02 July 2007

What is that, velvet?

I accidentally caught the first televised game of this brand new baseball league over the weekend; its the IBL: Israel Baseball League. The League is the brainchild of Larry Baras, a businessman from Boston. The Commissioner is a former U.S. Ambassador to Israel and Egypt. Bizarre.

I watched the Modi'in Miracle take on the Petach Tikva Pioneers on PBS. It was adorable. They were playing on what looked like a little league field. Games are seven innings, with a a home run derby to decide a tie. MLB.com will carry coverage of the league's games.

It just blew my mind that Israel now has their own baseball league. Baseball was first played in Israel on July 4, 1927 and the first field in Israel was built in Kibbutz Gezer in 1979, but this is the first time they've had enough interest and whatever to organise a real league. It's a long way from Sandy Koufax.

The rest of the league is rounded out by the Bet Shemesh Blue Sox, the Netanya Tigers, Ra'anana Express and the Tel Aviv Lightning, for whom I need a t-shirt or hat of post haste.

Eventually I assume the IBL will become not unlike Japan's league with the MLB poaching prospects and future stars. And to that I say: LeChaim!

I'm not sure when it'll air again, but you can check WNET's site here.

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