I love baseball, and I can take or leave the Olympics, but baseball in the Olympics? It’s fun but its appeals to a very small segment, and thus should be a perfect match for the silly elitists who run the International Olympic committee and cling to joke competitions like modern pentathlon.
The IOC’s main problem with baseball is that MLB doesn’t allow its players to take part despite the assurance that it has the majors’ full support.
As it is, MLB’s Olympic “full Olympic support” is like most owners’ current commitment to the future of baseball, half-hearted at best. The only way to get MLB owners to get behind the Olympics would be to tie it to real estate development deals that would allow them to increase profits without worrying about player development or assembling winning teams or building fan bases.
Asking the majors to care about anyone but themselves is like asking the International Olympic Committee if holding an Olympics to consider whether holding an Olympics in the midst of a raging global pandemic is in keeping with its mission of doing good for the world.
My issue with baseball in the Olympics is not that the U.S. major leagues don’t care about it but that so few people around the world do. Who really cares if MLB allows its players to take part? About seven countries, period. That’s the problem.
I think we can all enjoy watching people trying to run fast or throw things far or swim or jump better. We can grasp sports that unite the world, like soccer and basketball. Even rugby sevens, a sport that can be played pretty much anywhere is fun and easy to get into.
But baseball? Why not American football or Twenty-20 cricket? I’m just joking about American football, but cricket its own cult following, like baseball, but more people follow it.
These are all great sports, but they lack global appeal. If they were gone, who would miss them? Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Cuba, the U.S., Canada, Venezuela, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. The Netherlands fields strong teams, but is not yet a hotbed. More work needs to be done.
I would absolutely love to see the highest level of international baseball played in a tournament, but it has to be in the middle of the season during a regular season break, with stars from all the world’s leagues. Oh but wait, that can’t happen because MLB doesn’t want to get in the way of its regular season, because that’s when its busy pretending to compete in order to milk the non-baseball income that makes its actual games superfluous to owners’ bottom lines.