Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Dan Rootenberg, the Player King of the New Israel Baseball League, has tossed aside his crown and walked away.

We say, "Hats off to Dan!"

And sadly, we knew it was going to come to this, because there was no other way it could end. Dan Rootenberg proved himself to be an upstanding straight shooter, who took on the job– or at least was in line for the job-- as "in-coming president" of the Israel Baseball League for one purpose: to straighten out the outstanding debts of last season, and to right the ship for this season.

And because we know him to be a straight shooter, we will also forgive him for his apparent hubris in thinking that he alone, could have been the savior of the league; that he alone, could have forced the league leaders to suddenly engage in financial transparency, opening the books and admitting how much money was raised, how much was spent, and how much debt is still owed- and why.

Because honest as Dan is, did he really think he could accomplish exactly what another Dandy Dan couldn’t achieve ten months ago? Last September 19, IBL Commissioner Dan Kurtzer– the former U.S. ambassador to Israel, who carries considerably more weight and muscle– attempted the very same thing. He and others from the IBL advisory board held a four-hour meeting with Boston bagel baron Larry Baras, reading him the riot act and demanding to know the who, what, where and how of the IBL's money.

And as as Our Man Elli reported here reported here on January 26th, Baras had a free offer from his advisory board to have an independent financial professional-- somebody he’d find acceptable-- review and assemble the financial information of the league.

Baras turned down the offer.

So if Larry Baras told dandy Dan Kurtzer to stuff it like one of his UnHoley bagels, how could dandy Dan Rootenberg have believed that he was going to get the Boston bagel baron to come clean on the dough?

Even after Kurtzer and the IBL 10 quit — as we reported first on November 15th-- still there was no accounting of how much was raised ($3 million? $4 million? $5 million?), or how much was spent.

All these many months later, we still we don’t know.

Nice try, Dan Rootenberg. At least he made the effort, and had the courage to quit when he was being stonewalled, as did the IBL 10.

Dan Rootenberg stands in good company.



I got your phone call earlier today and I'm writing to let you know that the league is issuing a press release later today announcing that I will not be accepting the presidency of the IBL. I wanted to give you a heads up since you have been so closely following the story. “I remain committed to cultivating a strong, responsible and viable professional baseball league in Israel.” I think I will wait a bit before commenting further, if at all. Elli, I appreciate your cooperation through all of this.


Dan Rootenberg

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