Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Close, but no deal yet for Israel summer baseball

The last-ditch, eleventh-hour push to launch a second season of professional baseball in Israel continues as the upstart Israel Professional Baseball League gets closer to the unlikely prospect of an Opening Day this summer of 2008.

IPBL frontman Jeffrey Rosen, the Miami millionaire Magnetix maven and former Israel Baseball League investor who split off from the troubled operation and announced the new league in November, tells Our Man Elli in Israel (who happens to be in the United States now and wasted no time at all in breaking more news in this important and historic saga while standing outside Wrigley Field) that he and the IPBL are "going forward... working away... to create an viable plan." Rosen says he and his team "hope to make a formal announcement soon.

"Rest assured we are working hard to undo the mess of last year."

Rosen ignored Our Man Elli's specific questions:

I understand the IPBL has been certified by the IAB. Is that true?
How many fields are there, and how many teams?
Who and how many different owners are there?
Who are the managers and coaches?
Is the next tryout happening?
Where are the players sleeping and eating?
Is there an agreement with a bus company, an EMS car, a medic, a trainer?
Is there any national advertising?
Merchandising agreement?
Bats and balls?

"Thanks for your continued interest," said Rosen. Not much, but then again, any statement at all from the very tight-lipped IPBL camp is significant, coming days before its Sunday player tryouts and amid rumours that the league has been certified by the Israel Association of Baseball, the country's governing body for sport which canceled the IBL's contract in January (as we reported exclusively).

Sources tell us that no deal has yet been made with the IAB. But the ball is rolling...

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