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Jews in Sports Vs. Jews In Sports

This summer marked the opening season of the Israel Baseball League. It opened to some controversy, because the sport’s pretty American; in Israel, they play “football”, of course, and some basketball. But baseball? Could the society support a new sport that was largely unfamiliar? Well, depending on who you ask, the season was either a success or a little bit more like a hung jury. But what’s been disappointing is definitely the aftermath. Because even though Israel is a relatively small country, one baseball league isn’t enough, apparently, as the NY Jewish Week reports and as Yoda once said, “There is another.” I am somehow reminded of a scene in Monty Python’s “Life of Brian” when members of the People’s Front of Judea are mistaken for the Judean People’s Front. And the Popular Front. And everyone’s offended because no one wants to be mistaken for a member of the club they’re not affiliated with. View the clip (some “adult language,” but nothing you don’t hear regularly on FX these days):“Jews in sports” is often cited as a punchline. But apparently, the lesson that Monty Python taught is a cultural observation that’s still in effect: where there’s a PFJ, there’s got to be a JPF. And where there’s an Israel Baseball League, there apparently has to be an Israel Professional Baseball League. Is this how things started with the National and American Leagues in American professional baseball?

  • Abba

    Alex Rodriguez understands the need for Israel Baseball as many do not. I would like to see the George Borjas of the world have a better idea!
    ——————————————————————————–
    Tuesday, November 27, 2007
    Matt Manochi
    Daily Record.com
    Arod volunteers to broker Mideast Peace | posted at 1:18 PM
    Fresh from engineering a 10-year, potentially $305 million deal with the New York Yankees, MVP third baseman Alex Rodriguez announced that he would act as an intermediary between Israeli and Palestinian leaders in hopes of forging a lasting and elusive Middle Eastern peace agreement.
    “Baseball isn’t just America’s game, it’s the world’s game,” Rodriguez, dressed in an immaculate Italian suit, said from outside the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., where the Mideast Peace Summit is being held. “Who better to bring a tumultuous region together than the world’s best, and most-respected baseball player, me.”
    Rodriguez recently went through a difficult time himself when his agent Scott Boras announced the superstar was opting out of his 10-year, $250 million contract during the deciding game of the World Series last month.
    It was seen as a disastrous and greedy public relations move, and coupled with there being no market for Arod’ salary demands, Rodriguez, on the advice of friend and billionaire Warren Buffet, bypassed his agent and resumed talks directly with the Yankees, eventually hammering out a record pact.
    “My philosophy is to look at what Israelis and Palestinians have in common before focusing on their differences,” Rodriguez said.
    “Sure, it might be frustrating that peace could be impossible without the status of Palestinian refugees’ rights of return being resolved first,” Rodriguez said. “But let’s not forget that the Israeli Baseball League saw its first season begin in earnest last year, and let us also not forget that we constantly see footage of Palestinian boys throwing rocks as hard as they can at the Israelis. I don’t see disgruntled Arab youth — I see future starting pitchers. And that commonality can build bridges.”
    Foreign relations experts immediately lambasted Rodriguez’s attempt to interject himself on the world stage as nothing more than an attention ploy to make up for any hard feelings he might have left with Yankees fans after opting out of his contract.
    “I doubt that Rodriguez could even find the Jerusalem on a labeled map,” said George Borjas, a professor of economics and social policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
    “Presidents Clinton and Bush have both tried and failed to forge peace between these bitterly divided religious rivals,” Borjas said. “This isn’t like trying to get the Boston Red Sox and Yankees to play nice in the American League East. People’s lives are actually on the line, and to have this peacock fan his feathers and pretend like he can do what no respected leader in America or Europe could do is insulting as it is arrogant.”
    Rodriguez, while autographing Palestinian and Israeli flags, dismissed Borjas’ remarks as petty.
    “I’m used to it,” he said. “I play in New York, after all, and critics hammer me the way I hammer meaningless one-run homeruns in blowouts where we lose.”
    When asked whether peace was truly possible given the split between the Palestinian factions of Hamas and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement, and that Hamas has refused to even attend the summit, Arod ruminated and eventually concluded:
    “Look, I don’t like hummus either,” Arod said. “Chick peas, sesame tahini, lemon juice and garlic tend to give me indigestion. But I wouldn’t let hummus’ lack of involvement prevent the overall prospect of an independent Palestinian state.”

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