Saturday, July 19, 2008

Alan Gardner returns to Israel baseball debate

Alan Gardner has waded back in the Israel baseball fray.

The New York City attorney and former outfielder for the Israel Baseball League was one of the players who'd tried to step in a save the day by replacing the chaotic, crumbing IBL with an Israel Professional Baseball League that turned out to be just as secretive and in the end unsuccessful as its competitor.

Alan-- please, don't sue us!-- has been a cagy and prickly sort, no fan of satire, and very tight on information but quick to threaten us with legal action-- or even have our site taken down-- if we didn't remove anonymous postings about him in our comments section that he deemed to be libelous or even harmful (someone did a twist on a hoary old "kill the lawyers" joke-- see Shakespeare), after he'd elevated himself from a public figure-baseball player (he was on a card, wasn't he?) to public figure-frontman for an internationally-publicized fantasy baseball league.

We felt that Alan was a little sensitive, especially for a lawyer, and didn't "get" this Internet anonymity thing (or the therapeutic aspect of anonymous commenting by IBL veterans afraid of repercussions should they come forward), but hey, some of the comments were a step over the line and we're not out to hurt or embarrass anyone nor do we have time for legal fights.

We removed the comments; Alan went back to lawyering and brushing off our questions about what the heck was going with that IPBL.

Now he's back in his role as wise old Israel baseball public figure and opponent of anonymous postings, commenting on the brouhaha over Eric Holtz, the brash IBL apologist who, if he was a "man" as he likes to challenge all comers, would "man up" and "be a man and apologize for what he said about Our Man Elli in Israel.

Alan has written an entry in our comments section which is worth reprinting, and will probably mean we'll have to delete any negative comments about Alan. So be prepared.

Mr. Gardner:

Alan Gardner said...
Friday, July 18, 2008 7:33:00 PM PDT

"Hey guys... ok, it's time to stop all this anonymous stuff that's been going on... this IS a serious situation... the IBL's infrastructure has crumbled... very little, if anything, meaningful is left and for some very disturbing reasons (as clearly stated in the Goldklang/Zimbalist resignation letter and the Spectrum Capital cancellation letter)... unfortunately, Larry Baras and Martin Berger could not even secure a bridge loan that would allow the league to make the final payments on salaries due to players, managers and personnel and fees owed to vendors. The federal lawsuit allegations are, if true, deeply disturbing and no-one can miss the unusual parallels between the allegations and what we in the league have experienced… And, if we have comments to make from hereon forward, let's make them professional and fact-based and sign off on them. Let's leave the emotional nonsense and smoky messages to the others that have been pulling the wool over our eyes (and, it seems, others) for a bit too long already. " NOVEMBER '07

The anonymous, immature, irrelevant and, at times, mean-spirited and false comments on this site about the different individuals involved in various aspects of the IBL debacle are why I stepped away from this forum. Frankly, the forum was having no meaningful purpose.

For sure, Tabloid Baby includes a degree of lampooning, but the issues involved in the survival and continued development of baseball in Israel deserve to be treated, by the by, very seriously and without spurious and even potentially libelous verbal missives. When the masses remained anonymous and, largely, juvenile, I left TB to those who seemed to have nothing better to do than, among other things, call Larry Baras "fat and sweaty". Larry's size and tendency to perspire are in little, if any, way relevant to the, at a minimum, grossly negilgent mismanagement he brought to what should have and could have been a well executed amazing idea... baseball in Israel.

Recently, I was directed back to TB by a friend who has followed it. With Elli providing some on the mark investigative info, much has come to light about the current state of affairs, all of which has confirmed real, fact-based concerns raised by some of us all too long ago. Unfortunately, TB has again devolved into more of the same from some folks. While some people posted some straight forward questions to Eric Holtz after his comment on the blog, the personal attacks on him have no place here, or anywhere.

However, given that many, many months ago, there were plenty of people in the know that saw very clear and irrefutable evidence to make sure the Larry Baras regime came to an end, it is a fair question why business smart guys like Eric stood strong with him. So, I am willing to adopt those question that were asked of him by anonymous posters.

I do this because I believe that full disclosure will go a long way towards closure on the original IBL and it's Solomontian 2d incarnation and allowing the future of baseball in Israel to start on a healthy course. This is a venture, given its brief and tortured history, that needs to be led by well-respected, upstanding business people, not those who carry clouds of suspicion and negative reputations whirling about them. I know that there are interested, intelligent, well-intentioned and well-funded people out there who would love to build an oasis of baseball in Israel.

Heck, if there is a chance that Eric and I even see eye to eye on some of the issues, call that gravy. The key is righting the path of the future of the great sport that we all love in the land of milk and honey.

Let's play will happen.


One note: That November posting with which Alan led off his latest comments, included another couple of lines:

"There is, from what I have seen in discussions that I have been having with some very responsible and concerned people, a very bright light at the end of the tunnel. I believe that baseball will continue in Israel and will have a brighter future than the past season could ever have foretold.

"If you have concerns about money owed to you, please reach out to me at 917-710-7168 or by email at"

Meanwhile, when it comes to commenting here, please do, feel free, anonymous or otherwise...

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