Friday, June 27, 2008


Larry Baras, the beleaguered Boston bagel baron who founded the Israel Baseball League, then left Israel while the final game of the first season was still being played, leaving behind a million dollars in unpaid bills and riding into a future of lawsuits, acrimony, accusations and chaos, has come out of hiding to bask in the new, folksy, heroic image he's been given in the new IBL documentary, Holy Land Hardball.

Baras, whose name is not used in the launch of the "new" IBL's four-year, 20-game, three-week, momentum-keeping "mini-season," emailed Giants baseball fan Jay Roberts' Jaybird's Jottings site, in response to a Hardball review that painted Baras as a dreamer facing an "enormous challenge":

The Boston entrepreneur, reflecting on his faith, wanted to do something special for Israel. A lover of baseball, he was inspired to put together the Israel Baseball League, which made its debut season last summer... Giants fans will be interested to know that at the beginning of the film, when Baras was at his home, he talked about his father Hyman who was a Giants fan. Baras pulled out a well-worn Giants SF hat out of a drawer, worn by his Dad and a momento of the times they shared...

Roberts writes that Baras emailed the site with even more recollections:

"I'm not precisely sure how my father became a Giants fan, but I know he was a fan of the team his whole life. Even during World War II, when he served in the Philippines, he maintained a correspondence both with one of the players and with a reporter who covered the Giants.

"In my house, the Giants were treated as if there was some sanctity attached to them. For the first ten or fifteen years of my life, I would often listen to Giants games with my father via a green transistor radio that he had bought me that got games clearly even from as far away as Chicago, Cincinnati and St Louis. When there were games that ended after I was asleep already but had a dramatic and fortuitous ending, he would come into my room, wake me up, and recreate the ending for me as if it were taking place live.

"In the mid-60s (I think I am correct on the period), NBC started to broadcast the Game of the Week on Saturday afternoons. Sometimes, the Giants would be on. This presented a problem in our household because we were Sabbath observant and couldn't turn on the television. For the first time, my father went out and bought a timer, connected it to the TV, set it for 2 pm on Saturday, and we would actually watch television on the Sabbath, albeit in strict conformance with the rules of the day."

Baras last surfaced in April, when he was quoted in an article about Fenway Park hotdogs. Before that, his last public comment was recorded on November 20, 2007, when, amid our exclusive revelations of an IBL-related federal security fraud lawsuit filed against him, he wrote to Our Man Elli in Israel, accusing the journalist of “destroying” him because of the IBL-related stories he had broken.

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