Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Israel baseball dreams inspire a Field of Life

Don't ever let anyone tell you that the Israel Baseball League left a stain on the Holy Land. Though it ended in financial disarray, accusations and shame, its weeks of play inspired all who watched the players in the game, not of the least of whom was graphic artist Dov Abramson, who's come up with his own spiritual metaphor in “Baseball: Field of Life.”

“A friend showed me an article a couple of years ago about the similarity in form between the [kabala] Tree of Life and the baseball diamond,” Abramson tells Ron Kaplan in the New Jersey Jewish News. “I always thought it would be cool to visualize the idea. I finally sat down and did it for Opening Day, 2008.”

Each defensive position on the baseball diamond, including a spot for the first base umpire, follows the Tree of Life design and retains the Hebrew headings.

"It got great response from baseball fans," Abramson tells Kaplan. "As with some of my work, which almost always deals with Jewish themes — sometimes in unexpected ways — I did expect some raised eyebrows about mixing kabala with baseball. But since I know that I did it with the utmost respect and with no intention of cheapening the kabala, I think it was received well.”

Abramson, 33, was born in Saratoga Springs, NY and now lives with his wife and two daughters in Jerusalem where he works as a “visual communicator.”

The article continues:

“I got bit with the baseball bug before I can remember,” said Abramson, who fondly recalled watching Yankees games broadcast by the late Phil Rizzuto and Warner Wolf on the evening news. “My parents tell the story that on the airplane to Israel, all I cried about was that I was being taken away from baseball.”

Needless to say, Abramson was overjoyed when baseball came to Israel in the form of the Israel Baseball League.

“Pro ball in the Holy Land? Never thought that would happen in my lifetime. So I dusted off the old gloves I brought with me in 1983, packed up the girls, and went to the ballpark at Gezer.”

“Even though I am married to an Israeli, speak Hebrew with my daughters, and rarely travel to the States, I now never miss a game or a stat.”

(...and a tip of the Tabloid Baby hat to authorized IBL biographer Ron Kaplan for the great story...)

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