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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Ross Newhan: What If They Put the Baseball Teams in Sequins?

Can anyone tell me what day the Olympic Boxing and/or Track and Field start?

So, another Olympics is almost over, and I have this to say:

      I don’t mind BMX and mountain bike racing. I especially like the crashes.

      I don’t even mind rhythmetic gymnastics. Who isn’t captivated by ribbons and sequins?

    But another Olympics without hardball and softball? C’mon.

    The IOC doesn’t like the fact that major league baseball is in season and can’t put a dream team on the field, a la the U.S. basketball team.

    Let me ask, however: How many of the names are recognizable in 90% of Olympic sports? It’s a joke. Baseball has become a global game (even Israel is preparing a team for major league baseball’s next world tournament), but the situation is unlikely to change before 2016, when the Olympics are in Rio de Janiero.

Repoz Posted: August 12, 2012 at 04:13 PM | 61 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: baseball

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   1. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: August 12, 2012 at 04:57 PM (#4206868)
Is that a real question? The only answer is: Baseball would be 10% more FAB-U-LOUS.

I think that Ninja show that's always on G4 should be an olympic sport I love that ####. Build me a Mt. Moriyama Rio!

Other sports I would much rather have than race walking, synchronized anything or rhythmic gymnastics:

snooker
rugby
baseball
australian rules football
sumo wrestling
chess
skate boarding
street luge
paint ball
that half soccer/half volley ball thing the Thais are awesome at
surfing
   2. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: August 12, 2012 at 05:03 PM (#4206871)
I don't know a damned thing about gunastics in any form but the Belarus teams performance in the ball part of rhythmic gymnastics was sensational.
   3. Tripon Posted: August 12, 2012 at 05:12 PM (#4206877)
I'm always a big went guy for the Olympics. If there is enough international support, why not have it?
   4. vortex of dissipation Posted: August 12, 2012 at 05:16 PM (#4206882)
Rugby is in for 2016.
   5. Bowling Baseball Fan Posted: August 12, 2012 at 05:18 PM (#4206883)
Bowling.
   6. Greg K Posted: August 12, 2012 at 05:29 PM (#4206890)
I'm always a big went guy for the Olympics. If there is enough international support, why not have it?

I liked Cheers as much as the next guy, but what has George Wendt done recently to deserve such support?

My attitude is similar to the Hall of Fame. I'm much more bothered by stuff that isn't in, than the stuff that is. If it's some kind of physical activity, and people compete in it, let 'em do it! I can always not watch it if it's stupid (unless Canada has a chance to win something in it...when it comes to the summer us hosers have to take what we can get). I suppose the drawbacks are the added organizational burden of having some of these events, plus if the medal count is something you worry about adding events that you feel aren't up to snuff may distort what you feel is a "legitimate" medal count. (Though once again, being Canadian medal count isn't something I pay attention to).

I'm behind Shooty's list, with some non-serious additions.
If chess, why not chess-boxing?

An olympic event I was thinking about this time around was "Event X" (for lack of a better name). On Day 1 or 2 of the games the athletes have bags thrown over their heads and are taken to various locations all an equal distance from the olympic city - say 100 miles. First one back to the Olympic stadium wins. No prior knowledge of where you're going or what supplies you'll be left with. Canny athletes will be able to uncover hidden pouches that have clues or hints - like...there's a car nearby you're allowed to use, but it's broken and you have to fix it. Or a bike, but it must be assembled. Sort of like that Japanese movie Battle Royale, except less dying.

I guess it would be a ##### to televise.
   7. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: August 12, 2012 at 05:30 PM (#4206892)
Bowling.

Bocce. Bocce is more interesting to watch, I think, as there is strategy involved. Plus it would open the door to really old Italian guys to be Olympians which is a massive plus.
   8. Greg K Posted: August 12, 2012 at 05:36 PM (#4206897)
Bocce. Bocce is more interesting to watch, I think, as there is strategy involved. Plus it would open the door to really old Italian guys to be Olympians which is a massive plus.

If Olympic Bocce were to be played on a certain grassy terraced villa just outside Cotignac in Provence I think I might have a shot at it. I perfected the "howitzer" strategy there which consists of throwing the ball super high in the air with a ton of backspin so it just plops where it lands and doesn't roll at all. If you can nail a perfect shot and land on top of the little white ball and sink your own far enough in the ground that it becomes unmovable...well, you're sitting pretty. Not to mention you'll be very popular with the people you're playing with as it effectively ruins that round of play for everyone.

