Arenas | Seeking Israeli soccer bases for the U.S. pastime

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Kevin Youkilis of the Boston Red SoxJerusalem | In a reversal of the American paradigm, in which baseball and gridiron-football stadia are grudgingly loaned for soccer, U.S.-based opportunists seek soccer stadia in Israel for launching a professional baseball league. New York Times columnist Murray Chass writes that speculators seek small stadia, with between 3,000 and 5,000 seats, rather than larger venues in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. One targeted area is Bet Shemesh, 15 miles west of Jerusalem, the city destroyed by Nebuchadrezzar II in the sixth century B.C.E. “A lot of Americans live there,” says Bostonian Larry Baras, the brains behind the baseball scheme. “They have 200-plus kids playing baseball there, and they have a soccer stadium.”

About the Author

John Turnbull founded The Global Game in 2003. He was lead editor for The Global Game: Writers on Soccer (University of Nebraska Press, 2008) and has also written on soccer for Afriche e Orienti (Bologna, Italy), the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the New York Times Goal blog, Soccer and Society, So Foot (Paris) and When Saturday Comes. His essay "Alone in the Woods: The Literary Landscape of Soccer's 'Last Defender' " in World Literature Today was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Also for World Literature Today he edited a special section on women's soccer, "World Cup/World Lit 2011," before the Women's World Cup in Germany. The section appeared in the May-June issue. His next project is a book on soccer and faith.

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