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