EDIT: It is funny how Bocce is somehow a million times more fun than lawn bowling, even though lawn bowling has the added wrinkle of having balls that curve. It should be as thrilling as curling...but somehow it isn't.
   9. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 12, 2012 at 05:40 PM (#4206898)
If the Olympics is not the biggest event for a sport, it should not be in the Olympics. Soccer and basketball should be out, as should baseball. But why is softball out? What is the softball dream team?
   10. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: August 12, 2012 at 05:42 PM (#4206899)
I think the Olympics may be becoming the biggest event for basketball if it isn't already.
   11. McCoy Posted: August 12, 2012 at 05:43 PM (#4206901)
But why is softball out? What is the softball dream team?


9 actually hot looking lesbians?
   12. Greg K Posted: August 12, 2012 at 05:50 PM (#4206903)
If the Olympics is not the biggest event for a sport, it should not be in the Olympics. Soccer and basketball should be out, as should baseball. But why is softball out? What is the softball dream team?

Hockey is an odd one here. Obviously the Stanley Cup is the thing for hockey players. But as the NHL mulls over whether to do hockey again at the next Olympics I think you'll see a lot of Russian players making it quite clear that they care about the Olympic tournament too.

I don't think sports have to be reduced to just one competition that matters. This is where I hope the WBC will be successful - in having a competition that means something less than the World Series, but still means an awful lot. (and I think in large part it has been successful at this, outside of the US).
   13. rfloh Posted: August 12, 2012 at 06:10 PM (#4206912)
" The IOC doesn’t like the fact that major league baseball is in season and can’t put a dream team on the field, a la the U.S. basketball team."

I'm sorry, but you can't handwave this away. It isn't just that the US cannot put a dream team on the field. It is all the players from other countries cannot go too.

"Let me ask, however: How many of the names are recognizable in 90% of Olympic sports? It’s a joke"

This is a ridiculous argument: it is basically the only the most popular sports should be in the Olympics argument. What is a joke, is the suggestion that you would have an Olympic baseball tournament, with say, amateurs/ minor leaguers, while MLB is going on at the same time. WTF would anyone want to even bother watching?

"Baseball has become a global game (even Israel is preparing a team for major league baseball’s next world tournament), but the situation is unlikely to change before 2016, when the Olympics are in Rio de Janiero."

No, it isn't. There are basically 2 truly global team sports: soccer, and basketball. Everything else isn't truly global.
   14. phredbird Posted: August 12, 2012 at 06:11 PM (#4206915)
think the Olympics may be becoming the biggest event for basketball if it isn't already.


i thought that was going to change. isn't stern trying to set up a quadrennial world cup of basketball and trying to relegate the olympics to junior teams?
   15. clowns to the left of me; STEAGLES to the right Posted: August 12, 2012 at 06:13 PM (#4206916)
Other sports I would much rather have than race walking
have you actually watched race walking? i know the premise of it is ridiculous, but it is an amazing event. the technical aspect of it is fairly interesting, just because of their curiosity. as far as i can tell, there are two rules regarding form, 1, one foot must always be in contact with the ground, and 2, the front knee must always be straight. the effect of these rules mean that A, the movement that is created by these rules is almost hypnotic. the arm swings are well exaggerated, and the hips just gyrate to the point where, i've gotta think there are a ton of dislocations. and B) the pace of the race is almost in slow motion, so you can really see the pain in the athletes faces as they race progresses.


and then you get to the danger of it. i don't know whether the people were out of shape or old or if it was just a really hot day, but these people were dropping like flies. heart attacks, dehydration, heat exhaustion, heavy cramping.


it was a hell of a watch.



also, i think there were a few issues with baseball. 1 was that MLB wasn't sending professional players like the NBA and the NHL. also, 2, the men's sport required separate facilities from the women's sport. 3, both tournaments were 2 weeks long, so that was a greater tax on logistics than a one day event like racewalking or a 2 session event like synchronized swimming or rhythmic gymnastics.
   16. phredbird Posted: August 12, 2012 at 06:13 PM (#4206917)
But why is softball out? What is the softball dream team?


