Baseball: Sportek opening postponed again

The Israel Baseball League was forced to again postpone the opening of the Sportek field in Tel Aviv on Sunday, cancelling the scheduled game between the Netanya Tigers and the Petah Tikva Pioneers despite announcing last week that the field would be ready. The postponement is the latest in a catalogue of errors that has plagued the league, including the ending of some games early due to poor lighting. "We really thought that the field was ready to go [today]," IBL spokesman Nathaniel Edelstein said. "Unfortunately, it's not quite up to standards just yet. "We want a safe field of high quality for the safety of the players and the quality of the games. That's why we're delaying the opening of the field for at least another day or two." With the delay of the Sportek opening, there are still many games to make up as only two fields have been available for the six IBL teams. The field was intended to be the home for the Tel Aviv Lightning and Netanya Tigers. The IBL has also unveiled a new end of season playoff system involving all six teams, despite originally planning to end the season with a single championship game between the top two teams. In the new format, the top two teams will be given byes for the first round to be held on August 16. The semifinals will take place the next day, with the championship game played on August 19 at Yarkon Field. Each game will be the MLB regulation nine innings, with extra innings rather then a home run derby after a regulation tie. Edelstein said that no concrete format was originally established, and that this new format would ensure the best possible play while rewarding the best regular season teams. "No format was actually set in stone except for a one game playoff," Edelstein said. "The change was good. "The teams didn't get the necessary practice time before the season started, so we didn't get the best play towards the beginning of the season, especially from Petah Tikva and Ra'anana. "We want to give opportunities for the teams that started off slowly because of lack of practices, and we wanted to reward the better regular season teams with byes and home games. This system is the best of both worlds."