Israel Baseball League strikes out

The Israel Baseball League, which was slated to begin its second season June 22, has been cancelled for 2008 and its future is in jeopardy.

According to Haim Katz, president of the Israel Association of Baseball, the league’s problems stemmed largely from a number of Israeli creditors whom had not been paid by the league.

“2008 is not happening, 2009 we’re working on … There are many parties interested in reviving professional baseball [in Israel],” Katz said.

The six-team IBL, founded by Boston businessman Larry Baras, featured Jewish and foreign players selected by personnel director Dan Duquette, a former general manager of the Boston Red Sox.

Baras could not be reached for comment.

The league’s 10-week debut season in the summer of 2007 brought much fanfare but few fans, and was marred by financial and organizational problems — from missed player payments to games cancelled early because of inadequate lighting.

Former New York Yankees pitcher Ken Holzman quit managing the Petach Tikvah Pioneers with one week left in the season, unhappy with the league.

Ten members of the team’s advisory board resigned in November 2007, citing disappointment with the league’s business operations.

Another startup, the Israel Pro-

fessional Baseball League, headed by Maccabi Haifa basketball team owner Jeffrey Rosen, a former investor in the IBL, was expected to begin play this year. But, like the IBL, the IPBL is now also looking to 2009.