Monday, April 28, 2008

IBL's Jake Ayers trades bagels for Saltdogs

The Lincoln Saltdogs of Lincoln, Nebraska and the independent American Association baseball league have a refugee from the Israel Baseball League on the roster as they take to the field tonight for the first time in 2008 as they head to Midway Stadium in St. Paul, Minnesota for a pair of exhibition games against their longtime rivals, the Saints.

Our Sports Central reports that The Saltdogs head into the pre-season with 27 players on their spring roster, including one non-roster invitee, catcher Jake Ayers. The 6’ 1’’ native of Peoria, Illinois native played in 21 IBL games with the league champion Bet Shemesh Blue Sox. According to American Association rules, The Saltdogs can carry as many as 28 players on their roster until three days before the regular season begins on May 8th, when they have to cut back to 22 active players.

And as we salute Jake on his good fortune, we ask that somebody set straight the folks behind the Selfish Teams blogsite, who report today that in a “new development” in Israel, “a new league was formed this past year that’s called The Israel Baseball League — with stadiums in places near Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Among the feats accomplished during the season, catcher Eladio Rodriguez of the Modi’in Miracle (and, contractually, the New York Yankees) hit .461 with 102 at-bats…

“Interestingly, in case you wonder about the citizenry of Eladio Rodriguez, the IBL does not presently have any rules on citizenship; however, it’s their stated goal to ‘to raise the level of play throughout the country so that at least 25% of the players in the league are Israeli by Year 5’ (of the League)…”

A new development? Year 5???

Eladio, as our readers know, never showed up for Spring Training with the Yankees farm team to which he’d been assigned. And since he’s been known to travel from his native Dominican Republic to other nations to play ball under a variety of assumed names, we also ask, “Where’s Eladio?”

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