9 actually hot looking lesbians?


i don't know if they are gay, but i've never seen a competitive women's softball team that didn't have at least one really zaftig blonde who was also somehow kinda hot.
   17. rfloh Posted: August 12, 2012 at 06:18 PM (#4206918)
" Tripon Posted: August 12, 2012 at 05:12 PM (#4206877)
I'm always a big went guy for the Olympics. If there is enough international support, why not have it?
"

I'm big tent too, but the issue is that there isn't enough international support. There are lots of sports that want in. At the same time, the IOC desperately wants to sports, such as soccer, tennis, golf, that are lucrative, in, even though those sports are not all that enthusiastic about being in (soccer for example). As it is, hosting the thing costs a LOT. Let in every sport, and no country, not even big rich countries would be able to afford it. This is especially any sport that would require specialised facilities, ie baseball. Rhythmic gymnastics does not require any additional facilities. It isn't "competing" with baseball for a place. It is more "competing" with some other gymnastics apparatus, more places for other gymnasts. Same thing with synchronised swimming / diving.
   18. Tripon Posted: August 12, 2012 at 06:20 PM (#4206919)
Cricket is a global sport, so is judo, wrestling, mma, etc. If its practiced and competed on all six continents, its a global sport.
   19. Tripon Posted: August 12, 2012 at 06:21 PM (#4206920)
Cricket is a global sport, so is judo, wrestling, mma, etc. If its practiced and competed on all six continents, its a global sport.
   20. rfloh Posted: August 12, 2012 at 06:22 PM (#4206922)
"have you actually watched race walking? i know the premise of it is ridiculous, but it is an amazing event. the technical aspect of it is fairly interesting, just because of their curiosity. as far as i can tell, there are two rules regarding form, 1, one foot must always be in contact with the ground, and 2, the front knee must always be straight. the effect of these rules mean that A, the movement that is created by these rules is almost hypnotic. the arm swings are well exaggerated, and the hips just gyrate to the point where, i've gotta think there are a ton of dislocations. and B) the pace of the race is almost in slow motion, so you can really see the pain in the athletes faces as they race progresses. "

I don't get why people find race walking ridiculous, yet have no problems with the different swimming events, or the different gymnastic apparatus. Do people watch the butterfly, and think how ridiculous that stroke is, and what it resembles?

And it is an amazing event.
   21. rfloh Posted: August 12, 2012 at 06:25 PM (#4206924)
". Tripon Posted: August 12, 2012 at 06:21 PM (#4206920)
Cricket is a global sport, so is judo, wrestling, mma, etc. If its practiced and competed on all six continents, its a global sport.
"

Most sports are "practiced and competed" on 6 continents. By that argument most sports would be "global" sports, and the term would be meaningless.

Cricket is the most popular sport in the Indian subcontinent, that is its claim to being "global", ie it is popular in several countries with (very) large populations. Outside of that, even in the other test cricket playing countries, it is a minority sport. Outside of the the test playing countries, it is almost non-existent. If cricket is a global sport, so is badminton.
   22. Tripon Posted: August 12, 2012 at 06:27 PM (#4206925)
Rfloh, it still doesn't excuse not having NY and every indoor viable martial art, like karate, or wushu. As for specialized sports like baseball, the IOC already requires to all hosts to build suitable soccer, track and field, and Olympic pools. They would require it even if there is already a suitable facility in the area.
   23. Bowling Baseball Fan Posted: August 12, 2012 at 06:27 PM (#4206927)
I'm obviously wrong, but I was under the impression that the UK and India were about the only real cricket powerhouses in the world. So much so, that I thought nobody else really dove into it feet first anywhere close to them.

Coke to rfloh.
   24. Greg K Posted: August 12, 2012 at 06:38 PM (#4206933)
I'm obviously wrong, but I was under the impression that the UK and India were about the only real cricket powerhouses in the world. So much so, that I thought nobody else really dove into it feet first anywhere close to them.

I don't follow cricket super closely, but Pakistan, West Indies, Sri Lanka and Australia have also won World Cups (in fact Australia has the most World Cups all-time). If I recall it's only been recently that England has been able to wrest the Ashes away from the Australians.

