Dear talking head, celebrity sports gossip, TMZ/MTV-like sports people at ESPN,
I have a suggestion to make: Please stop talking about Brett Farve during baseball season. It's starting to get on my, and everyone else's, nerves. I mean, who cares if Brett Farve is in cahoots with the Vikings?
Which comeback is this for Brett Farve anyway? 11th? 12th? I stopped caring (and counting) after comeback No. 3.
So, to combat this problem, I give you an Olympic sized issue to talk about to your heart's content.
Okay, for those of you who didn't know already, baseball was excluded from the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. It was excluded most likely due to a lack of MLB support, licensing, and promotion. I do not know EXACTLY if those were the reasons why baseball was excluded, I am just hypothesizing here.
Baseball has been a staple of the Summer Olympic lineup since 1992.
But, for whatever reason, baseball was excluded from 2012. There is some good news here to report: Baseball is up for reinstatement for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Chicago, Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo, or Madrid.
It will not be that easy, though. Baseball is competing with six other sports.
Here are some of the points that the IBAF (International Baseball Federation) made to the 15 member IOC (International Olympic Committee) board for reinstatement:
- Baseball will offer a five-day, eight-team tournament that will allow maximum participation of the top players from the countries that qualify for the Olympics. The qualifier for 2016 would be held during the 2015 offseason.
- All four potential host cities for 2016 already have established baseball venues and domestic baseball programs in place.
- The MLB offer not to broadcast any games in direct competition with the 2016 Olympic baseball schedule, or have any games on its schedule on the climactic day of Olympic medal play.
The participation of eligible "elite players" around the world; cited as examples were de Jong and Bryce Harper, the 16-year-old Las Vegas phenom recently featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
IOC President Jacques Rogge is quoted as saying, "To be on the Olympic program is an issue where you need universality as much as possible. You need to have a sport with a following, you need to have the best players and you need to be in strict compliance with WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency). And these are the qualifications that have to be met."
Let's see the checklist here:
Sport with a following? Baseball has it (has it big time): check.
Best players? If baseball gets into the 2016 Olympic Games: check.
Universality? At least 15 countries around the world play baseball: check.
Strict compliance with WADA? Just exclude Manny Ramirez, A-Rod, Pablo Ozuna, and Roger Clemens: check.
The key to baseball's reinstatement most likely lies with the ability to get the marquee players, like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, David Wright, Tim Lincecum, Johan Santana, Joe Mauer, Jose Reyes, Grady Sizemore, and Mariano Rivera.
The list of marquee players goes on and on—these players were just to name a few.
A key to the sport's reinstatement is participation of the best eligible players, a mission for which Fehr pledged the players union's full support.
"The MLBPA has and will continue to work ... to come up with the best scenario so that more top players will be able to participate, and fulfill the dream of representing their countries in the Olympic Games. We will make sure that happens, and the 2016 Olympics will have the best representation of players ever to participate in any Olympics.
"I am confident that MLB and the MLBPA ... will make available to the qualifying countries a to-be-determined number of top players, with the rest of the roster coming from the best athletes available from the professional ranks. The teams will have a sampling of the best individuals in the sport, and the best-ever representative national teams."
Bob DuPuy is quoted as saying, "Baseball will make a commitment over the next seven years to use all of our assets [toward that goal]. We will work with the IOC to find opportunities in sponsorship and licensing, where our year-round global reach and popularity and our growing cadre of international stars can assist in growing Olympic marketing opportunities."
Of course, the reinstatement process will not be that easy for baseball. Baseball is competing with softball, golf, karate, roller sports, rugby sevens, and squash.
The 15-member IOC board taking in the presentations is expected to decide on the two "winners" when it meets in mid-August. Its choices then will be voted upon in early October by the full IOC membership.
You can find the article used as background information from MLB.com.
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