I love baseball. I also love the Olympics. Tonight is the opening ceremonies of the XXXth Olympiad in London. To my profound disappointment, the world's greatest sport will not be a part of the world's biggest sporting spectacle, as baseball was eliminated as an Olympic sport in 2005, supposedly because it was too American.
That is garbage.
The American pastime is very much an worldwide sport. The World Baseball Classic, perhaps the best thing to come about under the tyrannical rule of Bud Selig, has been a smash hit since its inception in 2006. The 2013 WBC will see competition from twenty-eight national teams. The last Olympics to include baseball, the XXIXth Olympiad in Beijing, only had national teams from eight countries.
Whether it's anti-American bias, corruption, or just plain incompetence, the IOC is dead wrong on this. Baseball, though it has many American characteristics, is an international sport like no other, save soccer. The 2008 Olympic men's soccer tournament featured teams from sixteen nations. Next year twenty-eight national baseball teams will compete at an international level. If that isn't an indication that baseball is more that just an American niche sport, I don't know what would be.
If baseball is too American for the Olympics, how is basketball still an Olympic sport? Team USA has won gold in basketball 13 times out of 17 Olympic competitions. Team USA only won gold in baseball once, in 2000. The nation that dominates Olympic baseball is Cuba, who has won either gold or silver in every Olympic baseball tournament. The IOC needs to get their collective heads out of the sand and bring baseball back to the Olympics.
Every day I drive by one of Team USA's Olympic training centers. The USOC headquarters is only a block away from my office. The Olympics are a big deal to me, my community, and my country. Sadly, the IOC is out of touch, and one of the world's best sports is blacklisted for an invalid reason.
Bring back baseball! Go Team USA!