July 08, 2005

You're out!: Baseball and softball bite the dust and will be played as Olympic sports for the last time in Beijing. They were not replaced by anything new as the IOC reduced the number of Olympic sports to 26 for London 2012.

posted by JJ to other at 06:11 AM - 40 comments

That makes a lot of sense, cut two sports that people watch, and leave in something really stupid like sync. swimming. Must be why I never watch or care.

posted by tdheiland at 07:14 AM on July 08

I am bummed about baseball being dropped. Softball is so lopsided. It still seems to be growing on the World stage. I see the United States dominating it for a long time. We cant send our best players in baseball so maybe its for the better that its being dropped.

posted by daddisamm at 07:38 AM on July 08

Baseball and softball are both american sports. The article sited does not give any reasons why they are being dropped. Is it that they are not popular anywhere except here or is it an anti-american thing?

posted by tommysands at 07:57 AM on July 08

Well, that sucks. Now the summer Olympics are even less representative of anything I do or care about.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 08:20 AM on July 08

To expand on JJ's fpp, it's not exactly true that baseball and softball "will be played as Olympic sports for the last time in Beijing". They will remain as Olympic sports, but will not be part of the program for the 2012 games. They could be included in the program again in the future. Also, while no replacements have been named as yet, five candidate sports are being considered. As for why they were dropped, softball isn't that popular elsewhere -- it's just not played very widely. Baseball is popular elsewhere, obviously; it's just that, as it's currently set up, it's not really played as an international game. The best come to the US to play MLB, which isn't the same as international competition. Frankly, I'm not sure why it was ever included -- I thought that the IOC required that there be an organization that regulates international competition in a sport (for example, the FIS for skiing), and I can't think of such an organization for baseball. The best overview on the subject is probably the IOC's Programme Committee facts and figures document. They cite seven categories of evaluation criteria for inclusion of a sport into the program: 1. History and tradition 2. Universality 3. Popularity of the sport 4. Image 5. Athletes' health 6. Development of the IF (international foundation) 7. Costs

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:32 AM on July 08

haha fuck baseball its all about basketball now if u think about it basketball have more international superstars than baseball

posted by defrag3x at 08:45 AM on July 08

haha. It is fucking not. Baseball has way better numbers than the NBA. However, Olympic baseball is ass. And with some exceptions, doesn't draw very well. I was told that more people watch weightlifting.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 09:31 AM on July 08

Baseball and softball are both american sports. Tell that to the kids who get their asses handed to them in the Little League World Series each year. The foreign teams may be older, they may be all-star teams, but they sure as hell can play. I seem to remember Japan had some pick-up games once.

posted by yerfatma at 09:33 AM on July 08

I thought that the IOC required that there be an organization that regulates international competition in a sport (for example, the FIS for skiing), and I can't think of such an organization for baseball. the international baseball federataion. they actually have a rather lengthy history.

posted by goddam at 09:33 AM on July 08

MAYBE Its that england plays cricket so they wouldnt even have a team in the competition.?

posted by HOE.O.K. at 09:38 AM on July 08

"its all about basketball now" After the US performance in Athens, you'd better hope it's not all about basketball now, mate. Sorry for the slight exageration-to-get-people-cross in the fpp - I wrote it, thought 'that's not strictly right' then thought 'fuck it - no one will notice' That'll teach me.

posted by JJ at 09:50 AM on July 08

Baseball is second only to soccer across Latin America and much of the Pacific Rim, so calling it a US sport is a little misleading. That said, yeah, the level of competition in the olympics is pretty asstastic- I doubt anyone except Roger Clemens will miss it. Now if only they'd had the balls to yank things like synchronized swimming as well...

posted by tieguy at 10:03 AM on July 08

MAYBE Its that england plays cricket so they wouldnt even have a team in the competition.? England doesn't get to pick. The IOC gets to pick.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:18 AM on July 08

I wasn't even aware that baseball and softball were Olympic sports. That's how much attention they get over this side of the pond.

posted by squealy at 10:21 AM on July 08

Softball is growing in ppularity in Europe. Many countries are beginnign to build fields and import american coaches. Japan, China and Australia have good international teams so they must play it at the prep level to produce good players. Yea the US has won every Gold medal. In 2004 we did dominate. But in 2000 we lost three games and were do or die for the medal round. Eliminating them because the US always wins is not a legit reason. If that is the reason. As far as replacing them with other sports they voted no on all of the 5 replacements so there will be two less sports and about 300 less athletes at London.

posted by scottypup at 10:27 AM on July 08

After the US performance in Athens, you'd better hope it's not all about basketball now, mate. Ya mean when the US women beat the Opals...mate? ;-)

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:28 AM on July 08

defrag: I thunk about it, and here's what I came up with. Over a third of this year's major league all-stars are not from the US. Over a quarter of the cumulative innings played in the major leagues in 2004 were executed by people not from the US [thanks to Nate Silver for that stat]. If u think about it, basketball doesn't have as many[*]. * though I don't know this to be the case.

posted by cl at 11:05 AM on July 08

Well, that sucks. Now the summer Olympics are even less representative of anything I do or care about. You mean you don't synchronize swim with a buddie at the Y? Shit that's fun...

posted by smithnyiu at 11:17 AM on July 08

So much for Jeannie Finch and the progression of womens softball.

posted by volfire at 11:36 AM on July 08

And volfire chimes in again! Keep trying, you big ol' proponent of women's sports, you!

