World Cup of Softball 2012: USA's Dominance Proves Sport Not Ready for Olympics

Brian LeighFeatured ColumnistJuly 3, 2012

BEIJING - AUGUST 20:  Caitlin Lowe of the United States is greeted by her teammates at home plate as she scored on a 3-run home run by Crystl Bustos in the top of the ninth inning to give USA a 4-0 lead against Japan in the women's semifinal softball event at the Fengtai Softball Field during Day 12 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 20, 2008 in Beijing, China.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images

The American women moon-walked their way to a World Cup of Softball Championship on Monday, proving that softball has no place in the Olympics.

Softball was part of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but was removed (along with baseball) from the 2012 and 2016 games. In spite of that, efforts are being made to reintegrate the sport for the subsequent Olympics in 2020.

But why? What's the point of integrating a sport with no competitive balance? Are we that megalomaniacal that we need to watch America drill the pride out of other nations?

In stark contrast with baseball, softball has very little international parity. The USA went 6-0 with 34 runs scored and just two allowed en route to capturing the 2012 World Cup––they're sixth-consecutive time capturing the title.

Olympic competition hasn't been much different. The USA won the first three gold medals, before a shocking turn of events saw Japan upend them for the gold in 2008.

"Well, Brian," you might ask "doesn't that prove that parity does exist in international softball?" I would argue no. Until that loss against Japan, the USA had been dominant, outscoring opponents 52-1 in the group round. Add that to their 41-0 differential in 2004, and you get a 93-1 run differential over 14 games.

Everybody likes seeing a team overcome one-in-a-million odds, but the chances of that happening again are just that: one-in-a-million. With Japan's upset, softball filled its anomalous-result quota for the next century; there's essentially no chance that the Americans would relinquish the gold ever again.


This all proves that softball is a sport that exists almost exclusively in the United States, at least at a competitive level. That, by definition, makes it unsuitable for top-level international competition.

Think about it this way: Should American Football be included in the Summer Olympics? Think about what that would look like. Seriously, think about it.

Other countries don't play the game that we play religiously. Most of them have never even heard of it, and those who have make fun of our fascination with it.

As a result, there are high school teams in Alabama that could mercy rule every other country's all-stars by half time––maybe even the by the end of the first quarter.

Watching America run rampart over under-qualified nations would be fun for all of two possessions, at which point the novelty would wear off indelibly.

And after watching the American women do just that this weekend in the World Cup, that's exactly what has happened with softball.