Little League’s major Israel blowout


The end of summer hearkens the end of baseball season.

For some teams, it’s better to forget.
2012 Little League World Series runner-up Tennessee put fotrth a valiant effort in their semi-final game, but lost in the championship to Japan by a score of 12-2. HAfivng won their previous game by a score of 24-16, the Southern regional champions could still hold their head up high.

On July 24, 1989, Israel had a rough introduction to the Little League Baseball arena at the hands of Saudi Arabia. Reports on the severity of the shutout varied — JTA said 30-0, Reuters 50-0, and self-proclaimed "King of Jewish Baseball" blogger Nate Fish claims the box score read 51-0. Whatever the final score, JTA’s Hugh Orgel wrote at the time, "It was perhaps the worst defeat ever suffered by Israel at the hands of an Arab country. Luckily, the lopsided battle took place on a baseball diamond."

During the drubbing, Israel had the chance to forfeit under the league’s mercy rule. But Reuters reported, According to Reuters, though, Israel’s coach Larry Blecher made his players stick it out:

If a team is completely outclassed, the rules allow them to concede when they trail by 10 runs. But Israeli coach Larry Bleicher refused, even though the Saudis had already scored 13 runs in the first inning and 22 in the third on their way to victory, saying he wanted his team to have the practice.

In September 2012, Israel will compete in a qualifying tournament for the World Baseball Classic, with Jewish Major League stars like Kevin Youkilis pledging to join if the team advances. Here’s hoping that effort goes more smoothly.

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