I think for a sport to be global the top echelon of players have to come from a few different places. Cricket fails to meet this criteria. Soccer I imagine does quite well. Baseball draws from a handful of nations roughly as large as cricket. Hockey doesn't score very well on geographic diversity...but I think it should get bonus points for having 4 or 5 nations that have reasonable shots at winning when they get together. The competitive balance at the top isn't bad.
   25. bobm Posted: August 12, 2012 at 06:44 PM (#4206934)
  The IOC doesn’t like the fact that major league baseball is in season and can’t put a dream team on the field, a la the U.S. basketball team.


So they can play baseball in a domed stadium during the Winter Olympics instead. Problem solved. :)
   26. rfloh Posted: August 12, 2012 at 06:46 PM (#4206935)
"Tripon Posted: August 12, 2012 at 06:27 PM (#4206925)
Rfloh, it still doesn't excuse not having NY and every indoor viable martial art, like karate, or wushu. "

I don't get what you're tying to say here. What is NY?

"As for specialized sports like baseball, the IOC already requires to all hosts to build suitable soccer, track and field, and Olympic pools. They would require it even if there is already a suitable facility in the area."

Uhh, yes. Track and field, swimming, those are signature Olympic sports. Similarly gymnastics. Rhythmic gymnastics then doesn't require anything extra to be in, it just piggybacking on gymnastics. Same thing with synchronised swimming.

Whereas baseball would require specialised facilities, that cannot really be used for anything else, and despite the article's claim it isn't a global sport. A baseball stadium in London, or Beijing, or Rio de Janeiro isn't going to be used after the games are over.
   27. AndrewJ Posted: August 12, 2012 at 06:46 PM (#4206936)
Here's what an old college friend of mine suggests to makes the Games better.
   28. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: August 12, 2012 at 06:49 PM (#4206937)
I'm obviously wrong, but I was under the impression that the UK and India were about the only real cricket powerhouses in the world. So much so, that I thought nobody else really dove into it feet first anywhere close to them.

As much as I, and all other Indians, wish this were the case, it just isn't. The top tier teams are England, Australia, South Africa, the West Indies, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and New Zealand, with second tier countries like Zimbabwe, Kenya, Bangladesh, and the Netherlands.
At the same time, the IOC desperately wants to sports, such as soccer, tennis, golf, that are lucrative, in, even though those sports are not all that enthusiastic about being in (soccer for example).

Soccer and basketball should be out, as should baseball.

It's important to differentiate men's and women's soccer in this discussion. Men's soccer is a U23 tournament (plus a few overage players) with little prestige and interest and few recognizable players. Women's soccer is a tournament with prestige comparable to the World Cup; that and this are the only major women's soccer tournaments around (regional tournament and the Algarve Cup are thoroughly second-tier). That is, women's soccer has a similar relationship to the Olympics that many other non-soccer sports do.
   29. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: August 12, 2012 at 06:51 PM (#4206938)
I don't get why people find race walking ridiculous, yet have no problems with the different swimming events, or the different gymnastic apparatus. Do people watch the butterfly, and think how ridiculous that stroke is, and what it resembles?


I don't know how to say it delicately, race walkers look absolutely ridiculous.

Having said that i watched for a bit yesterday and found myself intrigued. I noted at the time that the mental strength to maintain the proper technique had to be very high considering the fatigue. I'm a decent swimmer and can comfortably replicate most strokes but I don't think I could race walk for more than thirty seconds without fouling up.
   30. rfloh Posted: August 12, 2012 at 06:58 PM (#4206940)
"I'm obviously wrong, but I was under the impression that the UK and India were about the only real cricket powerhouses in the world. So much so, that I thought nobody else really dove into it feet first anywhere close to them."

There are 10 test playing nations: England (or more precisely England & Wales), Aussie, NZ, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa, West Indies (obviously the Windies are not actually a country), Bangladesh, Zimbabwe.

Of these, S Africa, England, Pakistan, Aussie, India, S Lanka, are generally about the same level, in terms of performance. Right now, England is no 1, though they are on the verge of losing their place at the top to the Saffers. There is then a gap, then Windies and NZ. Then another gap, Bangladesh. Then another gap, Zimbabwe.

So, even within the 10 test playing nations there is a pretty big gap in ability between the top 5 or so countries, and say, the bottom 2, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. And there are only 10 test playing nations.

And even within those 10 test playing nations, cricket is only really popular in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh. In SAF, rubgy and footie are more popular, in England, footie obviously, in NZ, rugby obviously, in Aussie, Aussie Rules, rugby (league). And in the Windies, due to various reasons (there are disagreements what those reasons are), cricket appears to be struggling a bit.

