Baseball became an official Olympic sport at the 1992 Summer Olympics. The last event was played in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, in which South Korea won a gold medal.
Then the sport was dropped from the Summer Olympics. But why was Baseball voted out of the Olympics?
Why Was Baseball Voted Out of the Olympics?
It was decided that Baseball will not be a part of the 2016 Olympics, in August 2009. The popularity of the game was less worldwide. All countries participate in sports like track and field and soccer but not in Baseball.
There were also timings issues with Baseball. Time is not always fixed while playing this game as it is played for long durations.
Why is Baseball Not Involved in the Olympics?
In 1904, Baseball was unofficially played in the Olympics, but it did not become an official sport until 1992. It also enjoyed the exhibition status without getting any medals until then. The major problem with Baseball was its unpredictable time.
The different styles of pitching and hitting make baseball game being untenable, i.e., not played in the Olympics than other sports performed in a back to back format. The IOC started testing the runners as soon as the extra innings started and proved to make the sport more unpredictable in terms of time.
There was also a significant problem with European countries. Few of them participate in Baseball and constitute a significant part of the voting bloc in the Olympics. It is challenging to convince those countries to invest in the game they do not play.
What Should Olympic Baseball Rules be Followed?
In an Olympic Baseball game, there should be two teams with nine players, and each competes to score the most of the runs. It begins with one team batting and the other one fielding.
The batting team has its one player on the “home plate” which is one of the four bases to make a baseball ‘diamond’.
The player aims to hit the ball hard and run around these bases and then get back to his home plate and score a run.
Meanwhile, the player of the fielding team has one pitcher who throws the ball to the batter from the central mound. There is a catcher from the fielding team, who stands behind the batter. There are three outfielders and four infielders to catch the ball.
A batter can be out if he misses the ball three times or run-out between the bases. It is done by any fielder who catches the ball while standing at the next nearest base to the running batter.
The team switches their roles when the fielding team gets three players from the opposition team out. In total, there should be nine innings over a game.
The winning team scores the most runs after these nine innings. In the event of a tie, if one team outscores or after an equal number of turns of batting, an additional inning will be played.
The World Baseball Softball Confederation, who is going to run the 2020 Olympic Tournament, has implemented some new rules for the game.
- There will be 12-second limits between throws.
- The teams will have 90 seconds to switch from batting to fielding and vice versa during innings.
Will Baseball Make an Olympic Comeback?
Baseball is among several sports that are going to make their debut at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The history of Baseball at the Olympics is a lot more complicated than it would seem.
Baseball was last played at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The International Olympic Committee voted to remove the Baseball from the Summer Olympic program beginning in 2012.
There Were Many Reasons for the Vote:
- IOC membership includes a strong European contingent, i.e., dissatisfied with the presence of two games that are dominated by North American, South American, and Asian teams.
- IOC cannot reach an agreement with Major League Baseball and allow its players to participate in the Olympics. It means that several of the world’s top players would not have been eligible to compete.
Reasons Why Baseball Should Return?
- Makes Way for Softball: If Baseball once again makes its way to the Olympics, then softball would also most certainly follow suit. Hundreds of women were trained in the hopes of making the Olympic team. Those women will be once again able to compete and rewarded for their hard work and training.
- Improved Drug Testing: MLB’s slow adoption of drug testing was the leading cause of the elimination of Baseball from the Olympics. MLB has now started to improve its procedures and punishments for drug abusers. The system is now continuing to grow and catch up with the rest of the baseball world. The Olympic Committee should now consider these changes and allow Baseball as part of the Olympics once again.
- Pausing of MLB: Another factor of eliminating Baseball from the Olympics was that MLB refused to pause the season and allow its players to compete with numerous countries. Many countries like Japan and Cuba allow their professional players to compete, but they have been unfairly eliminated from the Olympics because of the issues present in a single country. IOC should show some sympathy and consideration for other countries where Baseball plays an important role.
- World Baseball Classic: The World Baseball Classic has developed the popularity of Baseball around the world. Fans sharing nationalities with teams gather around at the places to support their nation. The success of WBC is a perfect example to support the cause for allowing the Baseball in the Olympics.
- Baseball has Changed: Baseball around the world is trying to adapt the Olympic policies and standards to become part of the Olympics again. The Committee must forget the recent grudges and reconsider Baseball as an Olympic sport again.
Baseball is going make a debut in the 2020 Summer Olympics. But why was Baseball voted out of the Olympics? Committee decided to eliminate Baseball from the Olympics because of the unpredictable duration of the game.