Baseball, Softball Promoting Non-MLB Aspects In Bid For Olympic Inclusion
Without a commitment from MLBers to participate in the Olympic Games, supporters of a joint bid for baseball and softball "are selling other aspects of their sports as they prepare for" the IOC vote in September, according to Hamilton & Miller of USA TODAY. USA Baseball CEO Paul Seiler said, "If the only option from the IOC's perspective is that we need a Dream Team, then that's a challenge." Since the IOC "caps the number of athletes in the village at 10,500, bid organizers forged a plan to keep the impact the same while bringing in another gender." The eight teams would "be split into two four-team divisions that would play each other once." Winners "advance to the semifinals and finals." If there is "no off-day, the schedule could be reduced to six days." Seiler said that baseball would "compete first since the teams would require a grass infield at the shared diamond." Once baseball finished, the "grass could be removed, bases moved in and softball could begin." The baseball team, in "theory, could hand over its keys to rooms in the Olympic Village as softball arrived, meaning the teams wouldn't overlap -- keeping credential numbers and lodging requirements the same." Seiler added that the "discussion often is framed from a U.S. perspective -- and the IOC often considers things more globally." He said, "This isn't all about the U.S. We didn't even qualify in 2004. What about Cuba? What about Japan? What about Korea? What about the Netherlands? It's not all focused on the United States -- it's the growth internationally" (USATODAY.com, 6/7).