You Need to Know About Baseball and Olympics
Christened with "2020" but being delayed one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 32nd Tokyo Olympics finally came to an end on 8th August in 2021. As International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said at the closing ceremony, it was an unprecedented Olympic Games in history because this world’s biggest sporting event had been coping with Covid-19 during the past 17 days.
Though there were no spectators at most events and visitors’ movements were also subjected to unprecedented restrictions for the pandemic reason, elite athletes all over the world produce indelible moments in every discipline. Even more important, baseball made its return to the Olympics at the Tokyo 2020 Games after 13 years of absence since 2008. Six national teams, including Israel, Japan (host), Mexico, South Korea, the United States, and the Dominican Republic competed in the tournament. And finally, Japan beat the US 2-0 and won their 1st Olympic baseball gold medal.
So, do you know what happened to baseball games in Olympic history? Why did baseball get removed from the Olympics for 13 years? Today, we will talk about the close bond between baseball and the Olympics.
Baseball History in the Olympics
Baseball has a long history in the Summer Olympic Games. It had its unofficial debut at the 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis. After that, baseball was played as an exhibition/demonstration sport in seven Olympics—1912, 1936, 1952, 1956, 1964, 1984, and 1988— more than for any other sport in Olympic history. Until 1992, it was adopted as a medal sport at the Barcelona Olympics. But after the 2008 Beijing Games, it was dropped again out of the Olympics. When the time came to 2020, in view of the popularity of baseball sports in Japan(the host nation for the year’s games), baseball returned to Tokyo Olympics 2020 again after a 13-year hiatus.
Why Baseball is Bumpy in the Olympics
Though the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Baseball Tournament brought us a spectacular showing, baseball will still be absent at the Paris 2024 Olympics as well as Los Angeles 2028 and beyond to be determined. Why is the sport so bumpy in the Olympics? In fact, there are multiple factors why baseball was dropped from the Olympic roster.
The first reason is that there was a 28-sport limit for the summer Olympics before 2014. As we know, the Olympics are an international celebration of sport, but not all sports can be invited. As the total number of events boosted over the last century, the International Olympic Committee(IOC) who is in charge of deciding which sports will be included nor not, had to instate a 28-sport cap from 2002 to 2014. Unfortunately, baseball was voted out of the Olympics by the IOC in 2005. But this reason can only explain why baseball was removed over the procedure.
Another reason is the regional nature of the sport. Baseball has been one of the most beloved sports in Japan, Korea, and the US. And nearly 90% of people consider it as a national pastime of all American people. But the sport is not well known in Europe and other regions. Therefore, it is not surprising that the IOC will think about other nations’ attitudes towards this activity.
The third reason is related to Major League Baseball (MLB). As an American professional baseball organization and the oldest of the major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada, MLB consists of 30 teams. Each team will play 162 regular-season games. But the season runs from the start of April to the end of September, which clashes with the Olympics schedule. Many of the best players from MLB can not compete in the Olympics. Therefore, the Olympic baseball games only with the participation of amateurs and minor league players appear to be of minor significance.
Baseball is Becoming a Global Sport
As we stated above, baseball has a tough task ahead of it in the Olympics. But we also found the popularity of the sport is increasing as the world becomes more interconnected. Baseball is no longer just “America’s Pastime”. More and more people are getting involved in the game. Parents take children to their first game. And then they love it. Most children start playing baseball even at four years old. Youth baseball participation is on the rise. Figures show that more than 25 million kids played baseball or softball in 2018, and nearly 15 million of those were "core" players who played 13 or more times a year. What's more, baseball culture comes along with people’s love for baseball, which has influenced global fashion greatly.
In a word, we have reasons to believe that baseball is becoming a global sport. It will return to the Olympics in the future. If you are interested in youth baseball, please follow us and choose baseball goods for your child. Welcome to our website: www.btop.co.