After reading some of the 7 year old news articles about the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) vote, I still can’t believe baseball and softball were removed. One of the reasons listed was that it was not favored by the European delegates because baseball and softball aren't played nearly as widely there as they are in the Americas and Asia. Why not showcase the sport in London (the largest city in Europe) to try to develop the sports in that part of the world?
Another reason was that the International Baseball Federation couldn’t reach an agreement with MLB about letting pro players participate in the games. My first problem with this is why lump softball in with baseball? There aren’t any top ranking softball leagues that I’m aware of so why did softball get the axe? In fact it should have been kept for that reason alone. Secondly, who really cares if the top MLB players play for their countries? I don’t and I don’t expect MLB players to leave their teams in August especially if they are in the hunt for the playoffs.
I actually enjoyed watching the minor league and college guys play. I think not having the pros playing levels the field a little bit. Look at men’s soccer in the Olympics. The majority of the guys on the squads are 23 and under. The U.S. men didn’t qualify if that tells you anything. If that doesn’t convince you then look at how Spain did in the Olympics. That’s right, the back-to-back Euro winner and 2010 World Cup winner didn’t make it out of the group stage. That’s because these weren’t your everyday national team starters and I like that. By not having your top level athletes some people who wouldn’t normally get a chance to play at such a high level get that change. One other example if you’re still not sold on my point of letting amateurs play comes from 1980. Would there have been a miracle on ice if the pro hockey players had been playing? I think not.
Finally, I have always been under the impression that the Olympics were about showcasing human athleticism. If that is the case then why do we have all of the equestrian events? Sure it requires a ton of talent (and money) to finely train a horse but at the end of the day is it not the horse that is jumping the hurdles and doing the majority of the work in the dressage (pronounced like massage) events? I know very little about these events so feel free to set me straight but I feel like dropping baseball and softball yet retaining the equestrian events is a bit of a crime as far as Olympic competition is concerned. I hope that the IOC will revisit this matter and put baseball and softball back on the docket for 2016 and future games. Hopefully having it in Rio de Janeiro will help persuade them.
Well, it is long past midnight and my last experiment is just about done so check back next Friday for another briefing. Happy Friday everyone!
PS: Congratulations to the US Women’s National Team on bringing home the gold with a 2-1 win over defending world champions Japan in front of a record crowd (80,203) at Wembley Stadium. Quite the achievement!