Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Israel Baseball League show fest set for tomorrow

The Israel Baseball League’s weeklong “show” festival is set to begin tomorrow and Our Man Elli in Israel is off doing live TV reports for the Israel Broadcasting Authority!

We’ve got to get this guy on the hotline!

Our Man Elli: Hello?

Tabloid Baby: The Olympics?


You’re off covering the Olympics when our Olympics is about to launch?

I’m not in Beijing, schmuck. I’m making a living.

Well, we don’t have the plug-in to see your reports.

They’re very good.

If you must say so yourself.
So what’s going on with the Dominican Republic of The Middle East League.

Before I begin, do me a favour. Don’t post photos of naked ladies with this. It’s degrading.

Too late.


We’re a day away. Any protests?

None I’ve seen or heard of. They may not announce the festivus, hoping no one comes. And they don’t need anyone to come. They only want to have photos of something going on, which they’ll post on their web site to attract investors.

It's looking like a game of fungo.

Is (embattled league founder) Larry Baras or David Solomont going to get arrested at the airport?

Baras isn’t coming, because he could get arrested if he shows up. It’s not clear if Solomont is in same position.

So this isn’t exactly turning into a national holiday.

Let’s just say it could be Israel’s best secret weapon, equal to the Stealth. It’s so far under the radar, not a single person in Israel is aware of the Grand Festivus that’s supposedly happening tomorrow night.

But why not?

Sources tell me there’s real dissension inside the IBL brain trust.

Rats scurrying on a sinking ship?

Not quite; but I hear that the head of the IBL-–

El Presidente David Solomonte of the Dominican Republic of the Middle East Baseball League!

If you insist. Anyway, Solomonte— now you’ve got me saying it— Solomont is freezing out Ami Baran, who’s director of Israeli operations, and was manager of the Netanya Tigers last summer. He’s telling people they shouldn’t work with Baran. There seems to be a lack of mutual trust issue. One insider described the situation as a balagan, which is—

Israeli slang for “chaos.”

Hey! That’s right! Nice one!

So why the freeze-out?

For one, there’s been a real fight within the IBL on whether the Festivus event should be held-- which makes sense, because it doesn’t appear there are any Israeli professionals around for the IBL players --

Those 12 veterans—are they despised by their brothers?

Not by all. Sure, some say they’d be playing on the backs of the players from last season who haven’t been paid. But you see from the traffic on your comment boards that they’re still debating that.

Like the comment last night asking how the IBL can pay for players to come over to play and not pay the players from last season.

Right, but let’s get back to the Festivus.

Please, continue.

Apparently, Solomont insisted on the Festivus going forward, because he felt it was necessary to show movement—

So he can raise money.

Right. He also wants to make it more difficult for the Israel Association of Baseball to ignore him.

Isn’t the IAB having an executive board meeting today?

As we reported. It’s this evening, Israel time. But get this: I spoke to Haim Katz, the head of the IAB, and he said the IBL is not on schedule of items to talk about.

So what is?

The issues of any organization taking care of business : A few fields they’d like to invest in, a new regional director in Jerusalem, and how they’re going to organize the Fall league. Katz told me, quote: “We have more pressing issues that need to be discussed. I don’t expect any decisions on the IBL - the IBL is not on the agenda.”

I asked Katz if the IBL is likely to come up for discussion in any case, and he said, “Not that I know of.” But I would imagine that after pressing business is taken care of, someone’s going to bring it up.

Yeah, it’s a bit of an elephant in the room.

Right. But meanwhile, it’s the same situation I told you last week. The IAB’s not involved in the Festivus in any way. Katz even told me-- quoting again: “I know of no game scheduled for Thursday, or next week-- nobody talked to me about any games this week or next week.”

Is the IAB a for-profit organization?

Nope. I’s a non-profit entity, dedicated solely to advancing the good cause of baseball in Israel.

Is it a cause worthy supporting? I mean the IAB.

Oh yeah. For sure. What could be a better cause for the readers of this site who want baseball to succeed in Israel? No matter what side they are on.

How can they help?

I asked Katz, and he said the IAB has a working relationship with the Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh. People can make a tax-deductible donation to their web site. Just to be sure to mark it for “Israel baseball.”

So the IAB is the real Israel baseball?

They’re the official sanctioning governing body of baseball, there is no other.

And they haven’t sanctioned the IBL.

They haven’t even been approached by the IBL. So far, Solomont and company have been working around them.

Anything else?

Just one thing. Remember that fan poll on the IBL site? Still not a single vote registered.

Keep us updated.

I’ll report tomorrow on whether the Festivus begins.

Yeah, try to take a few seconds away from the Olympics.

Israel’s tennis players just got eliminated.


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