts in Miami it just begs the question of what is being done to resolve current problems

Saturday, December 29, 2007 8:12:00 AM PST


Anonymous said...

I heard it was cancelled
then the field location changed( probably because of non payment to the field) ran by former IBL players with Berger ,Dukette but not Baras

Saturday, December 29, 2007 11:05:00 PM PST


Anonymous said...

Well was it cancelled or moved? It can't be both? The fact is the tryout went well, and there were several very talented players who were there and will add to to leagues talent next season. It's interesting that the only people saying that there won't be a league next season are the IPBL guys... guess they couldn't get a field to play on so they hope to short circut this season with more lies and negative comments. Hey it's a good business strategy for the IPBL. It's unethical, but hey - look who's involved! Should we expect anything different?

Sunday, December 30, 2007 6:23:00 AM PST


Anonymous said...

the tryouts went well
the New York Times is full of shit
the IBL made a million not lost a million
they have their facts wrong

Sunday, December 30, 2007 9:14:00 PM PST


Anonymous said...

made a million????!!!! From what, ticket sales??? Or maybe it was merchandising, or a TV contract? I'm sure the 75 tickets sold per game brought in tons of money...

Tuesday, January 1, 2008 6:53:00 AM PST


Anonymous said...

Oh yeah.. the IBL made $1 million! No one believes that for one minute. So, please explain why the players who were paid a pittance didn't get paid. It could only mean one thing. The money was misappropriated....but the fact is the IBL is deep in debt

Tuesday, January 1, 2008 12:59:00 PM PST


Anonymous said...

finally, a few steps foward into some thoughtfulness on this site...and then a a couple of steps backward into nonsense.
the truth is that the tryouts went like crap...there were hardly enough players to even make it worthy of a tryout...Dan Duquette was there but didn't bring any of his people who ran last year's tryouts (probably because he is still owed money); let's not kid ourselves, Martin Berger is not the guy you go to for running a baseball tryout. then the field everyone went to was unable to be used...an excuse was given along the lines of "at the last moment, a player who tried out last year threatened to make a legal claim for an injury (pulled hamstring) he suffered...hardly had the ring of truth, but the invitees then had to shuttle to another field about a half an hour away. the fact of the matter is that the founder of the IBL IS about 1 million in the red with no prospects of raising money for year 2...anyone with half a brain who has been following this can figure out that this has nothing to do with the IPBL guys...who gives money to a company to run its second year when the monies also first have to pay off such significant debts from year 1? no one is the answer, not even the apologists for the IBL that have written their support with their eyes closed to the facts...by now, it has sunk in for most of us...let's support moving forward and keeping baseball alive. murray chass doesn't just write things for the Times to write them. Let's remember that it was his journalism that helped the IBL get going...potential investors saw his article, found Baras and got involved...now he has examined the facts and reported them...not even a Roger Clemens-like refutation letter from Larry Baras or his lawyer. It's pretty clear why Mr. Baras is not quoted in the article.

The original investors then took a serious financial bath and have not been given any answers to where the money went and what for...can anyone really say that it isn't time to move on? and doesn't everyone realize that if a new page isn't turned, there will be no professional baseball in Israel?

Let's keep our eyes on the facts and avoid gratuitous misstatements and arrogant, irresponsible commentary.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008 1:17:00 PM PST


Anonymous said...

Wow! Another great posting! What happened to the rival IBL blog?

Tuesday, January 1, 2008 9:15:00 PM PST


Anonymous said...

Yes, this was a well written post. Larry’s bagel business is $1.5 million in debt and the IBL is $1 million in debt. He hasn’t denied any of this. It does seem unlikely that there will be any resolution unless Kurtzer and the other advisors are able to get to the bottom of things (like where the money went) and obtain financing the cover the debt. My guess is that any future investors will want new leadership in place with proven experience. What a mess!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008 6:51:00 AM PST

Anonymous said...