If cricket is a global sport so is badminton (very popular in China, Indonesia, 2 very populous countries, also very popular in Malaysia, and also somewhat popular in S Korea and several other (south) East Asian countries).

   31. clowns to the left of me; STEAGLES to the right Posted: August 12, 2012 at 07:02 PM (#4206941)
I think for a sport to be global the top echelon of players have to come from a few different places. Cricket fails to meet this criteria. Soccer I imagine does quite well. Baseball draws from a handful of nations roughly as large as cricket. Hockey doesn't score very well on geographic diversity...but I think it should get bonus points for having 4 or 5 nations that have reasonable shots at winning when they get together. The competitive balance at the top isn't bad.
i think it's also important for a sport to have prominent professional leagues on multiple continents.

with baseball, there's really only 4 countries that have high-level professional leagues--thecuba, america, japan, and south korea. there are a lot of baseball players who come out of the carribean, but of them, only cuba has its own professional league. any star quality dominicans or venezuelans or mexicans or puerto ricans and curacaoans(???) play in america. that kind of hurts the ability for baseball to claim its a global sport.

with basketball, there's the NBA, but there's also the CBA, the ACB, the adriatic league, the russian super league, all of which play at a level above any baseball league outside of MLB.

with hockey, there's the AHL, the CHL, the KHL, he SEL, the sm-liiga, who, again, all play their sport at a level above any foreign baseball league.


so, it's kind of an uphill battle, and considering the lack of interest MLB has in sending major leaguers, i don't really see why anyone would get all worked up about its exlusion.
   32. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: August 12, 2012 at 07:03 PM (#4206942)
If cricket is a global sport so is badminton (very popular in China, Indonesia, 2 very populous countries, also very popular in Malaysia, and also somewhat popular in S Korea and several other (south) East Asian countries).


And badminton's in the Olympics!
   33. Tripon Posted: August 12, 2012 at 07:04 PM (#4206943)
NY is autocorrect on my Google nexus tablet acting whacky. Meant to say that the Olympics Should have all kinds of sports, including baseball. Really, you couldn't convert a soccer stadium inrio for a couple of weeks? Just drawing a couple of lines in the stand and start playing.
   34. rfloh Posted: August 12, 2012 at 07:15 PM (#4206945)
". Tripon Posted: August 12, 2012 at 07:04 PM (#4206943)
NY is autocorrect on my Google nexus tablet acting whacky. Meant to say that the Olympics Should have all kinds of sports, including baseball. Really, you couldn't convert a soccer stadium inrio for a couple of weeks? Just drawing a couple of lines in the stand and start playing.
"

How easy is it to convert a soccer field into a baseball infield?

"NY is autocorrect on my Google nexus tablet acting whacky"

OK, I get what you're saying. Yeah, all the other martial arts wouldn't require additional facilities, but they require athlete places. At some point, they have to draw the line somewhere: as it is, the number of athlete places allocated to less popular sports is limited.
   35. Bob Tufts Posted: August 12, 2012 at 07:33 PM (#4206947)
Poker as an Olympic sport?
   36. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: August 12, 2012 at 07:42 PM (#4206949)
It diminishes the Olympics to not include baseball.

That said, it also diminishes baseball to use those jackass international rules, with the DH and automatic baserunners in extra innings. So unless they're going to play real baseball, I'm fine with not having any at all.
   37. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: August 12, 2012 at 07:55 PM (#4206950)
What is a joke, is the suggestion that you would have an Olympic baseball tournament, with say, amateurs/ minor leaguers, while MLB is going on at the same time. WTF would anyone want to even bother watching?


The truly fascinating thing is that this "joke" was actually the Olympic ideal until about 20 years ago. And people watched. Enthusiastically.
   38. SteveF Posted: August 12, 2012 at 07:55 PM (#4206951)
Cricket was an Olympic event in 1900, though not even the participants knew it at the time. They were retroactively awarded medals in 1912.
   39. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: August 12, 2012 at 07:56 PM (#4206952)
I didn't know baseball was in the first few Olympics I watched. I think it was about as heavily covered here as the aforementioned badminton.
   40. jwb Posted: August 12, 2012 at 07:58 PM (#4206953)
A baseball stadium in London, or Beijing, or Rio de Janeiro isn't going to be used after the games are over.


