Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The IBL Grows Up Fast

Less than a month into play, the Israel Baseball League has attained a stage of maturity the Major Leagues took a hundred years to reach:

A threatened players' strike over non-payment of salary almost cancelled last night's games, but a promise by league commissioner Dan Kurtzer to resolve the problem let the 23-day-old league continue on schedule. Players were upset that they had received checks for half of the amount they were owed - players are being paid $2,000 for the season, paid out in four payments of $250 over the course of the season.

The threatened strike was led by the Dominican players, which eventually included about half of the league. The players formed a makeshift union led by one of the players who is a lawyer, and met with league commissioner Dan Kurtzer at noon yesterday on the basketball court in Kfar Hayarok, where the players are dorming. Some of the players took video recordings of the meeting.

"Kurtzer didn't give anyone any straight answers, and said if the players were going to strike he would cancel the league," said one player. "The IBL was close to striking, it was surreal."

There are probably a dozen different jokes one could make out of this, but if the IBL is near folding because it can't come up with a couple of hundred bucks per player, it is the league itself that is a joke. This is especially true in light of the fact that the league's executive staff and advisory committee consists of heavy hitters like Dan Duquette, the Selig family, Andrew Zimbalist, and Randy Levine.


Gussie M said...

As one might expect, there is more to the story. Separate interpretations of the contract payment schedule.

Something as forward moving as the IBL is not going to pointedly leave out part of a due payment unless they believed what they were doing was correct.
All should show this great new league patience and respect. When was the last time you or anyone got a new sports league off the ground!!!!!!!?????????!
The league is a great addition. Games are a blast to go to.

Shyster said...

That's fair enough. If this goes on I'm sure the league will get its story out.

For what it's worth, based on the coverage I've seen, the league is being taken seriously and received favorably.

gussie m said...

I thought after I left the prior comment about why I took the issue so personally! I think it is because Israel is a wonderful place but rushed attitude of the people on highways and in other aspects of life sometimes still gets to me. I can sense a little bit of something good new in Israel with this league beyond the baseball. I am truly grateful that this league has started and I care about it greatly beyond just being an Express Fan. Going to games I have realized how much I missed this part of the summer. BTW I took a native Israeli family with us to a game. They could not believe what a good time their kids had chasing balls. They were really into it. I hear more and more Israelis talking about it and wishing to go to games. The same people who wondered aloud what the fuss was about with sticks and balls just a few weeks ago--- I have almost wanted to say to them I TOLD YOU SO!!!!