Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Bulletin! Our Man Elli's Israel baseball update

"Jeff Rosen has lost a couple of key investors who weren't satisfied with the IPBL business plan... He's close to a deal with the IAB but hasn't finalized playing facilities... The uncertainties have prevented real marketing efforts... Tryout registrations have been slow..."

From his home base in Jerusalem, Our Man Elli in Israel has led every other journo in the world in coverage of professional baseball in Israel, including the first investigative report that exposed the problems of the first season, the collapse of the league and formation of a rival organization, subsequent financial scandals, frantic finaglings behind the scenes and ultimately, the effort by former players, investors and officials to organize play for the Sumemr of '08.

Only problem was most of the action has been taking place in the States, where the moneyed Israel-supporting sports moguls and season ticket-holding businessmen live work and call the shots for a league thousands of miles and worlds away.

So what good fortune that just as the season is once again on the line, Our Man Elli is back in the States for a lecture tour of synagogues and universities (and to be here for Major League Baseball's Opening Day). He's here to talk about political issues in the Middle East (Elli's not only a baseball but but a world-renowned print journalist and television correspondent for the Israeli Broadcasting Authority) but is already fielding baseball questions.

Earlier today, after landing in Chicago, he took a taxi to Wrigley Field and took time from worship at Clark & Addison to bring us the latest on IBL investor and Miami millionaire Magnetix maven Jeffrey Rosen and his Israel Professional Baseball League's last-minute efforts to play ball this summer.

As he heads to a lecture at Purdue University, through the innovations in Internet technology, Elli checks in from the new, still-under construction, Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis with the latest breaking news:

"Sources tell me that Jeff Rosen has lost a couple of key investors who weren't satisfied with the IPBL business plan, but he's pursuing efforts to find additional investors. If he's unsuccessful, he may invest more of his own money himself , but if that's the case, he'd scale back the league from six to four teams to reduce his risk exposure.

"I heard this week that he's 'close to a deal' with the IAB (Israel's baseball governing body) but hasn't finalized arrangements for playing facilities. Not yet. His initial plan, to play in Bat Yam and Ra'anana, appears to have run into obstacles and he's taking a look at the possibility of returning to Gezer and the Baptist Village (which he initially didn't want to do).

"I'm told the uncertainties have prevented the IPBL from commencing real marketing efforts and I'm told that so far, no revenue has come in to support his league. There's a tryout scheduled for this Sunday in Miami, but registrations reportedly have been slow. I don't know whether Jeff has made arrangements with (the IBL's) Dan Duquette for player procurement, but if he hasn't, he may have difficulty replicating the overall calibre of play last year.

"All in all, Rosen and the IPBL have a lot of work to do, and not a great deal of time."

Find all our exclusive, historic coverage of the Israel's professional baseball saga at our Baseball in Israel archive site...


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