Beijing. Makes the remains of Tiger Stadium look downright inviting.
   41. rfloh Posted: August 12, 2012 at 08:06 PM (#4206956)
"The truly fascinating thing is that this "joke" was actually the Olympic ideal until about 20 years ago. And people watched. Enthusiastically."

They didn't watch baseball. Not even unenthusiastically. Which is why it got dropped.

And this was NOT the "ideal", as most of the Olympic sports did send their top athletes.
   42. They paved Misirlou, put up a parking lot Posted: August 12, 2012 at 08:35 PM (#4206964)
Other sports I would much rather have than race walking, synchronized anything or rhythmic gymnastics:

snooker
rugby
baseball
australian rules football
sumo wrestling
chess
skate boarding
street luge
paint ball
that half soccer/half volley ball thing the Thais are awesome at
surfing


Hide and seek.
   43. They paved Misirlou, put up a parking lot Posted: August 12, 2012 at 08:41 PM (#4206965)
As for specialized sports like baseball, the IOC already requires to all hosts to build suitable soccer, track and field, and Olympic pools. They would require it even if there is already a suitable facility in the area.


I'm pretty sure London/UK didn't have to build another soccer stadium. They may have given Wembly a facelift, but they didn't build anything new
   44. Rennie's Tenet Posted: August 12, 2012 at 09:00 PM (#4206970)
Other sports I would much rather have than race walking


Cannonballs, measured by form and gross displacement of water.

   45. Tripon Posted: August 12, 2012 at 09:17 PM (#4206975)
Maybe its time to have entire countries make a bid instead of cities.
   46. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: August 12, 2012 at 09:25 PM (#4206977)
What's the event I was watching a few days ago where dance teams performed elaborate routines that involved the closely synchronized tossing and catching of red balls? I was prepared to hate it but it was actually pretty impressive.
   47. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: August 12, 2012 at 09:41 PM (#4206985)
I figure the Olympics(TM) are the best stage for those sports that DON'T have a strong established presence or are not readily available to the casual fan. So in my book that leaves out baseball, basketball, soccer and any other large organized team sports. How do the Olympics benefit from them being included?

On that note, I think there should be an Olympic event showing the negotiations between the I.O.C. and Major League Baseball. They could probably sell tickets to that.
   48. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: August 12, 2012 at 09:43 PM (#4206986)
What's the event I was watching a few days ago where dance teams performed elaborate routines that involved the closely synchronized tossing and catching of red balls?

Rythmic gymnastics. I watched in disbelief for about 10 seconds, then got all kinds of stinky thoughts at their extreme flexibility, then turned it off. Next they'll have tiddlywinks competitions in the Olympics, fer crissakes.
   49. Tripon Posted: August 12, 2012 at 10:21 PM (#4206999)
So in my book that leaves out baseball, basketball, soccer and any other large organized team sports. How do the Olympics benefit from them being included?


They can make a ton of money off of it by selling the rights. NBC would raise a stink if it didn't have basketball in a given olympics to sell to advertisers.
   50. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: August 12, 2012 at 10:31 PM (#4207002)
Rhythmic gymnastics have been in the Olympics since 1984. Are you guys really just noticing them now?
   51. Random Transaction Generator Posted: August 12, 2012 at 10:31 PM (#4207003)
I'm pretty sure London/UK didn't have to build another soccer stadium. They may have given Wembly a facelift, but they didn't build anything new

London used previously existing stadiums (like Old Trafford in Manchester).
The same thing happened in Los Angeles (1984) and Atlanta (1996). No new stadiums were created to host the soccer matches.

Hockey doesn't score very well on geographic diversity...but I think it should get bonus points for having 4 or 5 nations that have reasonable shots at winning when they get together.

Canada, USA, Russia, Czech Republic, Sweden, and Finland have all made it to the gold medal game in the last 5 Olympics.
Throw in competitive teams from Slovakia, Germany, and Switzerland (all who have beaten the big boys at least once), and it's probably the most balanced team sport in all of the Olympics. All of them also have players in the top league (NHL).

Side note: I will be furious if the NHL doesn't let their players participate in the 2014 Olympics (in Russia). The USA and Canada got a chance to see their best players go for gold in front of the home crowd. They should let Russia have the same excitement.
(2018 in South Korea? There is a 0% chance that Richard Park is going to be participating, so they can stop then if they want to.)

