The Shmooze

U.S. Businessmen May Launch Israeli Baseball League

By Michael Kaminer

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The Israel Baseball League’s web site boasts a full slate of games, fun tidbits about players, and even a tongue-in-cheek take on “Baseball in the Time of Our Forefathers.” And “as one would expect, the majority of this season’s players will be of Jewish extraction,” the site trumpets.

Trouble is, the league went bust in 2007 after heavy financial losses; the most recent scheduled game took place three years ago. But that’s not stopping a team of American businessmen from trying to launch a new professional baseball league in Israel, according to YNet News. The entrepreneurs, including an unnamed owner of the New York Yankees, met with Israeli Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Regional Development Silvan Shalom and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat last week with hats in hand for funds to build a stadium and promote the league.

Minister Shalom “offered the businessmen governmental aid if they were to build stadiums in the country’s northern and southern regions,” according to YNet News. The businessmen “have also approached Israeli diplomats, and asked them to help coordinate meetings with Israeli officials that can help promote the project.”

Considering the travails of the last decade’s baseball league, the group may face an uphill battle. Even with heavy-hitters like former US ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk as backers, the Israel Baseball League bled money — and tanked after its six teams played one season.

But “the American entrepreneurs, who enjoy the support of The NY Yankees, want to have another go at it, and believe this time they will hit a home run,” YNet News reports somewhat optimistically.


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