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:49 AM on July 08

cl: FWIW, the 2005 NBA all-star rosters were 1/4 foreign-born (6 of 24), and that in a year where Dirk and Andrei Kirilenko had off years and did not repeat their appearances from 2004. It's quite plausible that the 2006 NBA all-star team could be 1/3rd or more foreign born. And it's a more geographically diverse group in general than baseball's international all-star crop, which has no Europeans (never has, to the best of my knowledge). Will be interesting to see in 10-20 years time whether or not Asia continues to produce more baseball/basketball stars than soccer stars- i.e., if in the sporting case, they end up following the US more than the rest of the world. [As an aside, this page on mlb.com is the worst abuse of flash ever. It's an f'ing roster; why on god's green earth should it have a PROCESSOR RECOMMENDATION?]

posted by tieguy at 11:50 AM on July 08

Here are the Olympic sports on the current roster:

Summer sports: Aquatics Archery Athletics Badminton Baseball Basketball Boxing Canoe / kayak Cycling Equestrian Fencing Football Gymnastics Handball Hockey Judo Modern Pentathlon Rowing Sailing Shooting Softball Table Tennis Taekwondo Tennis Triathlon Volleyball Weightlifting WrestlingWinter sports: Biathlon Bobsleigh Curling Ice Hockey Luge Skating Skiing
Personally, I would like to see Badminton, Handball(!), and Table Tennis given the boot.

posted by dusted at 12:07 PM on July 08

I'd like to see all the 'judged' sports tossed- boxing and gymnastics come to mind. [And yeah... badminton? handball? I'd been willing to give the OC the benefit of the doubt that dumping baseball wasn't just crass anti-americanism, but... jeez. handball? I didn't even know that was in the olympics in the first place.]

posted by tieguy at 12:44 PM on July 08

Maybe they could consolidate a few sports? Taekwon-handball Synchonized swim shooting (or swim archery)

posted by kokaku at 01:23 PM on July 08

Personally, I would like to see Badminton, Handball(!), and Table Tennis given the boot. IMO, the Olympic handball, or even the badminton, was a lot more exciting than the baseball.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 01:28 PM on July 08

And it's a more geographically diverse group in general than baseball's international all-star crop, which has no Europeans (never has, to the best of my knowledge). bert blyleven was born in holland. and bobby thomson was born in scotland. do they count?

posted by goddam at 02:03 PM on July 08

mike carminati has very cool breakdown of the influx of latin and pacific rim players over the years (listed by decade).

posted by goddam at 02:37 PM on July 08

The NHL (remember that?) and the world hockey championships (either Olympic, World Cup or regular) are probably the best mix of international players among the North American sports (next to soccer). Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic, Russia, USA, Canada can all field international teams that could win the top prize. Germany, Slovakia, Switzerland and some former-Soviet nations can also field competitive teams. In the last NHL draft (2004), 13 of the 30 1st round draftees were from Europe.

posted by grum@work at 02:49 PM on July 08

Its a shame to see baseball go....

posted by gregy606 at 03:06 PM on July 08

tieguy, you're of course right that the NBA pays players from more parts of the world than MLB. Just saying, in the technical sense, baseball has plenty of international superstars. Nerd site: Major leaguers by place of birth & death

posted by cl at 03:09 PM on July 08

The Olympics are more or less to recognize and pit together those athletes who really don't have a professional circuit, or those in one that does not get much recognition. If you win big in baseball, you join the MLB and go to the World Series. There is no World Series in swimming or table tennis.

posted by AJ_in_BN at 07:30 PM on July 08

Golf would be a good replacement because there are so many people around the world playing it. Tiger, Ernie Els, and Vijay are all from different countries. Could be pretty interesting. You could throw in chess only for the same reasoning. The problem with that is, chess isn't easy to watch. Hell, Poker is big now. Try that. ESPN could show reruns for the next year.

posted by dbt302 at 07:38 PM on July 08

Were any of these so called IOC members ever athletes themselves? It sure as hell dont seem like it, and if they were what are they thinking?

posted by Rage Rod 74 at 09:56 PM on July 08

Its probaly about money, just like everything else in life.

posted by Rage Rod 74 at 09:56 PM on July 08

Rage Rod, given how easy it is to look that crap up your wild ass assertion is pretty foolish. Most IOC members are former Olympic athletes or coaches though since they're generally 20-30 years past playing days (or more) none are former baseball or softball stars. One reason for cutting Basball, possibly, is the new World Cup tournament that's coming every four years starting next year. The IOC might be thinking of that takes off, they'll go to a soccer-style age limit when bringing it back.

posted by billsaysthis at 01:41 AM on July 09

Yeah, let's lobby to get badminton and table tennis thrown out of the Olymics - it's not like they're the most popular sports in two of the most populous nations on earth or anything. Oh wait...

posted by JJ at 08:43 AM on July 09

Given the fact that I like soccer better than baseball does not bother me. What does bother me Bill say this, is that your a total JACKASS!!!Did you hear me say that. I can care less whether the IOC are players from the past are not, my point is thats its about money, and other events bring in more of it. Like the world cup which I enjoy, better than others.

posted by Rage Rod 74 at 12:45 PM on July 09

Hey little bill, lets see how those ny giants do this year, I bet you wont be talkin trash then!!!

posted by Rage Rod 74 at 12:47 PM on July 09

What do the NY Giants have to do with baseball and softball in the Olympics? If a team I root for is good in any particular year or not, so what? Neither changes the fact that you're too childish and lazy to look up information instead of swinging wildly--really I am so hurt by that name you called me I've been sitting in the corner sucking my thumb for the last two hours. Oh, no, wait, I wasn't doing that, I was enjoying my Saturday.

posted by billsaysthis at 04:52 PM on July 09

What do the NY Giants have to do with baseball and softball in the Olympics? All are excellent subjects for Tourette's haiku. With full credit to yerfatma...

posted by lil_brown_bat at 05:36 PM on July 09

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