Sunday, June 22, 2008

IBL: Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

Get the joke with picture? Good.

No? Then go to our archive site and figure it out.

So here we go again: a group of American businessmen with dollar signs in their eyes rush into a season of baseball in a country thousands of miles away, and they do it secretly, ducking questions, refusing to step into the sunshine and simply brush the dirt off home plate.

Secrecy. Arrogance. Nastiness. Something so simple, so refreshing, so steeped in tradition-- baseball, for G-dsake—brings those words to mind because of the manner in which the business men behind the Israel Baseball League chose to make their return: restarting the countdown clock on the IBL website, leaking anonymous, teasing comments on this website, sliming Our Man Elli in Israel and then timing an announcement to the premiere of a feelgood documentary about the leagues’s 2007 start-up.

The undercover operatives of the IBL even sullied their greatest marketing tool, that acclaimed Holy Land Hardball documentary, by insinuating that the film was edited to further discredit the reporter who's covered the historic story singlehandedly:

“When you get to see the movie, watch the utter joy in Elli's face as he asks a typical leading question forshadowing the failure of the IBL before the season even starts. Don't tell me he is an unbiased reporter... now it's forever on film for everyone to see and a picture is worth 10,000 Elli Wanabergers words!!!”

How different the reception to the new bright and shiny Israel Baseball League would have been, had new “president” Dan Rootenberg and his older, experienced colleagues announced the return with a news conference, or an interview with Our Man Elli, and answered- or at least addressed the questions on everyone’s minds.

But they didn't. And a poke through the comments section of this site shows that while there's pride and excitement over the news that Israel may indeed host a four-team, twenty-game, three-week, momentum-keeping “season” next month, the smirking secrecy of the league management has also caused confusion and anger:

When are the debts being paid? Has anybody been paid yet?
Who is still owed money???
T his might be the last time you can come forward and make a claim.
 Dan what are your plans?

I would want to be paid for last season and this season BEFORE I got on the plane to go anywhere with the IBL!!!

Dan is also a fool because he now exposes himself to the possibility of being party to the fraud which is the IBL.

 Before you agree to be president of a league you better make sure the books are clean.

You better make sure you know who Larry took money from and who is owed money. 

Larry took money from many people and had many side and individual deals with people.

There is a long trail of emails to support this. 

Larry has ruined himself and the people who go into business with him will either be taken by Larry or subject themselves to covering the fraud.

It's great to see how the players have manifested their selfish motives. How can they dream of playing if their teammates have not been paid?

1. The IBL has not paid its debts for last year.
 2. There are claims that they will take care of their debts but these claims should be looked at with a great deal of doubt.
 3. Investors in the new entity should no that they are in danger of investing in a scam and they may incur liability in doing such.
 4. I hope that the ibl management knows that if they come to Israel there is a good chance that they might not get to leave the country and return to the states until their debts are cleaned up.

I look forward to going to the games and booing Berger and Baras for the scam artists they are.

So let the questions begin:

Is Larry Baras the Paul Winchell to Rootenberg’s Knucklehead Smith?

Is Baras, the Wizard hiding behind the curtain?

Why did they wait so long to announce their plans (thirty-eight days before Opening Day? Was it because they didn't know if they would have a league, or because they didn't want the media—especially Our Man Elli-- asking questions?

Why did the IBL 10 quit? Why were they wrong to do so?

Even if all debts are paid tomorrow, why has there has been no disclosure of how much money was raised last summer and how much was spent?

With 35 days to go, and no announcement of how to buy tickets, where the games will take place, who’s playing and managing, who are the games being played for? Certainly not the native Israelis who ignored the league last year.

Is this mini-“season” being jerryrigged in order to fulfill a contract with the IAB?

The anonymous boobirds and IBL operatives can slam us they want. We want professional baseball in Israel as much as anyone else. But we'll continue doing our job, which is to ask questions. And find the answers.

And seriously, why's everything so hush-hush?

By the way, the “clock to nothing” on the IBL site has been reset, and now the Opening Day game is scheduled for 6:03 pm on July 27.

1 comment:

BringHeat said...

The IBL documentary "Holy Land Hardball" made its world premiere in the prestigious Silverdocs festival in Washington DC this past weekend; the movie itself was great, and *extremely* well received by both audiences - it was universally hailed as one of the top films of the festival.

It was also an evenhanded picture of the plusses and minuses of the events leading up to last season - and many of the players in the audience were able to enjoy the view from management's perspective as well as be reminded of some of the events which made last year so special. This was a completely independent documentary done by Eric Kesten and Brett Rapkin, beholden to no one other than the audience - and they did an exemplary job putting together the kind of newsworthy piece Elli only imagines in his wettest of dreams.

Speaking of whom, it was brilliant watching Elli try to trash the league from BEFORE day one - so much for his claims to legitimate journalism. What a tool!!!

Oh, and now that the league is back, it will be nice to have the rest of the world to turn to for news on the IBL rather than TabloidBaby. For nothing else, they've been good for keeping alive some degree of buzz about the league and baseball in Israel. So... thanks! I guess there really is something to the saying that even bad publicity is good publicity.

I'll be back this year, and the arm feels great - looking forward to seeing who else will be.

Leon Feingold, Netanya Tigers