Thursday, August 23, 2007

One unforgettable Summer!

Wow - what a summer! I am now back in New York City, with a farmer's tan (arms and face dark, the rest of me white) and a bad cold picked up my last few days in Israel and exacerbated with 15 hours in and around airplanes. More importantly, I have a treasure trove of memories and pictures from my experiences as a member of the inaugural player class of the Israel Baseball League, and they are among my most cherished.

I want to thank everyone who has been by my side this summer, including my teammates and leaguemates, as well as the people who have helped the IBL weather many storms and stay the course throughout the season. I want to thank my family and friends who came to visit me in Israel, as well as those who couldn't make it in person but kept in touch through email, telephone, and Skype, among others. I want to thank all the fans who came out to our games this year, and while some fan families stand out more than others (Jake's crew especially; special props to Sareet and Ilana!) I am glad so many people came to experience professional baseball, and nearly all left impressed with the league and the sport in general. I think baseball has a huge future in Israel, and I can't wait to see what lessons the league has learned from this year’s experiences and how they will prepare for next year.

It is still too soon to put all my thoughts in words about my experiences, but I do want to say I have developed a new appreciation for Israel as a vibrant, exciting country, as a safe and enjoyable vacation spot for people of all religions, and for the citizens who have gone out of their way to make ALL of us IBLers feel welcome. I also made friends this year, both Israeli and non, who I expect to be in touch with and friends with for a long time.

I have posted many of my photographs from this summer on my profile at FaceBook (search for my name) and welcome anyone who has been reading this to add me as a friend with a note so I know to accept your invite - I do intend to go back next season if not earlier so feel free to write as often as you like!

Also, if any of my new friends are interested in visiting or moving to New York City, make sure you let me know! I always have a couch open for friends, and I work in real estate so I know of all the cheap apartments here in Manhattan. :)

It's only sinking in now that I am back in the States, and that my Israeli/IBL summer is actually over. I fully expected this morning to wake up and see my roommates Josh Eichenstein and Fabian Armenta passed out in their beds on the other side of the room - it's hard to believe they're in California now, and I may not see them again for another year if at all. I was a little homesick for NYC while I was gone, and that feeling grew stronger as the season drew to a close. I'm already homesick for Tel Aviv, and I wonder how long it will be before I have to go back?

In conclusion: I loved the summer, I love being back in NY, I would love to return to Israel. And I love you all. Thanks for reading.

Leon Feingold #45

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Tigers Advance to Semi-Finals

Rafael Rojano just shut down the Ra'anana Express in a dominating performance, 3-0 complete game, and we're now in the semifinals against the league's top team, the Bet Shemesh Blue Sox. Game is tomorrow morning at noon Israeli time, 5am EST. I get the start, and hopefully we will get the victory and move on to play Sunday against the victor of Modi'in and Tel Aviv... but they're throwing Juan Feliciano, another of the league's top pitchers. I am definitely looking forward to tomorrow! It should be a great game, and I really feel like I've matured as a pitcher this season. I expect nothing but the best from myself tomorrow and am confident I'll be able to shut them down again. Hey, if I don't believe in myself, who will? Tune in tomorrow to see how it all turns out...

Monday, August 13, 2007

Less than two weeks left

Hey everyone! It's August 10, and my Tigers have just swept a very unusual doubleheader from Petach Tikva early this morning. I was supposed to pitch the second game with Rafael Rojano pitching the first, but a funny thing happened to the first game - it only lasted 1/2 an inning! With two outs in the first, Ryan Crotin of the Pioneers argued a called check swing and was ejected from the game. Upset over his ejection, Ryan announced he would not leave the batter's box, and for the next twenty minutes he paced back and forth in the batter's box as the game was eventually declared a 7-0 forfeit and the umpires walked off the field

Anyway, I was supposed to pitch the second game but with Raffy warm and ready to go, he pitched the second game as well and I came in relief to close with two scoreless innings as we won, 6-2. I've really been throwing much better of late, keeping the ball down and focusing more rather than just winging it and flinging the ball. Hope to see more success!

Hi to Erin and Jodie and Brooke and mom and Sarah and - well, everyone. Less than two weeks left! Looking forward to seeing everyone again, although I will definitely miss Tel Aviv and Israel. It's so amazing here... hopefully we return as reigning IBL champions!!!

Leon Feingold :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


Here's a quick update on the power of superstition.

Nearly all ballplayers are superstitious. Even those of us who don’t do things like throwing salt over our left shoulder when we spill some, or crossing our fingers for luck, still have baseball-related ones. For example, Ty Eriksen and I and a couple of others have been creative with our facial hairstyles this season, especially lately. I went from clean-shaven to scruff to a beard to a goatee to a handlebar moustache (think Terry Leach of the late-1980s Mets) within a month or so, and just in time for my start against first-place Bet Shemesh, I shaved the handlebar down to what can only be described as a "1970s 'stache." I only did it for fun, and I think it looks awful. But I wore it while pitching the game, and we came back to score 4 in the bottom of the 6th, and won 5-3. So I kept it for another day.

The next day (yesterday), we beat Rana'ana and took over 4th place from them. So I kept it another day.

Today we play last-place Petach Tikva for two games; if we sweep this doubleheader it means I'll have to continue to keep this thing on my face for another day. At this rate, I don't know whether I'm rooting for or against us. I miss my face, and don't really want to look like this for the rest of the season, even if it means winning the IBL championship:

Ah, who am I kidding. I'd shave my head bald if it meant we were going to win the IBL Championship. It is pretty ugly though, right?

Maybe from now on I'll start looking for four-leaf clovers for luck, and stop relying on the mystical power of fab facial hair.