From the uproar he’s kicked up, you might have thought Our Man Elli in Israel had led a campaign to elect Mel Gibson to the Knesset. Elli Wohlgelernter's article about the disastrous first season of the Israel Baseball League has hit a raw nerve among Israelis, baseball fans—and players’ moms! He’s been called a “dirt digger” and “crap scraper” and accused of potentially killing the league the very week its first season ended. He’s also been hailed as brave and as simply a good journalist.
And now, one IBL athlete has gone on the record in support of Elli’s write-up. All Star Ryan Crotin of the Petach Tikva Pioneers writes:
I think the news story was true and accurate and powerful. I hope all players, management and spectators read the details mentioned for higher awareness. I believe that the problems will finally become apparent to the higher powers that be. As players and participants, if we do not publicize, if we do not criticize, if we do not expose problems, the league will ultimately remain in status quo. And then there are fellow journalists, like David Brinn of the Israelity blog:
If they decide not to reinvite players who potentially give the management "trouble," then we (meaning a fellow troublemaker) have done a justice to the IBL, as our voices had not fallen upon deaf ears. They (management) have to spend money on particulars to improve the treatment of players, for if the players are unhappy with whatever circumstances that can arise, then you have nothing. The players run the league. They are the league's product..
I know, the name’s been taken, but Ball Four seems like the perfect title for this comprehensive play by play of the first season of the Israel Baseball League… For all of us who had great times at the games we went to, the behind the dugout controversies and fights seems like one of those Israeli telenovelas that we’re addicted to. Here’s hoping that despite all the problems outlined here, the IBL will be back for another season next year.Expect lots more flak as the article appears in various editions of Jewish weekly newspapers across the USA.
Meanwhile, here’s a sampling of the response, so far: