Thursday, June 19, 2008

Israel Baseball Notebook-- LITERALLY! We post the leftover notes we've gathered today so the "mainstream" media can claim them as their own!

The Israel Baseball League has gotten itself back into the news with a curveball press release picked up by the Associated Press and copied by the Jerusalem Post that spread the news around the world that the disgraced, debt-ridden league was resurrected like Lazarus and back for a miraculous second season with embattled founder hiding in a bunker and a fresh young IBL player stuffed into a suit and paying president.

The news spread, the fans rejoiced, the anonymous commenters said "Nyah nyah!" to us-- before we even had our coffee and had a chance to sort a few things out: like the fact that this spurious announcement came on the morning of the premiere of the lauded IBL documentary film, Holy Land Hardball, the second "season" is more like a barnstorming exhibition of 21 days, and the league does not have permission to set up shop in Israel. We gathered all those details by midmorning, and a few hours later the Jerusalem Post printed a clarification article-- again failing to give credit where we feel it's due: to Our Man Elli in Israel.

We're calling it day, but have a notebook full of information we will spill out so all the paid mainstream journalists can take it and call the work their own:

...the original contract with the IAB from last June 21st stipulated from the beginning that there would be a second season. Although the agreement was nullified by the IAB's January 9 termination letter, Larry Baras might be protecting himself by attempting some kind of season,
a) in order to show he tried to abide by the contract, and/or

b) then turn around if need be and sue the IAB for not allowing him to fulfill the contract...

...sources on the new lineup of IBL executives: they've marginalized Baras, because he became the No. 1 liability. Is he getting paid by the league?

...Rootenberg invested $25,000 in the IBL last year. (
REDACTED) and (REDACTED) say his involvement is an attempt to recoup some of his money. One former IBL official said called him an "asshole, because for him to align himself with Larry, and being an ex-player and knowing that ex-players have not been paid-- that's more than just being an asshole."

...Non-involved fan quote: "Nothing like a drawn-out spring training season"...

...Another ex-IBL official: "I suspect the announcement may be more show than substance, as I can't imagine how they can afford to operate a professional league. Perhaps this is more about a group of players trying to do their own thing."

Same official: "Just heard that Berger is claiming that a group of 'Boston bankers' will rescue the IBL and pay off its debts, but I'll believe it when I see it."

...IBL insider: "We've heard the IBL has not been licensed by the IAB, which I doubt would license them without assurances of debt payment and a requirement that the league post a bond to assure that future Israeli obligations would be paid. That's not to say it couldn't happen, but the IBL's reputation precedes itself and there is considerable skepticism all around. The Boston 'bankers" or 'businessmen-- we've heard both terminologies-- haven't yet been identified to others, and if Larry in fact has been successful in persuading others to invest, it may be that he doesn't want people able to contact them with information that might not have been disclosed to them. Speculation, but it's quite difficult to understand how savvy bankers or businessmen would invest, given the history and circumstances of the IBL."

... Political pundit: "The whole thing is so bizarre-- the website announces a new season, but has no schedule, no place to buy tickets, no announced venues to play, no names of players or managers, no merchandise to purchase - what the hell are they doing? and what kind of season is 20 games? and what kind of league is four teams?"

... IBL website had been updated today

a) the items in the front are out of order...
E-Rod signing from April 29
is on top
b) below it is:

“Holyland Hardball” Has World Premiere
-- self promotion
New IBL Store Makes Its First Appearance
-- only selling stuff from last season
2008 IBL Season Announced!
-- second time the season is announced (we had it before).

This gives us the details on who is playing...

...that last one is very interesting, might want to post with this graph: "By working with such organizations as the Jewish National Fund, the Jerusalem Foundation, Maccabiah, the Israel Association of Baseball and the Israel Softball Association, along with local community groups, the IBL hopes to support the programs in Israel that already exist and to generate excitement throughout the country as only baseball can..."

Where have we heard that before?

..."Announcements will appear soon as to the exact schedule and how to purchase tickets"... a month away, and no schedule, and no place to purchase tickets and fans will suddenly swarm to the park?

"In particular, we would like to note the fact that last year, over 4,000 fans showed up for opening game"-- figure has jumped to 4,000. Until now it's been 3,000...

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