Saturday, August 2, 2008

Israel Baseball League's festival a no-go?

We’re 12 days from the supposed first pitch of the new Israel Baseball League baseball “show” that’s supposed to take the place of its second, four-team, 20-game, three-week momentum-building mini-season, but there’s no word on tickets or whether Presidente Solomonte can find two more “All-Stars” to join Shoeless Leon Feingold and his IBL Six to make up a full team to put on the “show” he promised, and reports now that the whole idea has been scratched.

Time to get filled in by Our Man Elli in Israel.

Tabloid Baby: So, is there a festival happening or not?

Our Man Elli in Israel: So where have you been? Jay Abramoff calls the site a "trash-talker," Steve Walz calls you "scatalogical"—

Yeah and neither had the balls to mention us by name. Little putzes. No, there was a glitch in the Blogger system. They say they mistakenly tagged thousands of sites as “spam blogs” and shut us down for two days. We’re back. So what gives?

Will there be a series? Who knows with these guys. I hear that some of the seven players have been told that they'll be flown to Israel on the 11th or 12th, but apparently they haven't received any tickets.

Not even Leon Feingold?

Maybe because Solomont and the IBL aren’t sure there’s even going to be a festival.

Maybe Leon speed-ate the tickets.

No. There hasn’t been any advertising. Despite all the lip service about spreading the word to native Israelis: bupkis.

Could they be planning to play ball without advertising? Without fans? I mean, people make summer plans even in Israel, no?

You’d think. Huh.

What else? We’ve been shut down for a couple of days.

I found out that the Israeli who did merchandising for the IBL last year apparently ordered bats for a 2008 season because he was told there’d be a season. He's still trying to get the new league president to pay for them--

El Presidente David Solomonte!

Well, if that’s what you insist on calling him.

Presidente of the Dominican Republic of the Middle East Baseball League!


Don’t you dig that Woody Allen Bananas picture?

Chico Escuela is what cracked me up.

Together: “Base-ball... been berry, berry good to me..”


Anyway, Solomonte was to suppose to pay for the bats, but he hasn't yet.

Has he paid the players?

Funny you should ask. I spoke to one player, Justin Cardinal, and he’s real upset. Quote: “I’m very frustrated. It’s been a year now that I’ve been waiting for my money.”

They owe him $1,500 from last season, and the checks keep bouncing.

Even now?

Yes, the one he got from the batch that Dan Rootenberg mailed out last month bounced. But Justin doesn’t blame Dan. Another quote: “I respect him. He left because people’s checks bounced.”

You gotta get an interview with Rootenberg.


What’s Justin doing to get his money back?

He said he’s actually been in touch with Solomont.

Quote: “I talked to him a few times, emailed him, three or four different emails. He said he would pay me through ACH transfer, whatever that is. Friday before last (July 18th), he told me to mail him my banking information, said he would get back to me as soon as possible. I called him the next Tuesday (July 22nd) he says, ‘I am going to look over it, shouldn’t be more than three-four business days.’ Here we are a week later, still haven’t heard from him.”

Sounds like the same problem Rollhaus ran into.

Exactly the same. Anyway, Justin says he emailed the Ministry of Science, Culture and Sport, which is in charge of sports in Israel. He told me, and I’m reading from my notes again: “I asked them if they could help me out. I’ll see what happens with them. The hardest part is, I don’t know if I’m dealing with Israel or U.S. law, it’s international. And I can’t sue anybody, because it costs more than the check is worth.” Unquote.

You think that’s what the IBL was counting on all along?

It could be seen that way.

But I only report. The readers decide.

But isn’t illegal to issue checks, knowing there’s not enough money in the account to cover them?

In the States, deliberate check-bouncers can be prosecuted, sure. I'm checking the law in Israel.

Melvin Ell- eye. Anything else from Justin?

Well, he did say he’s very grateful to Tabloid Baby for all the work you've done. Quote: “It’s been our main source. You guys have been our main backers, I’m thankful for it. It’s the source that all the IBL players are going to, great that you are so up to date, otherwise we’d be left in the dark.”

I told him we’re just doing our jobs.

Anything else with the IBL?

I noticed on their website that their countdown clock wound down to no game on Sunday. Now they’ve posted a new poll, asking this question:

Who do you think is having the best season in the professional baseball this year from among the following Jewish players:
Ian Kinsler, 2B, Texas Rangers. AL All-Star, hitting .325 with 14 homers, 25 stolen bases, and a .526 slugging average
Ryan Braun, LF, Milwaukee Brewers. NL All-Star, hitting .294 with 25 homers and .573 slugging average.
Kevin Youkilis, 1B, Boston Red Sox. AL All-Star, Gold Glover hitting .311 with 17 homers and .551 slugging percentage.
Rafael Bergstrom
, P, Bridgeport Bluefish (Atlantic League). Starting pitcher, 5-5 W/L record, 5.07 ERA

Cute, placing Bergstrom with the guys in the Big Show. And nice writing. English is definitely a second language to their webmaster.

Yeah, and besides the fact that such a poll question is, by definition, obsolete by the very next day, this poll has produced a slightly underwhelming response. When I checked this week, a total of zero people have bothered to vote.

You’d figure Solomont and Baras would at least pump up the numbers.

Yeah. Justin is right: the players are coming to Tabloid Baby, not the IBL site.

Maybe they could post a more appealing and relevant poll for the readers of the IBL site.

Like what?

I don't know. How about “Which IBL player is owed the most money?” Or “What hasn’t Leon Feingold stuffed in his mouth?” That ought to draw some traffic.

Leave Leon alone. Don’t judge. Oh, one more thing: the IBL home page has a link, Direction to the Ballparks- which includes directions to Gezer. I’ve reported more than once, Gezer will not allow the IBL to play there until all debts are paid. So why directions to Gezer?

Don't ask me. You’re the man in Israel.

That’s it.

Wait. Jay Abramoff, the guy who accused you of being biased, wrote a letter to the Jerusalem Post in response to your article.

Steve Walz, the Jewish Press blogger who called you cynical earlier this year, comes back and calls us a “scatological site.”

They're both jealous. Plus, you did a number on them both.

We just reported what they'd written and responded.

Didn’t you have a photo with the post you ran on Waltz?


What was it?

Just a photo.

Come on.

A guy with his head up his ass.

Okay. And how did you depict Abramoff?

As a braying jackass.

A couple of asses, no?

A couple of assholes.

There you go. Let’s talk next week.

Click. Brrrrr…

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