Baseball and the Olympics

When I was told of the International Olympic Commitee’s decision to drop baseball and women?s softball from the Olympics, I was devastated.  What a bad move on their part!  It is a decision I obviously can not support, or understand. Olympics_3

Baseball is a global sport.  Not only have many countries strengthened relations through baseball, people around the world can relate to each other because of baseball.  Walter O’Malley sent the Dodgers to Japan in the 1950?s for the sole purpose of building a bridge between the two countries.  His son, Peter, carried on that tradition and frequently had teams from around the world play at Dodger Stadium, or train at Dodgertown.  In fact, Peter has built fields in Russia, China, Ireland and Nicaragua. 

Baseball is also played throughout the world.  Here is a partial list of countries that play baseball: the United States of America, Canada, Mexico, Panama, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Chile, Curacao, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Australia, South Africa, Japan, South Korea, China and Taiwan. 

When I coached the U.S. Baseball team in the 2000 Olympics, the stands were packed for every game, full of thousands of cheering fans routing for their heroes.  I also saw a few softball games and they too were played before large crowds. 

Olympics_11 While baseball is a cultural melting pot, the IOC removed our game, something that has not been done since 1936.  I sincerely hope they review their decision and reconsider the global institution baseball is. 

Commissioner Selig once said, ?Baseball is a social institution, and, as such, has social responsibility.?  As we all know, baseball helped integrate our country.

Heck, if it weren?t for my time spent playing winter baseball, I would not know how to speak Spanish. 

I have also heard the IOC dropped baseball because players on the 40-man roster are not subjected to the same steroid testing other Olympic athletes are.  That is not true.  Before we left for Sydney, each of my players was tested by Olympic officials, so I think that is a weak argument. 

Furthermore, the commissioner is taking the proper steps to strengthen our drug rule, and I am sure he will accomplish his goal by the time the games are played in 2012!

14 Comments

I really enjoy reading your posts. I myself was shocked to hear that baseball will no longer be part of the Olympics. I truly hope they overturn than decision.

With you behind them, they will overturn their decisiion. they will be crazy not to! Keep speaking up on the drug rule as well…you are a major and solid voice for baseball. Thank you!

Thank the maker baseball is OUT of the olympics!!! As long as gimmick Indie Leagues such as the new Golden Baseball League exist and include “foregin teams” such as the Japan Samurai Bears WE DON’T NEED THE STINKIN’ OLYMPICS!
GANBATTE!SAMURAI BEARS!KATOBASE!

Thank you Tommy for speaking out. I agree, baseball and softball should be in the Olympics without question. Baseball is the greatest sport over played or watched. I hope you go after the IOC with all your might and win them over. Thank you Tommy!!!!

While I am seriously sad that Baseball was kicked out by the IOC, It’s not as bad as it could have been. There is now the World Baseball Classic, which looks like a winner, if enough players decide to partake in it.

Say, Tommy, are the rumors that you will manage the USA World Baseball Classic team true?

It is a shame baseball has been removed from the Olympics. Maybe we, the baseball fans, can boycot the next summer game…

Thank You Tommy for all the wonderful insights. They helped me coach my church softball team to their 1st championship ever. We finished last 2 years before.Most important of all,we had a great time while we improved.

I could not agree with you more. Baseball is a great way to build bridges between countries, and people through out the world. The popularity of the Dodgers in other countries proves this point. As always you are a much needed leader in this. Thanks Tommy!!! Go Dodgers !!!

Hello Tommy – I too share your disappointment that baseball has been dropped from the Olympics, but as a fan in the UK I can tell you that we never see coverage of these games in our country, and it is probably true in many others too. Although there are many sports in the Olympics that are followed in only a minority of countries (rowing, modern pentathlon, show jumping for instance) this is their opportunity for a global event and mass exposure. This is not true of baseball where the World Series is much bigger than the Olympic baseball tournament.

I think that baseball has only been dropped from the 2012 Olympics here in London, by the way. It is still in the 2008 games, and could return in 2016. One of the official reasons that baseball was dropped was because no permanent facility would be built as a result of the games. The games would have been played in a temporary stadium built in Regents Park, rather than one of the dedicated diamonds in (I think) Hull in the North or Brighton in the South. Croydon, South London is an alternative, but I don’t think any of these venues have much in the way of seating for fans to the scale that you would see at an Olympic tournament.

