Baseball Tigers 298.88.
(photo credit: Efrat Sa'ar)
Sportek Field in Tel Aviv finally opened Tuesday evening in front of 372 fans of mostly American tourist groups after more than two weeks of delays.
The field was just finished on Monday, and there were still piles of dirt behind the seating area, proof that the IBL was desperate to open the field as soon as they possibly could.
It appears that the previous inconveniences and postponements of not having Sportek ready are things of the past, and Netanya outfielder Josh Doane said he was happy that he finally has a field to call home
"It's a nice field to start baseball off in Israel," Doane said. "It's in a good location, and I'm looking forward to playing all of my home games here."
One of the tourist groups at the opening game was the NCSY Kollel. Program leader Rabbi Moshe Benovitz was impressed with the field, and got good cooperation from the league.
"It's a beautiful field, it looks like it's in good shape." Rabbi Benovitz said. "We were hoping that it would be ready for today, and the league was very accommodating. We kept in contact, and they did a good job."
Among the visiting group was 16-year-old Avi Herschman, a Kollel camper from West Hempstead, New York, and he was a big fan of the quality of the field.
"The field is spectacular!" Herschman exclaimed. "It's really nice to finally have baseball in Israel, I hope this field is used for years to come."
The league plans on using the Sportek field for home games for the Netanya Tigers and the Tel Aviv Lightning, who played against each other in the opening game to a 5-1 Lightning triumph, as well as for the Israel Association of baseball (IAB) and various clinics and camps ran by the IBL and IAB.
Sportek's distances are a little deeper than at Gezer Field, but without Gezer's odd obstructions in the outfield, expect for a power line running across the field that would disrupt play on only on the rarest of occasions.
Netanya manager Ami Baran was somewhat critical of the infield, but said the field will only improve with time. "It's a little tough on the infield, and pretty short in right field, but it's okay overall." Baran said. "Sportek will get better over time." Sportek looks like it will be a serviceable minor league caliber field, and Tel Aviv manager Steve Hertz was happy to finally be at the field. "The field looks in pretty good shape to me," Hertz said. "I'm happy to be here."