Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Israeli Baseball League?

I wonder if this is going to catch on:
The Israel Baseball League has signed up former New York Yankee manager Ron Blomberg to manage one of the six teams to take the field June 24, when the league starts its first season. No games will be played on the Sabbath.

It also has taken on 45-year-old pitcher Ari Alexenberg, who grew up in an orthodox Jewish family that later moved to Israel. He remained in the United States but recently tried out for the Israeli teams in Petach Tikva, where his parents live.
Turns out that this CBS already reported this on February 12:
Former Major League Baseball players Ken Holtzman, Ron Blomberg and Art Shamsky were hired Monday as managers for the first season of the Israel Baseball League.

Six teams will play in the league, which opens June 24. Each club will play 45 games over eight weeks, with no games Friday nights or Saturday afternoons because of the Sabbath.

Former Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette is the league's director of baseball operations and Daniel Kurtzer, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel, is its commissioner. The league plans to announce cities later this month, spokesman Marty Appel said.

Holtzman went 174-150 and is the winningest Jewish pitcher in MLB history. Blomberg was the first designated hitter in MLB and Shamsky played for the 1969 New York Mets World Series championship team.
The name Ron Blomberg certainly bring back memories of my youth when I was a Yankee fan. Today my free time is much too dear to me to waste on spectator sports. However I admire the fact that the league is respecting the sanctity of the Sabbath. I wonder if they will sing the national anthem before the game.

Update: Ha'aretz has an interesting article about the tryouts for the IBL which were held last November.

: For those interested, the IBL has a web site. (Hat tip: Soccer Dad)


Soccer Dad said...

You might enjoy this:

(Though the first choice is really a bad one to make light of.)

Anonymous said...

I have always wondered whether baseball would catch on in Israel. It's a combination of strategy, intelligence, athletic prowess, statistics, and skill that is really unmatched in other sports (for example, it's the only sport in which the defense controls the ball). Basketball, among other sports, has taken off - why not baseball? Besides, even without all those expatriated Americans in Israel, there should be enough people by now who know how to play to make it a really interesting experiment at least, and a great new national pastime at best.

Good luck IBL!!! I'll be at many of the games myself.

Cosmic X said...

Soccer Dad:

Thanks for the link. That's Purim Torah!


Interesting that you put athletic prowess third on your list, behind strategy and intelligence. Sure you need strategy and intelligence, but if you don't have athletic skill your IQ won't get you to first base.

YMedad said...

Baseball you want?
Well, there's this old one -
Old story and then try this one:
Mets minyan?

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