Friday, March 27, 2009

Baseball in the Olympics - or not

For those of you who have been waiting with baited breath, or don't really care and just stumbled across this, the answer to whether or not baseball will be in the Olympics will be answered a lot sooner than we thought. Yep, never an organization to use fair play as a concept with making decisions, the IOC will be expediting things and make a final decision in August:
Thanks to a link in the twitter feed of Baseball GB’s Matt Smith, we receive news regarding the reinstatement of Baseball and Softball into the Olympics. The BBC reports on their website that the IOC has decided to cut five of the seven sports, which are considered for reinstatement into the Olympic program, already at a meeting in Berlin, Germany in August.
Here's the actual quote:
The seven sports hoping to be included in the 2016 Olympic Games will be cut to two at a meeting in Berlin ahead of a final decision later in 2009. The original plan was for the sports to make presentations in June before going to Copenhagen for the vote in October..But the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has now opted to cut five sports at August’s executive board meeting
Now, some people might think this is a good idea. Lets get the decision made and get it done. Especially those who think it's a forgone conclusion that baseball will make it back. It won't. You've done your work, Bud. The Olympics are out, and the World Baseball Classic is firmly entrenched as the world stage for baseball. Now stop fucking it up, and take it seriously, before you do a lot of harm.

But all is not milk and honey in the minds of those who know. The entire idea of making the final decision smacks of partisanship, particularly by those in Europe who want soccer to remain the world sport.

Yes, fresh off the success of the World Baseball Classic (and it was a success everywhere but the United States, at least according to the mainstream media in the U.S.), the vote will pre-empt any legitimate shot of having baseball returned. With two Asian teams in the finals, a Dutch team advancing to the second round (at the expense of a baseball powerhouse) and an Italian team that beat a 'mostly' major league Canadian team, baseball is popular around the world. And a successful World Cup of Baseball, played in Europe, would seem to be the thing needed to push baseball over the top. But it won't happen:
During the August 13 meeting in Berlin, the IOC executive board will decide, which two of the seven sports will be voted on at the IOC congress in Copenhagen, Denmark in October. This means the IBAF Baseball World Cup could come too late to impress the many members of the IOC in Europe.
So they'll make the vote before the World Cup, but right as the European soccer leagues are getting ready to start their season. Summer camp/pre-season in soccer is the same as the NFL. The biggest thing around.

Yeah, I'm convinced. There's no bias involved at all. There's no conspiracy by FIFA to keep baseball out of the Olympics. And there's absolutely no chance that anyone on the IOC committed could be (shall we say) 'influenced' to push this decision up at the expense of baseball. Sure, baseball is known for it's 'bleacher bums', and sitting in the outfield stands with no shirt on and swilling beer while we intentionally mis-pronounce the names of foreign players, but it doesn't mean we're stupid.

I would like to see baseball stay in the Olympics, as I feel it belongs. Even if the pro's don't play, it's okay with me. It's about putting the sport in the limelight, not winning every medal. Even though I think we did okay before. We have won Gold medals with minor-league players.

What is really funny, to me, at least, is the fact that Bud keeps saying he would like to see baseball stay in the Olympics. But if that's true, where is MLB while all of this going on? Where is their voice? Where are their representatives? Oh yeah, sitting back and counting the cash from the Classic.

So, I think it's a forgone conclusion. Baseball is out of the Olympics. And I'll bet they let softball back in to just to spite us.

My new list of most worthless organizations in the history of the world, in order:

1. The United States State Department
2. The United Nations
3. The European Union
4. The House of Representatives (c'mon, really, what's the point?)
5. The Catholic Church
6. The International Olympic Committee

I'm looking for 7 - 10.

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