We told you it’s official. The Israel Baseball League is as dead as Heath Ledger. The Israel Association of Baseball, the nation’s sport governing body, has canceled the league’s contract and effectively kicked the IBL out of the Holy Land. In a letter to IBL founder Larry Baras and his Israel Baseball Properties, IAB president Haim Katz says he’s revoking permission for the IBL to operate in Israel “in light of its unpaid bills from the 2007 season, and the clear inability of the IBP, due to its current financial situation, to produce a baseball league in Israel in 2008.”
The Katz letter is just some of the new exclusive information being gathered by Our Man Elli in Israel, the journalist who first exposed the problems behind the professional league’s maiden season. We’re not waiting for Elli Wohlgelernter to write another muckraking opus. We got him to spill the beans immediately:
TB: Just cut to the chase.
OUR MAN ELLI: Yes, the Israel Baseball League is dead. Maybe not in a legal sense, but they are done. As John Parsons, my old News director back in New York would say: "tutti finutti." The Israel Association of Baseball sent a letter to the IBL on January 9th, canceling the contract. The IAB is the governing body for baseball in Israel, and without their certification, no one can play. So the IBL is over.
How did the letter come about?
I just spoke to the Peter Kurz, secretary-general of the IAB, and asked him the same thing. “They owe money in Israel, that’s why we terminated the relationship,” Kurz told me. “We have been pressuring them for six months, and their answer was, ‘We’ll have the money next week, we’ll have it next week.’ And we got tired of it.’”
It’s always been about the money– the enormous debt incurred by the IBL in that first season. To this day, Larry Baras, the league’s founder—
The Boston bagel baron–
The guy who invented the “Unholey Bagel”—
Right, the bagel without a hole stuffed with cream cheese. Anyway, Larry Baras still hasn’t given anyone an accounting of how much money he raised or where the money went. Though I did a little investigating and found out he’d registered at least six limited liability corporations for the league in that corporate haven, Delaware.
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