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Keep Baseball (and Softball) an Olympic Sport!

Posted June 27, 2012 7:07 AM by HUSH
Pathfinder Tags: olympics Olympics 2012

We're a month away from the 2012 Olympic games. This edition of the games will be held in London, and it is sure to breed many storylines. Will the English explode missiles in the air to keep it from raining, like the Chinese did in 2008? (Probably not). Will Usain Bolt keep his title of the fastest man alive? (More than likely, no.) Can Michael Phelps defend all of those gold medals? (Again, no.)

...via Huffington Post

Will South Korea remain the Olympic champions of baseball? Definitely. How do I know this? Baseball isn't an event in the 2012 Olympics, and it's already been rejected for the 2016 games as well, meaning that South Korea is the international baseball champion for at least another eight years. The same is true for softball, which has been dominated by the United States since its inception.

Baseball/softball isn't the only sport to have the 'backspace' key remove it from Olympic programs. In 1936, polo was removed, and is the only other modern medal event to suffer the indignity. The reasoning behind the elimination of bat-and-ball sports is, not surprisingly, largely political. The International Olympic Committee is largely European in administration, and baseball and softball is always won by a North American or Asian team.

With this adorable merchandise, consider me a Korean bandwagoner! ...via Zazzle

You might say this is a case of sour grapes. And I might say you're right. But that's not to say baseball isn't a deserving Olympic sport.

Consider that Ted Williams, the last Major Leaguer to hit .400 for a season, once said, "I think without question the hardest single thing to do in sports is to hit a baseball." Statistically speaking, he may be right. Producing a hit even 30% of your at bats makes you an all-star, and only 20% of baseball pitches are put into play at all. The pitches fly over 90 mph, and the batter has less than a second to find the pitch, determine its trajectory, and initiate a swing. Examine the image below:

...via Axon Potential

Now, it may seem like I'm only going to cover baseball, but give credit where it's due. Softball is as difficult-if not more so- as baseball.

...via Celebangels

In an episode of Sport Science, researchers compared the reaction times and difficulty of hitting comparable fastballs from a baseball and a softball.

Watch U.S. Softball hottie Jennie Finch break machines and strikeout a no-name minor leaguer.

Do you know what's on tap for this summer's Olympics though? Making its return after a 108 year hiatus would be golf. I believe most people would agree that golf should be an Olympic sport, and some might be surprised that it isn't already. Rugby will also be played.


Do you mean to tell me that people who get to wear THESE,

...via US RF123

...via Wei Under Par

get preference over people who where these?

...via Wikimedia

WHAT IS THIS WORLD COMING TO? AHHHH!!!! ...via Total Pro Sports

However, let's examine the IOC's justification for relegating baseball to the minor leagues. Officially the IOC states that since the world's best talent doesn't play, that the level of competition was declining. MLB doesn't allow players under contract to leave their respective teams. Baseball proponents cite bias against an "Americanized" game as the reason for baseball's exclusion.

This he-said she-said attitude is already a dishonor to the purpose of the Olympics: building world spirit and peace through competition. Heck, the Olympics has its own Olympic Truce Foundation supporting international cooperation.

I'm pretty sure everyone remembers the video that went viral when a girl hit a walk-off home run in a college softball game, and her opponents carried her around the bases after she tore a ligament in her leg.

Watch that video here.

Oh, and have you (or the IOC, for that matter), ever heard of the World Children's Baseball Fair? It's this crazy-awesome program started by Hank Aaron and Sadaharu Oh that underwrites international baseball clinics every summer in countries around the world. The program sends youngsters abroad to develop friendship and cultural exchange, THROUGH BASEBALL!

...via Nat Geo

Isn't that the real purpose of the Olympics? Not to exclude, but to include? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills here people!

So what have I done here? Pretty much ranted about how baseball and softball need to be Olympic sports. I also pointed out that they're in direct line with the spirit of the Olympics, and are arguably two of the hardest-to-play sports in existence.

What does that accomplish? Not much. But I personally hope that the 2020 Olympics will be awarded to a North American city so we can finally get beat by Cuba again! enjoy some baseball!

...via Wenlock and Mandeville

Resources

NY Times - Olympics to drop baseball and softball in 2012

IBAF - World Children's Baseball Foundation and Fair

USA Today - 10 Hardest Things to Do During Sports

Wikipedia - List of Olympic venues in discontinued events;

Olympic.org - Peace Through Sport



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#1

Re: Keep Baseball (and Softball) an Olympic Sport!

06/27/2012 9:46 AM

"The reasoning behind the elimination of bat-and-ball sports is, not surprisingly, largely political. The International Olympic Committee is largely European in administration, and baseball and softball is always won by a North American or Asian team." So, the IOC has self-serving agenda? Say it aint so!

"Baseball/softball isn't the only sport to have the 'backspace' key remove it from Olympic programs. In 1936, polo was removed, and is the only other modern medal event to suffer the indignity." Sort of. Pierre de Coubertin (then president of the IOC) in 1912 won a gold medal in the Olympic art competitions. Yes, Olympic art competition. Art competition was part of the games from 1912 to 1952.

I'm with ya on this: Baseball and softball should be Olympic medal sports.

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Keep Baseball (and Softball) an Olympic Sport!

06/27/2012 10:15 AM

Ahhh, there are truly somethings we're better without. Powerboating, roque, but I still thing tug-of-war would be a good spectacle.

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#3

Re: Keep Baseball (and Softball) an Olympic Sport!

06/27/2012 12:18 PM

Bat and ball games don't have the universal appeal, but I would like to see it included. With the problems in the world over security and terrorism, I don't see how the Olympics can survive.

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#4

Re: Keep Baseball (and Softball) an Olympic Sport!

06/28/2012 2:35 PM

So many of the olympic sports are nowhere near amateur.
I think it's ludicrous to have stuff like tennis and football (soccer). Unless it's amateur, like the best of the Sunday league pub teams, but of course some countrys (no names no pack drill) would field a bunch of ringers.The archery irritates me too. Field archery would be more spectator friendly, and I'd like to see bare bows not sights, stabilisers and all that cr4p... JMO of course.
I've got some tickets for one of the paralympic events, which I feel more reflect the olympic ideals.
If you look at thje price of food and drink in the stadium you can see it's all a bit of a money making jamboree. So many venues won't let you take your own food and drink in, it's stupid...oh to stop alcohol, but only if the prices are fair (which they are not).
Del
(The torch is coming within a few hundred yards of chez Del too)

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Keep Baseball (and Softball) an Olympic Sport!

06/30/2012 11:48 AM

Olympic events are very expensive to orchestrate, so everything associated with such an event will be expensive, not necessarily as a money grab, but to defray costs. Public utilities are affected; transportation, police services, security (especially now), sanitation, housing, etc. New stadiums and any supporting infrastructure are built. The line between amateur and pro is very thin. I think an olympic event should be only between individuals and not teams, like baseball and football. Also it should be based on athletic ability and not skill. A target shooter is skillful with a rifle or bow, but athletism is not needed. Also JMO.

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