Tuesday, July 29, 2008

From Film Stew: "Forty-Five and Steroid Free"

July 28, 2008 at 11:50 AM

Steroid Free

The unlikely tale
of the oldest player
to participate in the
first year of the
Israel Baseball League
has been turned into
a documentary.

By FilmStew Staff

The stats posted in the summer of 2007 by Israel Baseball League pitcher Ari Alexenberg – 0 wins, 6 losses, 4 saves, 33 innings pitched and an ERA of 7.64 – don’t quite tell the whole story. Missing from this box score is the fact that although he was a pretty horrible starting pitcher, he was excellent in relief. Not to mention the fact that when he logged his rookie IBL season last year with the Petah Tikva Pioneers, he was straddling the tender age of 45-46.

The unlikely baseball odyssey of Alexenberg, a Portsmouth, New Hampshire resident, has been turned into a documentary by local TV commercials production house Sanger Communications. Among the salient story points are the fact that Alexenberg taught himself how to play as a youth because his Orthodox Jewish upbringing forbade him from playing Little League games on the Sabbath day of Saturday; the fact that it was his wife who put him on plane for tryouts; and the notion that – per a report in the Portsmouth Herald - he got to suit up as an eventual player-manager alongside one of his former idols, Peta Tikvah Pioneers manager Ken Holtzman (a one-time pitcher for the Chicago Cubs and Oakland A’s).

Alexenberg is not sure whether he will return to the IBL for a second season. Currently, in addition to working as director of the Boston Israel Action Center, he plays for three different city men’s leagues.

Last year, the 6-foot-one-inch Alexenberg was easily the oldest player in the IBL, which was launched by former Boston Red Sox GM Dan Duquette. With a documentary headed for the film festival circuit, a possible book deal and plans by Sanger to separately pitch the story to Hollywood, he could also soon be a middle-aged movie star.

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