Friday, March 21, 2008

Israel Baseball: SI thinks the IBL is still alive

With so much of their attention focused on steroid scandals and swimsuits, we can forgive the guys at Sports Illustrated for not keeping up with all the latest international sports news, but some stories, like the fate of the Israel Baseball League, tend to stand out more than others. So eyebrows in the Tabloid Baby office did raise today while perusing the website's excerpt from the new book, Change Up: An Oral History of 8 Key Events That Shaped Baseball-- and not because sports oral histories are the provenance of Our Man Elli In Israel, the journalist who broke and continues to own the Israel baseball story.

No, it's the description of Ron Blomberg, who's a voice in the new book:

"On the eve of the 2008 baseball season -- the 35th anniversary of the debut of the designated hitter in the American League in 1973 -- presents an exclusive excerpt from Change Up, in which Ron Blomberg, the first DH, and nine others recount their memories of the new rule, and how it all got started...

"Ron Blomberg: The first DH in 1973 while playing for the Yankees, the left-handed swinger's eight-year career was cut short by shoulder and knee injuries. His autobiography, Designated Hebrew, was published in 2006, and he is currently the manager of the Bet Shemesh Blue Sox of the Israel Baseball League."

"Currently the manager of the Bet Shemesh Blue Sox of the Israel Baseball League?"

Do they know something we don't know? More likely, as we chase down the latest in what could build into an avalanche of lawsuits against the defunct IBL and its founder Larry Baras, they reproduced already-outdated information from the book, and like the rest of the mainstream sports media, is still playing catch-up.

Speaking of catching up, catch Elli Wohlgelernter on his US speaking tour that kicks off in Chicago next week. The newsman is in the States to talk serious international issues, but he's bound to field more than a few baseball queries along the way...

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