The bagel business is $1.5 million in debt? What is happening with lawsuit from Natalie Blacher in Miami? I believe that money will be dolled out in date sequence of lawsuits. Who takes priority? Israel or USA debts? He definitely has assets as other people such as the Pres of the IBL.

Don't think that you wont get paid due to lack of funds.(AS long as a claim is made!) They have money it is just a matter of time before it is uncovered.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008 11:20:00 AM PST

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Will there be Two Tribes of Israel Baseball in 2008? Our Man Elli provides some expert analysis

First Israel's baseball dream was a reality. Then it was in shambles. Now there may be too much baseball ahead in 2008! In wake of this morning's announcement that the Israel Professional Baseball League is moving forward to replace the Israel Baseball League in the hearts of Israelis (and a polite "no comment yet" from IPBL honchos), we asked Our Man Elli in Israel to sort it out for us.

Tabloid Baby: So Elli, is there room for two leagues in Israel?

Our Man Elli: You're asking me? So far, we still don't know if there's room for one league in Israel. The IBL's first season wasn't marketed to Israelis, so no Israelis showed up. No professional league can survive here unless it is run professionally. But in answer to your specific question: No. I don't think there's room in Israel for two professional baseball leagues.

Do you know what cities the Israel Professional Baseball League plans to represent?

Look, this isn't the States. It's not even Anaheim. The names of the cities on the front of the Israeli uniforms are really immaterial, because the teams don't play in those cities anyway. The IBL picked cities because of their sizes and sizeable Anglo populations. I don't like to assume, but it's probable that the IPBLwill choose similar names for the same reasons. Though there are certainly some nicely-named cities with Anglo populations that could be included-- like Rehovot and Tzfat.

Tzfat.

No. "Tzfat."

Where will the IBL play?

At the moment, there are only the two fields used last summer that are even playable. Those are Gezer and Baptist Village. I mean, it's possible they could convert some soccer fields in the next six months. But it's getting late.

The IPBL announced its season today. Are they really looking to merge with the IBL?

No. Not now they're not. There's no love lost between the two league organizers. but a lot could happen between now and June.

The Hatfields and the Mc-Oys.

Funny. (not laughing) Right now, the people behind the two leagues won't be working together. But, should there be changes within either league's heirachy, anything can happen.

Do two leagues mean there'll be a bidding war or players?

No. The least problem of all the problems any league faces is where to get players. There's no shortage of baseball talent out there. There are outstanding players from around the world, who'd be ecstatic to play in Israel. As we saw last summer. There are players who'd be ecstatic to play in Israel even if they didnt get paid! As we saw last summer.

What about commissioners?

Again, no problem. Neither will get a high-calibre name like Dan Kurtzer to run their league, because there aren't too many former US ambassadors waiting to run a baseball league. But there are certainly competent people in Israel who can be a commissioner of baseball here.

How about Ell--

Don't start.

EXCLUSIVE! ISRAEL BASEBALL PLAYERS IN SECRET SUMMIT: BREAKING BREAD IN MANHATTAN MEETING OVER RIVAL LEAGUES


Earlier today, we reported exclusively that the Israel Professional Baseball League announced that they're charging full speed ahead with plans for an inaugural 2008 season that would go head-to-head with the embattled Israel Baseball League it sprang from. Now, Our Man Elli in Israel reports exclusively on a high-stakes summit led by two senior players who are vehement rivals on the issue. The meeting is taking place right now:

ELLI WOHLGELERNTER REPORTS:


I have just found out that at this very hour [7P EST], that seven players from the Israel Baseball League are holding a reunion at a bistro in the West Village of Manhattan. Seems a couple of fellas from L.A. are in town: Adam Harwood from the Modi'in Miracle and Josh Eichenstein of the Netanya Tigers. They called others, and everyone's getting together.

What's most interesting is that the gathering includes Eric Holtz and Alan Gardner. Now we know from postings and comments at Tabloid Baby that those two are on opposite sides of the fence: Holtz, the player-coach of the champion Bet Shemesh Blue Sox, is an emphatic, vocal and leading defender of the IBL, despite the league's continued lack of financial transparency, while Gardner-- utility outfielder for the Blue Sox and Manhattan lawyer-- is spearheading the new, rival Israel Professional Baseball League. These two players were among the elders of the league (Holtz turns 42 on wednesday; Gardner turned 46 a month ago) and they have the ear of the younger guys.

