Baseball/Softball Out Of the Olympics: What's the Real Reason?

Tommy Lasorda was on the radio and he point-blank said that the reason these sports were ielimnated was anti-americanism. Bah, I say. but what I do believe is that there is a significant Euro-centric bias to the Olympics. I may be completely wrong about this, but baseball is extremely popular in the Western Hemisphere and in the Pacific Rim, yet is virtually non-existent in Europe and Africa. I don’t have anything to back it up, it just seems to me that Europe pushes the Olympic agenda more than most any other region. Some of the objections were that professionals don’t always play, whichi s a weak excuse, stadiums cost too much, but what about velodromes, bobsled courses, etc. A baseball field can be easily converted to other uses.

The best reason given by the IOC memebers might have been the steroids issue, but if that were true than track and field would have been eliminated years ago. Also, the fact that it was as secret ballot that elimnated these sports rankles.

I heard someone on the radio here in Australia last night who was involved with the Australian Olympic commitee. He said he believed it was because US baseball was riddled with corruption and illegal use of performance enhancing drugs.

I’m just repeating what I heard - I have no idea whether or not that is true. But I do know that there are a certain type of people who are quite happy to blame the US for anything that goes wrong in the world.

I wouldn’t have thought that as sports go, baseball players would be very heavily into steroid use. Not that it doesn’t happen, but that it isn’t totally out of control. and as you say, if that were the logic, other Olympic sports should also be eliminated. I’d think weight lifters would be more likely to take steroids than baseball players.

They’re really boring?

And ‘rounders’ is the correct name :stuck_out_tongue:

For a new sport to be considered for Olympic inclusion the following is required

The Sport Must be Widely Practiced

“Only sports widely practiced by men in at least seventy-five countries and on four continents, and by women in at least forty countries and on three continents, may be included in the programme of the Games of the Olympiad.” For Winter sports, the criteria is 25 countries on 3 continents.
(Olympic Charter Section 52, Paragraph 1.1.1)

The Sport Must Have International Standing

“To be included in the programme of the Olympic Games, events must have a recognized international standing both numerically and geographically, and have been included at least twice in world or continental championships.”
(Olympic Charter Section 52, Paragraph 3.2)

There Must be Drug Testing

“Only sports that apply the Olympic Movement Anti-Doping Code and in particular perform out-of-competition testing in accordance with the rules of the World Anti-Doping Agency will be included in the programme of the Olympic Games.”
(Olympic Charter Section 52, Paragraph 1.1.3)

There Must Not Be Mechanical Propulsion

“Sports, disciplines or events in which performance depends essentially on mechanical propulsion are not acceptable.”

(Olympic Charter Section 52, Paragraph 4.2)

I susspect the two dropped sports would fail to meet the first requirement and maybe 2nd and 3rd if they were to be considered for inclusion as a new sport. Existing Olympic sports are not automatically excluded if they fail to meet these criteria I think it would be relivent when chosing what sports to remove.

There’s your problem.

I’d be more moved by an allegation from someone who wasn’t a senile buffoon.

What in the world has MLB to do with the Olympics? The players rarely play in the Olympics anyway.

I understand that the biggest drawback for baseball is that the member nations could not guarantee that their best players would participate in the Olympics. Clearly, MLB is not going to schedule a month-long break in the middle of their season so that players can go off and play for their respective Olympic teams.

Well, when you say “Western Hemisphere”, you also include South America, an entire continent that is completely indifferent to baseball. And I suspect there are more Asian countries that don’t play baseball than do.

I read that aside from the fact that they’re not particularly international, some reasons are: [ul]
[li]Baseball as an Olympic sport is seen as a joke, since virtually all the best players in the world don’t go because they’re playing in the MLB during the Games (and I’m not just talking US, but many of the Latin countries that have players on American teams)[/li][li]Softball is also seen as a joke since the US completely dominates the competition. Haven’t the Americans won every single game since the sport’s inception? If not, almost. Why bother with the pretense of “even-playing-field”?[/li][li]Countries bidding on the Olympics have to build baseball/softball stadiums (at great expense) that are completely useless post-Games since it’s not easy to adapt or retrofit such venues in countries that don’t otherwise play baseball.[/li][li]Nobody would miss it. Americans don’t watch Olympics for the baseball, and most other countries couldn’t care less.[/li][/ul]
Essentially, there were very few pros and many more compelling cons.

Incidentally, two sports came close to being added to the games, but missed the necessary 2/3 vote: Squash and karate. I imagine it won’t be long before they’re added, especially the latter.

I’d have thought it was simply a lack of international popularity.

