LEFT COAST WRITERS BOOK LAUNCH: Aaron Pribble, Author of Pitching in the Promised Land: A Story of the First and Only Season in the Israel Baseball League
Saturday, May 14, 2011 || 7pm
Book Passage-Corte Madera || 51 Tamal Vista Dr.
Corte Madera || www.bookpassage.com
Baseball and books? Two all-American favorites team up for a wonderful Left Coast Writers night at Book Passage in Corte Madera.
It was the first (and last) season of professional baseball in Israel. Aaron Pribble, twenty-seven, had been out of Minor League Baseball for three years while he pursued a career in education when, at his coach’s suggestion, he tried out for the newly formed Israel Baseball League (IBL). Of Jewish descent (not a requirement, but definitely a plus) and a former pro, Pribble was the ideal candidate for the upstart league, which in many ways resembled the ultimate baseball fantasy camp, with its unforgettable cast of characters: the DJ/street artist third baseman from the Bronx, the wild-man catcher from Australia, the journeymen Dominicans who were much older than they claimed to be, and, of course, seventy-one-year-old Sandy Koufax, drafted in a symbolic gesture as the last player.
After falling in love with a beautiful Yemenite Jew, enduring an alleged terrorist attack on opening day, witnessing a career-ending brain injury caused by improper field equipment, participating in a strike, and venturing into the West Bank despite being strongly advised against it, Pribble must decide whether to forego a teaching career in order to become the first player from the IBL to sign a pro contract in the United States. His is a story of coming of age spiritually and athletically in one short season in the throes of romance, Middle Eastern politics, and the dreams of America’s pastime far, far from home.
Aaron Pribble played collegiate baseball at the University of Hawaii, then professionally in the Western and Central Baseball Leagues, in France, and in the Israel Baseball League. He has a masters degree in political science and teaches at Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley, California. Aaron lives in San Francisco.
“A touching and enlightening tale of political and cultural awakening, conveyed through the vehicle of baseball. . . . [A] unique voyage of discovery, both on and off the diamond, and populated by a rich cast of characters, from Pribble’s Yemeni girlfriend to his Canadian guide in Palestine to his Australian, Dominican, and Israeli teammates.”—Robert Elias, author of The Empire Strikes Out
“Aaron Pribble has written what I call the Oy! Testament, a true, detailed accounting of his year playing ball in Israel, of all places. Chock full of color about Jewish life in the Promised Land, it delves into the politics of new settlements in this volatile region, from the perspective of a Californian with a Jewish mother and a Christian dad, all painted against the backdrop of Our National Pastime in the desert.”
—Steven Travers, author of The 1969 Miracle Mets
“Pitching in the Promised Land is a thrilling odyssey of sport, religion, love, and politics, of finding common ground on the baseball field in the most unlikely of places—Israel. In his debut memoir, Mr. Pribble has established himself as a gifted storyteller with extraordinary insight, observation, and humor.”
—Logan Miller and Noah Miller, authors of Either You’re in or You’re in the Way