It took only three weeks, but the upstart Israel Baseball League is already facing its first controversy. In a July 1 game between the Netanya Tigers and the Bet Shemesh Blue Sox, the Sox broke the rules when they brought back in the bottom of the seventh inning a third baseman who had been removed in the top of the inning for a pinch hitter.
League Commissioner Daniel C. Kurtzer — yes, the former U.S. ambassador to Israel — ordered the teams to replay the bottom of the seventh.
It's interesting that the Blue Sox could do such a silly thing given that their manager -- Ron Blomberg -- is a former major leaguer. Of course, Blomberg was baseball's first designated hitter, so maybe he got all verklempt trying to make a double switch or something.
By the way, scroll past the recap of the substitution dustup for some funny speculation about how this scandal could play out given the fact that, hey, we're in Israel:
JULY 23 — The Tigers’ pitchers and catchers announce they are forming a breakaway group, the Enraged Resistance Army. A masked spokesman for the ERA explains that Baran does not speak for the entire team . . . Baran appeals for unity among the remaining players, who have organized themselves into a faction of their own, the Organization for Baseball Propriety, or OBP. Leaders of the factions gather for marathon negotiation sessions at the Tel Aviv Hilton, with ERA on the seventh floor and the OBP on the sixth. When the pitchers and catchers hear the ERA is higher than the OBP, they immediately bolt the talks.
The only people the Bet Shemesh Blue Sox hate more than the Netanya Tigers are the fucking Judean People's Front. Splitters.