Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Possibility of Baseball in Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games?

Some possible exciting news about the state of baseball and softball in the Olympic Games! Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympics Committee, hinted about the possibility of exceeding more than 28 major sports at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics during the Nanjing Youth Olympic Conference. Another conference in September will give more details about the consideration of adding sports. Baseball and softball was voted out in 2005 and was last played in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. It would be great to see baseball back in the Olympics, but chances are still very slim. There’s a lot of conflict and debate about whether it should be reinstated.

Why would it be great to be reinstated? Because baseball is a religion in Japan, and not having it in the Olympics would be a complete travesty. Just take a look at this. Look how passionate the fans are compared to American fans (I do enjoy hotdogs and beer). Imagine that kind of reception for baseball during the Olympic Games. People will look at baseball differently and not perceive it as just another American sport. It can also potentially attract other Asian countries in growing or revitalizing interest for the sport. And most importantly for the state of China baseball, the government would resume its funding to get more facilities and centers for people to play.

Why it wouldn’t be great to be reinstated? Most nations don’t care about baseball and would be a total misuse of fund to build a stadium just for it. The baseball stadium for Athens 2004 is completely abandoned, and the Beijing stadium was demolished to build other complexes. I also believe that London played a big part in not wanting baseball because football, rounder’s and football. And the Americans don’t care about the Olympics because it’s in the middle of the MLB season.

On a business perspective, the cons outweigh the pros in reinstating baseball for the summer Olympics. So what can others do to convince the IOC that baseball truly belongs in the Olympics? MLB been doing a decent job spreading the sport in Europe, but I have no idea why they haven’t been aggressive with Asian countries. The IBAF lacks the fund and influential power to promote international tournaments, but is working with WBSC for the upcoming Premier 12 Tournament. The Japanese started the Asia series couple of years back with Korea, Taiwan and China and have recently added Italy and Australia to the competition. They haven’t exactly done a good job being a leader in Asia. There are still some lingering war grudges from other countries, but things are a lot better than they were in recent years. It also doesn’t help that most Asian countries are ethnocentric. There are still a lot of kinks and agreement to work out in order to gain support from the IOC, but the level of participation in baseball around the world has increased drastically. I’m going to stay hopeful about baseball being reinstated back into the Olympics. Anyway, thanks for reading and have a wonderful day.

Side note: China American Football League will launch in fall 2014. Come on baseball.....

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