Baseball and softball have been officially eliminated from the Olympic Games. That is one of the many reasons that I will not be watching the competition from London over the next 30 days. With the games of the 30th Olympiad taking place halfway around the world television coverage lags behind. Sports are supposed to be watched live. Knowing that Michael Phelps finished out of the medals in the 400-meter Individual Medley prior to the TV broadcast makes it pretty much unwatchable. This news came as no surprise considering Phelps has probably spent the last four years eating Subway sandwiches and doing bong-hits.
The expulsion of baseball from the Olympics is a difficult pill to swallow. It is a tough blow to America’s pastime at a point when the sport seems to be gaining popularity around the world. The World Baseball Classic has helped but the WBC simply doesn’t provide baseball the worldwide exposure that the Olympic Games would.
Baseball made it’s first appearance at the Olympics in 1912 as a demonstration sport. The Olympic status of the sport has fluctuated ever since, featuring appearances as a medal sport as well as some absences. Baseball had been a part of every Olympiad since 1948, that is, until this year.
The 2008 U.S. team that included Stephen Strasburg won the bronze medal in Beijing. Current Astros farm hand Mike Hessman was also a member of that team. The U.S. team won it’s most recent gold medal in Sydney Australia in 2000. That team was managed by Tommy Lasorda and included current big leaguers Roy Oswalt, Jon Rauch, and Ben Sheets.
Baseball and softball have formed an alliance in an effort to gain reinstatement with the International Olympic Committee. Neither sport will be included in the 2016 games in Rio de Janero, but the goal is to return in the year 2020. So until then I won’t be watching any of the tape-delayed events of the Olympic Games, except for maybe some Women’s Beach Volleyball. That, my friends, is an extremely entertaining spectator sport.