I think baseball makes some sense. I’d love to see it continue, but no US team in Athens was a joke. The best baseball in the world wasn’t played in Athens last year. In fact, it was probably barely the level of a AA team in the minor leagues.

Softball is a bit more of a mystery. There is no World Series nor major league softball which are so clearly above Olympic standard. I’ve loved the dominance of the American women, however, they can be beaten by other international teams. The rest of the world can easily pull an upset in the future and defeat the American women.

Frankly, as a baseball fan, I couldn’t care less about olympic baseball. If I wanted to see a minor league all star team, I’d go to the triple A allstar game. The new World Cup of Baseball may be a little more interesting anyway. At least it will be major leaguers playing in it, although some of the players don’t seem interested.

Not so. Baseball is very important in Venezuela, and fairly so in Colombia.

Other Latin American countries where it is significant are Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama, and Nicaragua.

What cracks me up is that this debate shows how utterly pointless the Olympics have become. Look at the common pros/cons we’ve been discussing: abuse of performance enhancing drugs (track), popularity (field events), entertainment value (field events again), use of facilities after the Olympics (bob sled), whether or not the best players are involved (basketball and hockey). All I can say for these two most boring of sports is that at least we haven’t had a rash of stupid corrupt judging scandals the way figure skating ALWAYS has.

I knew when I first heard this story that it would lead to a lame debate about how great the sport of baseball/softball is, and how useful a baseball stadium can be. And I knew that would ultimately lead to a lot of arguments put AGAINST all other sports in the Olympics.

Its time the IOC pull all of the sports and released us from this quadrennial pain in the ass. Baseball doesn’t deserve to be an Olympic sport, its boring and unathletic. Then again, squash and racquetball don’t need to be in there either. And I’m sorry to all those that love squash and racquetball, but have you ever seen it on tv? Why is it that once every four years people become interested in javelin and shot-put?

The Olympics have seen their ratings plummet and are working desperately to pad their line-up with fewer friendly sports like women’s volleyball, and women’s bikini judo, and women’s (not children’s) trampoline. Have you notice that their plans are for “roller sports.” What the hell is that? Skateboarding? Rollerblading? That crazy lugue on skateboards?

You can’t possibly argue for or against baseball/softball without showing how stupid all the other sports are, and thus witling away what’s left of an already ridiculous activity.

Well, even if there IS a European bias against baseball, the fact remains, Americans didn’t care a whit about Olympic baseball, either. When even the people who are SUPPOSED to be passionate about an event aren’t interested in watching it, you know that event is no longer worthy of the Olympics.

I think that the Olympics should ditch any sport in which there are already more prestigious events.

Olympic tennis will NEVER be as important as the four Grand Slam events. So, lose tennis.

Olympic soccer will never matter as much as the World Cup. Lose it.

Olympic basketball will always be a distant second to the NBA title. Let it go.

And baseball? Come on! The World Series will always command more prestige than Olympic baseball.

There may well be a European bias against baseball, or things American, which is unfortunate because it is so popular in many different regions. I also don’t buy the “building a special stadium” argument. You could take just about any existing stadium, say one they play soccer in, move a few fences around, throw down some bases, and boom, you have a baseball stadium. It wouldn’t necessarily be all that pretty, but who cares.

That said, you can’t really blame them when so few countries are willing or able to send their best players. It’s too bad because there could be some great matchups. Hopefully the baseball world cup (or whatever this thing will be called) succeeds.

They said the same thing about basketball a few years ago, and look what’s happened.

Also, the olympics have some ridiculous stuff they need to get rid of instead of baseball/softball: Archery, Marksmanship, Equestrian events…non of those is really an Olympic sport, IMHO. Little athleticism is required for those events.

Funny, while those events certainly fit most of the criteria, but why does Marksmanship remain when it sure seems to violate the “mustn’t rely on mechanical propulsion” thing.

Another thing I found odd about the alleged reasons for dumping baseball… the steroid thing. I’d assume that in previous games baseball players were subject to the same standards any other olympic athlete was. The IOC can pretty much impose any testing standard they’d like, right?

I’m trying to find an article I recently read regarding this, but it claims the real reasons were that other sports were lobbying to get in, and it’s simply easier to toss out the more recent events. That coupled with the fact that MLB refused to allow the best athletes to compete sealed its fate.

It’s a shame they didn’t let women’s softball remain, though.

Can you justify this statement please ?

When did MLB refuse to allow their athletes to compete?

The players could go. I know one player did take a year off MLB to play for the Olympics for his home country. I think it was an Australian. It’s not MLB’s fault that most of the players aren’t willing to do that.