Skip to content

Could Tokyo’s victory help baseball get back in Olympics?

Sep 7, 2013, 8:55 PM EDT

US-POLITICS-OBAMA Getty Images

Nick Zaccardi covers Olympic sports in OlympicTalk. He’s crossing over to HBT for this post. For more on this topic, click here.

Sports Nippon, one of Japan’s leading sports newspapers, had the number 20, not 2020, splashed on its front page of Saturday’s edition.

The centerpiece photo was of Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles pitcher Masahiro Tanaka fist pumping as he raised his record for the season to a record-tying 20-0.

That’s how big baseball is in Japan. Going into the day Tokyo won the right to host the 2020 Olympics, baseball was the biggest story.

No doubt, any fan of baseball (and softball) to get back into the Olympics smiled when Tokyo defeated Istanbul and Madrid in Saturday’s International Olympic Committee vote held in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Here’s why:

Baseball and softball are in a combined bid to rejoin the Olympics for 2020 and 2024. Another IOC vote will be held Sunday, choosing one sport from baseball-softball, squash and wrestling to add to the Olympic program. Wrestling is considered the front-runner, baseball-softball in second and squash third.

Tokyo’s win Saturday could give baseball-softball a boost. Japan looks upon baseball and softball more favorably than perhaps any other nation. It’s got the success to back it up.

Japan won the first two World Baseball Classics (2006, 2009), which has replaced the Olympics as baseball’s major international tournament. Japan also won the last Olympic softball title in 2008. Both sports were cut from the Olympics in 2005, with the exclusion taking effect beginning with the London 2012 Games.

“If Tokyo wins the honor to host the Olympic Games in 2020, I believe baseball and softball competitions will deliver the peak of Olympic sport, capturing the full attention of our entire nation and others around the world,” said legendary Japanese slugger Sadaharu Oh, who hit 868 career home runs, according to a release from the World Baseball Softball Confederation. “The electrifying atmosphere of Japan playing at home for the gold medal would give the ballplayers and the fans the most unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Granted, IOC members must consider the future of the Olympics and not just a single Games in Tokyo. And keep this in mind: Japan won gold in three of the four women’s wrestling weight classes in 2012. Wrestling’s proposal to stay in the Games includes adding two women’s weight classes.

Latest Posts
  1. Ten years ago today the Alex Rodriguez-Jason Varitek brawl changed the narrative of the Sox-Yankees rivalry

    Jul 24, 2014, 8:06 AM EDT

    Jason Varitek - A-Rod fight Getty Images

    It was one moment in a typical benches-clearing brawl, but oh what a moment it was.

  2. And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

    Jul 24, 2014, 7:01 AM EDT

    Alex Cobb AP

    The Rays stay hot, the Yankees get an assist from Mother Nature and Mike Moustakas showed us how to jar a bar loose from the catcher’s mitt without breaking the home plate collision rules.

  3. Tigers acquire closer Joakim Soria from the Rangers

    Jul 23, 2014, 10:25 PM EDT

    joakim soria getty Getty Images

    Kyle Bogenschutz of Scout.com and Detroit’s 97.1 The Ticket reports that the Tigers have acquired reliever Joakim Soria from the Rangers for pitching prospects Jake Thompson and Corey Knebel. FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi says the deal is only pending physical exams.

  4. Theo Epstein on Cardinals’ competitive balance pick: “Last organization that needs an annual gift”

    Jul 23, 2014, 9:44 PM EDT

    theo epstein getty Getty Images

    As we covered earlier, St. Louis got a bonus pick for the 2015 First-Year Player Draft (just after the first round) in Wednesday’s Competitive Balance Lottery. And it’s not sitting too well with an executive of the Cardinals’ traditional rival — Cubs president Theo Epstein.

  5. Video: Yadier Molina leaves peanut butter crackers at home plate for his older brother Jose

    Jul 23, 2014, 8:58 PM EDT

    yadier molina getty Getty Images

    Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, who’s currently rehabbing from thumb surgery, sent a couple packs of crackers to home plate Wednesday for his older brother Jose.

  6. Phillies officials “have contemplated the possibility of paying off” and releasing Ryan Howard

    Jul 23, 2014, 8:05 PM EDT

    ryan howard getty Getty Images

    CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury has heard from sources that the Phillies are considering cutting ties with struggling first baseman Ryan Howard after this season, despite the fact that he’s owed $60 million in guaranteed money.

  7. Pirates place Starling Marte on concussion disabled list

    Jul 23, 2014, 7:19 PM EDT

    marte getty Getty Images

    Pirates outfielder Starling Marte took a pitch off his helmet last Friday night. A concussion was initially ruled out — the Bucs were instead calling it “head trauma” — but now there’s this …

  8. Cardinals move Shelby Miller back into rotation and Carlos Martinez back to the bullpen

    Jul 23, 2014, 6:24 PM EDT

    shelby miller getty Getty Images

    As first reported by Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals have decided to move Shelby Miller back into the starting rotation and Carlos Martinez to the bullpen for their upcoming three-game series at Wrigley Field. Miller will start Saturday afternoon against the Cubs.

  9. Pitchers who leave the Diamondbacks get better. Pitchers they acquire get worse.

    Jul 23, 2014, 5:33 PM EDT

    diamondbacks logo small

    Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic has some enlightening numbers about what’s gone wrong with the Diamondbacks.

  10. Quadriceps injury shuts down Astros rookie slugger George Springer

    Jul 23, 2014, 5:17 PM EDT

    George Springer George Springer

    Springer got off to a slow start following his mid-April call-up and his strikeout total leads the league, but he’s smacked 20 homers with a .900 OPS in 61 games since early May to rank as one of the league’s better all-around players during that span.

  11. Twins designate Matt Guerrier for assignment

    Jul 23, 2014, 4:46 PM EDT

    matt-guerrier-twins Getty Images

    Matt Guerrier began this week with a nice-looking 2.67 ERA in 26 appearances for the Twins, but a 12/8 K/BB ratio in 27 innings showed that he was anything but impressive.

  12. Carlos Ruiz rejoins Phillies after concussion

    Jul 23, 2014, 4:16 PM EDT

    Carlos Ruiz Carlos Ruiz

    Ruiz hit poorly on a minor-league rehab assignment at Single-A, going 3-for-17 (.176) with three strikeouts and one walk in five games, but he’s avoided any post-concussion symptoms and the Phillies are convinced he’s ready to return.

  13. Cameron Maybin suspended for 25 games for amphetamines

    Jul 23, 2014, 3:10 PM EDT

    cameron maybin getty Getty Images

    I’m guessing this is not a prank by the Padres minor leaguers.

  14. Kelly Johnson goes on Yankees’ disabled list with groin injury

    Jul 23, 2014, 1:48 PM EDT

    Kelly Johnson Yankees Getty Images

    Kelly Johnson isn’t as needed in the Yankees’ lineup following the trade for Chase Headley and now he won’t be available at all for a while, as the utility man has been placed on the disabled list with a strained groin.

  15. Nationals place Ryan Zimmerman on the disabled list

    Jul 23, 2014, 1:23 PM EDT

    Miami Marlins v Washington Nationals Miami Marlins v Washington Nationals

    As expected Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman has been placed on the disabled list after injuring his hamstring during last night’s game.

Featured video

Teams searching for trade deadline impact
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. H. Street (3883)
  2. C. Lee (2858)
  3. H. Ramirez (2758)
  4. T. Tulowitzki (2725)
  5. Y. Puig (2625)
  1. C. Headley (2596)
  2. B. Belt (2437)
  3. T. Walker (2171)
  4. J. Soria (2170)
  5. A. Rios (2094)