Sunday, February 17, 2008

Another IBL apologist-- or is something afoot?

Despite all that’s gone down with Larry Baras and his Israel Baseball League these past six months, and all the wonders of the Internet that allow news to be posted and travel across the world and beyond in seconds, we sometimes wake up, find a Google alert of another IBL story out there, open it and get the feeling that we’re still in the era of the Pony Express.

Recent posts from sites like Carry On Citizens and this morning's The Bleacher Report show evidence that Our Man Elli in Israel’s pioneering reportage travels slowly— or on the brighter side of the coin, that some writer-sportfans can still maintain their childlike enthusiasm and imagine that even in the sports business world, the glass just might be half-full:

But then we remember that The Bleacher Report wrote whitewashed praise of the IBL as late as December 28th-- and find that the author of this Bleacher report, "scribe" Bruce Maddy-Weitzman, is not only a Senior Research Fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle East and African Studies at Tel Aviv University who filled in as an assistant coach on the IBL's Ra'anana Express (for which his son Danny was a pitcher)-- but an IBL advisory board member.

And then we have to wonder what they're up to now:

Israel Baseball League:
Will There Be a Second Season?

by Bruce Maddy-Weitzman (Scribe)

Last summer, I had the wonderful opportunity to be part of the Israel Baseball League's inaugural season.

A self-styled developmental league, the IBL consisted of six teams, playing a 48-game schedule, with players who were mainly graduates of college baseball programs in the US, along with a number of players from the US and other countries, mainly Dominicans, who had already played minor league or independent league ball, and about 15 of Israel's top players.

The last three weeks of the season, I served as an assistant coach of the Ra'anana Express team, coached by Shaun Smith, an Australian with a terrific baseball mind.

We are all anxiously waiting to see if the IBL can iron out its financial problems and get a second season up and running.

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