The others in attendance are the Blue Sox's Scott Perlman, Tel Aviv Lightning's Nate Fish, and Tiger Leon Feingold. Perlman has just been named director of group ticket sales for the IBL, so it would seem that Gardner will be the player on the hot seat at that table-- when Feingold and Holtz aren't busy throwing barbs my way.

I spoke to Nate Fish before the get-together, and he told me that it wasn't a meeting to explore options of where to play, or even to discuss the ongoing soap opera. "I just want to see the guys," he said. "I hope there’s not too much talk with what’s going on with the league. I just want to reminisce about the good times over the summer, and laugh about it. I'll be happy to avoid too much of the drama of what’s going on right now."

Fish said most of the players he talks with do not discuss the ongoing developments with the IBL or the IPBL, but rather their individual circumstances with the IBL and the money the league still owes them.

"A lot of people are talking about their personal situation in relation to the league," Fish told me. "People aren’t having a dialogue; they are venting their feelings on the league, as opposed to the actual news and the drama."

He said he was caught by surprise to hear about the new IPBL league being formed.

"I can’t believe it," Fish said. "I was shocked that this is happening. The only logical thing is that this new league is not buying the IBL and not merging,-- that it’s an attack on the IBL, to put the IBL out of business.

"At this point there is no room for two leagues."

Fish said he probably wouldn't play for either league, as he's getting on with life, and in fact, he's continuing to write his memoir about the first season of the IBL.

EXCLUSIVE: RIVAL ISRAEL BASEBALL LEAGUE MOVES FORWARD: ANNOUNCES WEBSITE; UNVEILS LOGO; CALLS ITSELF "PREMIER LEAGUE IN ISRAEL"!


What was first reported exclusively on Tabloid Baby is now official: a second professional baseball league in Israel has been formally launched.

Our Man Elli got his hands on this release from the backers of the proposed Israel Professional Baseball League, announcing six teams for a season in the summer of 2008, going up directly against the Israel Baseball League, which announced its second season just last week:


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TRIANGLE FINANCIAL SERVICES LAUNCHES
NEW ISRAEL PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL LEAGUE
INFORMATIONAL WEBSITE

AVENTURA, FL., December 4, 2007- Triangle Financial Services, a sports and entertainment investment firm, announced today the launch of the Israel Professional Baseball League (IPBL) informational website ( http://www.trianglefs.com/ipbl.html). The IPBL is the second professional baseball league in the Middle East and will be the premier professional baseball league in the land of Israel. The IPBL will be a six-team league that will begin play in the summer of 2008. The IPBL is a separate league from the Israel Baseball League.

ABOUT TRIANGLE FINANCIAL SERVICES Triangle Financial Services, a sports and entertainment investment firm, has a diverse portfolio of international sports enterprises. The recent acquisition of the Maccabi Haifa professional basketball team in Israel along with the sponsorship of the Dragonflies, a semi-professional baseball team in Hong Kong, China, represents Triangle's continued effort to invest in emerging international sports ventures. For more information on Triangle Financial Services, please visit www.trianglefs.com.

The league's webpage seeks players, contributors and personnel.

The IPBL was first announced last month, the week that the IBL's commissioner and advisory board went running for the hills because of financial problems and questions surrounding league founder Larry Baras-- also reported exclusively here.

Regarding this recent development, Our Man Elli had this comment: "Let the bean-ball war begin!"

(Heading up the new league are Jeffrey Rosen, a major IBL investor and owner of the Maccabi Haifa basketball team; Andrew Wilson, a facilitator on the ground for the IBL who now works for Rosen; Alan Gardner, a New York City attorney who played centerfield for the Beit Shemesh Blue Sox; and Michael Rollhaus, a businessman from Queens and major IBL investor.)