On a Massachussetts baseball diamond, 60 American ballplayers of various skills, ages and religious persuasions have gathered in pursuit of a common goal: To play professionally in the Israel Baseball League in June 2007. Along with bringing pro ball to Israel, league organizers Larry Baras and Dan Duquette are pushing for an Israeli entry in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.Good stuff. Read more here. Background, stats, facs & and pics of Israeli baseball here, and here.
...Baseball's quest to globalize has helped the sport make inroads in several new frontiers. When Jim Lefebvre is preaching the gospel in China, Lee Smith is teaching curveball grips to young pitchers in South Africa and Stubby Clapp and the Canadians are beating the tar out of the United States in the World Baseball Classic, the baseball landscape clearly is changing.
So why not Israel, a nation with a fondness for pizza, bowling, malls, reality TV, McDonald's, Home Depot and Blockbuster Video? Statistics show that Israel has the highest percentage of home computers per capita in the world, the highest ratio of university degrees and the second highest per capita output of new books each year. Shouldn't a society this enlightened embrace the most cerebral sport of all?
Sunday, September 3