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“It’s a very Jewish game, very complex rules,” says an Israeli of baseball. “It slightly reminds me of Talmud.” But for a country so closely allied to the United States, the Promised Land is rocky ground where the national pastime’s seed has never found purchase. It takes Larry Barras of Brookline, Mass., inventor of the UnHoley Bagel, which has the cream cheese already baked in, and Dan Duquette, former Red Sox and Expos GM, to bring baseball to Israel. Through tryouts in Massachusetts, the Dominican Republic, and the Holy Land itself, Holy Land Hardball tracks the leadup to the Israeli Baseball League’s first season, from the ragtag group of almost-weres (some Jewish, many not) who make the six initial squads, to the daily tsoris (getting uniforms through customs, convincing a kibbutz to loan out its field) of establishing a foreign sport abroad. Mostly it’s cute, even if you sense that Barras’ financial ruin looms behind every setback. If directors Brett Rapkin and Erik Kesten consolidated some duplicative experiences, like visits to the Western Wall, things would move faster, but then again, fast wouldn’t be baseball, nu? —AB