Sunday, January 13, 2008

Did The Jerusalem Post send out a "Britney" memo regarding coverage of the Israel Baseball League?

As we await the big summit meeting that will decide the future of professional baseball in Israel, Hometown paper The Jerusalem Post has been very slow, lax and deficient in its coverage of the game, the league, the controversies and the scandals that have been covered so comprehensively here under the leadership of Our Man Elli In Israel. Yet in recent weeks, the JP has been playing catch-up, as if someone, in the spirit of the recent Associated Press memo instructing staff that virtually anything involving Britney (Spears) is a big deal." To wit, the story about New York Mets GM Omar Minaya's visit to promote the Israeli-Palestinian children's sports program:

...When asked about the Israel Baseball League that got off the ground last summer, Minaya was very optimistic for the future, despite the resignation of many of the leading members of the IBL advisory board in November.

"The fact that they had the league last year is a great step," Minaya says. "I think that, in hearing from the people I'm talking to over here, we need to build more fields and strengthen the little league development in the country."

Regarding the mixed reviews the IBL received in its inaugural season, Minaya says he believes that, "anytime you have a league, growth and youth development will come along with it, so it is important for the league to continue to grow and get better to maintain and further the game's expansion in Israel."

Going forward, Minaya is clear that he understands the need for Major League Baseball to become involved in developing the sport in this country for it ultimately to be successful.

"I hope to come back to Israel to see the baseball league here during the season and I know that we, the Mets, hope to be able to participate and help out as much as we can with baseball here," he stresses.

Looks like someone is instructing the reporters to be sure to include an IBL question in every interview. (Did they ask former MLB team owner President Bush? Send us your sightings.)


Pick out the four mistakes among the five statements in the lede of this IBL posting on the a site called Blog Aladdin:

"The Israel Baseball League had a successful debut season on the field with six teams competing in a full schedule of games that were well received with attendance that generally exceeded expectations. The on-field product was very good and two players received minor league contracts with the Yankees. However, the offseason is a different story and the viability of the league and its ability to play a second season are in serious doubt."

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