by Dave Zornow
Nyack, Jan 10 — There’s a movie on the MLB Network tonight that proves miracles can still happen in the Holy Land.
In 2007, Boston bagel maker and entrepreneur Larry Baras teamed with former Boston Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette to create the Israeli Baseball League (IBL). The youngest player to try out was 17 years old. The oldest was Scott Cantor, a 50 year old Pilates instructor from Nyack.
Film makers Brett Rapkin and Erik Kesten captured the season in Holy Land Hardball, which makes its national television premiere tonight (Sun 1/10) at 10p on the MLB Network.
Cantor, who is a certified Pilates instructor and owner of Pilates Central in Nyack, played for the Petach Tikva Pioneers during the inaugural and only season of the IBL.
The film captures the season from tryouts in Massachusetts through the nine weeks of league play in Israel. The movie chronicles problems with customs, unfinished stadiums, a skeptical Israeli media and “fans” unfamiliar with the game.
“Scott was one of a handful of players that made the IBL,” says co-director Erik Kesten. “The players reflected a diversity in age as well as in their backgrounds and cultures,” he says.
“Plus,” adds co-director Brett Rapkin, “Scott has some of the best lines in the movie, too.”
Holy Land Hardball was a featured film at the 2009 Rockland Jewish Film Festival in Nyack. “We had a great screening of roughly 200 people at Riverspace,” says Kesten. “The audience response was fantastic.”
The MLB Network is on FiOS Channel 86 and Cablevision’s Channel 149.
Sources: Holy Land Hardball website, The Jewish Chronicle 1/8/2010