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There’s a chance baseball could get back into the Olympics

Feb 3, 2014, 3:15 PM EDT

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Baseball and softball have been out of the Olympics since 2008 and they have repeatedly been shot down for reinstatement whenever the subject has come up. At present there is a rule that a sport can’t be reinstated or added to the Olympics without a seven-year advanced notice. But there is a chance that the International Olympic Committee may change this:

New IOC president Thomas Bach said Monday he expects discussion by the IOC membership at its general meeting on flexibility toward adding sports, for which the Olympic Charter has a seven-year rule. It mandates sports must be on the Olympic program seven years before the summer or winter Olympics in which they will be contested.

“If the opportunity exists to make such adjustments to the Olympic Games less than seven years before, I would be in favor,” Bach said. “If the IOC, the international federations and the organizing committee agree, the seven-year rule need not apply.”

The significance: the summer Olympics will be in Tokyo in 2020 and Japan is certainly receptive and ready to host baseball games. Indeed, you would assume that Japan would love to have baseball there as a gate draw and point of national pride for its national game.

Personally I could take it or leave it as an Olympic sport. I don’t get too jazzed by the WBC as it is and I’m not sure what adding it back to the Olympics would do either for the game in general or for people who already enjoy baseball at its highest levels. Still, somewhat interesting.

  1. modernishfather - Feb 3, 2014 at 3:18 PM

    I think you mean 2020.

    2016 games are in Rio, 2020 in Tokyo.

    • modernishfather - Feb 3, 2014 at 3:19 PM

      Aaaaaaaand I see you’ve already corrected it. Super fast, Craig.

  2. eddarossetti - Feb 3, 2014 at 3:20 PM

    L’ha ribloggato su Non Solo Film.

  3. dirtyharry1971 - Feb 3, 2014 at 3:36 PM

    “yawn” no thanks

    • okwhitefalcon - Feb 3, 2014 at 3:59 PM

      Jeopardy:

      “The answer is: “Olympic baseball”

      “What is the more boring that the WBC?”

      Correct!

  4. tcostant - Feb 3, 2014 at 3:44 PM

    The WBC is the best event that no everyone ignores. It is great baseball, postseason like, in March no less. Priceless…

  5. billybawl - Feb 3, 2014 at 3:47 PM

    If summer Olympics baseball would kill the WBC, I’d be all for it. Then I would never watch it. But at least the team would likely be made up of fringe guys and minor leaguers rather than stars risking injury. But I doubt MLB will let go of the WBC that easily.

    Is there any daylight between Olympics drug testing and MLB (with addition of HGH testing)? In any case, could be interesting if a player turns up dirty for the Olympics.

  6. nothanksimdriving123 - Feb 3, 2014 at 3:48 PM

    I hope softball can be returned to the Olympics very soon, so the women can regain their best avenue to shine on the world stage. But unless MLB is willing to shut down for a couple of weeks midseason, which would seem extremely unlikely, so that each nation can be represented by its very best players, I see no point to putting baseball back in the Olympics. In my view, the Olympics should have the very best athletes in each of its sports, not the best 3rd tier athletes. We’d scream if the best runners or swimmers were all off competing elsewhere, so why should baseball be different?

    • rje49 - Feb 3, 2014 at 4:12 PM

      Yes, “extremely unlikely” should be more like “impossible”. Unlike hockey, you can’t compress the regular season schedule at all. Baseball has few days off; and they’re not going to schedule doubleheaders, either. Also, they aren’t going to start the season in mid-March or extend the World Series to near Thanksgiving. MLB players will never play in the summer Olympics….. unless maybe it’s in the Southern Hemisphere – like in ’56.

    • raysfan1 - Feb 3, 2014 at 4:37 PM

      The Olympic men’s soccer tournament is not the very best from each country. The players on those teams must be 23 or younger. This was done to prevent it rivaling the World Cup in importance for soccer. It is nonetheless a big draw for spectators.

    • raysfan1 - Feb 3, 2014 at 4:51 PM

      I agree with your sentiment about softball though.

  7. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Feb 3, 2014 at 3:59 PM

    Personally, I’d rather they start eliminating sports, not adding more, as there is just too much nonsense in the Olympics as it is.

    • rje49 - Feb 3, 2014 at 4:17 PM

      Like some of the “acrobatics” events that would be more suited to a circus than the Olympics? I’m thinking of certain types of showy skiing, ice dancing, and synchronized swimming. There’s something about there events that just don’t say “sports” to me.

      • rje49 - Feb 3, 2014 at 4:19 PM

        “these” events.
        Why can’t we get the ability to edit after posting?

    • raysfan1 - Feb 3, 2014 at 4:43 PM

      Of course much of what a lot of us on this site don’t care for–such as the aforementioned ice dancing–draws big crowds and gets good international ratings, ie makes money for the Olympics. As always money is the bottom line; nothing that is profitable is getting eliminated.

      • rje49 - Feb 3, 2014 at 6:19 PM

        Unfortunately you’re right about the money aspect. But think back, way back, to the first modern Olympics in 1896; I’m sure the purpose wasn’t to make money. So just when did making money (on amateur athletics) become of such importance? The answer doesn’t matter now of course, it’s just that things have very obviously changed from the original purpose of the games.

      • raysfan1 - Feb 3, 2014 at 7:49 PM

        You are correct. The 1904 summer games were simply part of the St. Louis World’s Fair, for example. I think the money aspect was gradual, but has clearly been a major driving force for the summer Olympics since at least 1984.

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Feb 4, 2014 at 8:51 AM

        Very good point. And you sort of broached another point. A lot of us, myself included, don’t really see the allure behind the Olympics in the first place. Watching 25 people take turns skiing down a mountain with weird red flags on it isn’t exciting to me. Watching people swim in unison or dance in bathing suits with flags isn’t exciting for me. Ice Skating is a fun date activity. I don’t care who can spin how many times. And those are just a few of the most popular sports!

        Archery, Badminton, Canoe Slalom, Equestrian, Fencing, Handball, Judo, Rowing, Sailing, Shooting, Synchronized Swimming, Table Tennis, Tawkwondo, Trampoline, Weightlifting. Each and every one of these activities are coma inducing events when watching them on TV. I just can’t muster up any sort of ability to care. These are the sorts of sports that are a LOT of fun when you are doing them, but who the hell wants to sit down and watch Archery for two hours?

  8. Reflex - Feb 3, 2014 at 3:59 PM

    Meh, I’m not a fan of team sports in the Olympics in the first place. I love baseball but its really not an Olympic sport.

  9. sdelmonte - Feb 3, 2014 at 4:05 PM

    Craig, you should know better. It’s “advance” and not “advanced.” Unless the application requires a complex research paper and years of study, it’s not likely to be advanced.

  10. louhudson23 - Feb 4, 2014 at 4:54 AM

    I hope it is re-instated. Kids around the world were exposed to the game year round because of it,not just the 2 weeks every four years. National teams are important,whether they make the big stage or not and baseball’s increased exposure created interest that drove many young players to take up the game around the world. Baseball is the worlds greatest game. Growing it around the world is a worthwhile endeavor. Besides the competition itself,which like the WBC is worthwhile to play and enjoyable to watch,there is an apparatus and structure put into place that,unlike “voodoo economics”,really does trickle down….. There is more to the game than MLB. Hitting and catching a baseball is a joy unto itself,one that I am very grateful for and spreading that joy of the beautiful game is always worthwhile.

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