It appears to be chicken and egg though – the facilities aren’t big enough to host an event on this scale, but then to build the facilities would only be a wise investment if there was a greater basis of active playing participation in this country, the like of which could be catalysed by the Olympic event.

MLB does a great job of encouraging kids to play over here, but the fact that it will not feature in 2012 means that it misses a great opportunity to reach out to the kids in Britain. I know I’m disappointed that I can’t take my son to those games, but the game in Britain needs to grow stronger but perhaps that will take more than just the Olympics, given the lack of coverage our media gave the game in 2004 and every other year. What would really compensate for the IOC’s decision would be for Major League Baseball to stage an exhibition in London – now that would capture the imagination, I am sure.

Something I always loved about the Dodgers organization is their view of the “World is a Baseball Field”. They were the first team to bring in a Black player, they pioneered the Academies in Republica Dominica, were the first to bridge to the burgeoning Chican community here in the states, the first to have a Japanese player, a Korean player, Australian player, you name it, the Dodgers (and to a lesser extent, the Toronto Blue Jays) have been the most forward-thinking franchise in professional sports.

Tommy Lasorda has been part of that for what, 65 years? If his words on why Baseball and softball belong as Olympic sports do not resonate with the Olympuc comittee, that body will have no credibility anymore.

Io credo che sia assurdo che uno sport seguito da pubblico e media come il baseball sia fuori dal programma olimpico e soprattutto che una organizzazione potente come la MLB non sia in grado al giorno d’oggi di garantire la presenza del baseball alle olimpiadi.
E’ un vero peccato soprattutto per quei paesi per i quali la vetrina olimpica è forse l’unica possibilità reale di propaganda per il nostro tanto amato sport.

Secondo me la MLB dovrebbe fare uno sforzo in tal senso in ogni modo visto che è la organizzazione sportiva più importante al mondo.

Oltre a quanto scritto su questo argomento volevo approfittare di questa splendida occasione che ho di scrivere addirittura al mitico TOM LASORDA , per mandare un saluto dall’ITALIA e ringraziare mlb.com.

CIAO !!!!

http://www.macerataangels.com

What a Bad Day for France !!!
We loose the Olympics (Paris 2012) and the baseball & softball fans over the world are loosing too.

I think if Paris have won the organisation of the Olympics, baseball was not dropped out. Because we have good facility and stadium for the both sports.

And the french baseball softball federation would use the olympic event to popularize the best sports in the world, here, in France !

i play baseball & softball. we have a team (of course called the Dodgers) here in the town i live, and it’s hard to grow up a baseball team because of the soccer popularity… but we love this game and we work hard every day to give our team a long life and keep a baseball tradition in our little town…

At last, dear american baseball fans, please dont be so selfish… some one thinks it’s not so bad if baseball is dropped out. do you really think this??? ok, you’ve got MLB, Minor Leagues, baseball and softball every where you go (school, college, park, garden…) every where people can play… so if you dont have the Olympics it not so bad… but think a moment at all the baseball & softball fans over the world and here in Europe : France, Germany, Spain, England, Sweden, Finland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Russia, Austria…

We all want baseball & softball back in 2012 and just in case of: ” Bring back Dodgers to Brooklyn!!! ”

God bless you all.

Francis.

P.s: here is a link. please go and sign the petition for softball back in 2012.

http://www.petitiononline.com/olysoftb/petition-sign.html

Hi Tommy, sorry I cannot agree with you on this matter, I think the Olympics is and has always been the VERY best of the best competing against each other in all sports. However when was the last time the USA baseball team had players like Arod, Jeter, even fading stars like Sammy Sosa etc would have been acceptable, I feel it is an empty gesture to complain when the governing bodies dont take it seriously enough to compete at the TOP level… Go Cards

Tommy,

Thank you for taking on the crusade of keeping baseball/softball in the Olympics. From a female standpoint, baseball gave us softball…an opportunity for females to participate in the best game in sports! Can we as fans do anything to campaign for keeping these sports in the Olympics?

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