   52. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: August 12, 2012 at 10:52 PM (#4207011)
They didn't watch baseball. Not even unenthusiastically. Which is why it got dropped.


Baseball wasn't an Olympic sport during the era I referred to, so how could anyone have watched?

And this was NOT the "ideal", as most of the Olympic sports did send their top athletes.


Overtly professional athletes were specifically excluded. Notably US basketball players in the summer and Canadian hockey players in the winter.

I'm pretty sure London/UK didn't have to build another soccer stadium.


They certainly didn't build a new tennis venue -- just found some old local grass court club and hung up a bunch of purple tarps with Olympic rings and "London 2012" on them.
   53. They paved Misirlou, put up a parking lot Posted: August 12, 2012 at 11:14 PM (#4207021)
Overtly professional athletes were specifically excluded. Notably US basketball players in the summer and Canadian hockey players in the winter.


Unlike the covertly professional Eastern Europeans.

The 1992 Dream Team can thank them for their participation. The US lost the BBall finals to the Soviets in the controversial 1972 Gold Medal game, and didn't get a re-match until 16 years later, where our college boys lost to their pros again in Seoul in 1988. Well, that wasn't going to stand, but unfortunately, by 1992 the Soviet Union no longer existed.
   54. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: August 12, 2012 at 11:49 PM (#4207031)
with baseball, there's really only 4 countries that have high-level professional leagues--thecuba, america, japan, and south korea. there are a lot of baseball players who come out of the carribean, but of them, only cuba has its own professional league.


Mexico? Venezuela too, although I don't think the general level is as high.

There are (semi-)professional leagues across Europe, and the sport is definitely growing there. The continent has finally produced its own home-grown major leaguer (Alex Liddi) and has a couple of others knocking on the door (Donald Lutz). The situation probably isn't much different than it was for basketball twenty or thirty years ago.

   55. Cooper Nielson Posted: August 13, 2012 at 12:20 AM (#4207040)
I ridiculed synchronized swimming and rhythmic gymnastics when they were first introduced to the Olympics, as any tween/teenage boy would have done, but I have to admit that I really enjoy watching both of them now.

Part of it is that I have less concern about preserving my macho standing around my friends, part of it is that I think both of these disciplines have improved dramatically in the past 20 years. The choreography and athletic ability are much improved and they do some seriously impressive things. (Oh, and the rhythmic gymnasts tend to be some of the most beautiful girls int he Olympics.)

I still wouldn't consider them "sports," but that's an entirely different debate.
   56. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: August 13, 2012 at 12:42 AM (#4207043)
i don't know if they are gay, but i've never seen a competitive women's softball team that didn't have at least one really zaftig blonde who was also somehow kinda hot.

This is a True Fact. Ballin' is hottin'.
   57. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 13, 2012 at 10:23 AM (#4207142)
I like the goofy (no offense intended) sports in the Olympics. I think they should add more (I can see the cost aspect, but not all new sports require huge stadiums and such). Basketball in the Olympics does not interest me though and neither does baseball - we have whole leagues devoted to that.
   58. zack Posted: August 13, 2012 at 10:45 AM (#4207170)
Well the stated reason for excluding baseball was that there were not men's and women's teams for the sport (and vice versa for softball). Which is why USA Baseball and USA Softball were trying to form a single organization, but they couldn't get out of their own way to do it. Too bad men's softball is so ####### boring because softball alone would make a good olympic sport.

with hockey, there's the AHL, the CHL, the KHL, he SEL, the sm-liiga, who, again, all play their sport at a level above any foreign baseball league.


I agree with you in general, I wrote a post in the olympics thread about why hockey is the greatest big-time team sport in the olympics. But you cannot seriously claim that the level of play in the AHL or the CHL is above that in NPB (relative to the NHL and MLB respectively).

So they can play baseball in a domed stadium during the Winter Olympics instead. Problem solved. :)


Hey, worked for hockey!
   59. DL from MN Posted: August 13, 2012 at 11:03 AM (#4207184)
I think it's fantastic that they're adding rugby, it should do very well on television. The US might do better than expected. I also think adding golf is a terrific move. There is really no reason NOT to have golf. Nearly every major city has a PGA caliber golf course and there is no reason they can't rejigger the tour schedule to fit in an Olympic competition.
   60. just plain joe Posted: August 13, 2012 at 11:10 AM (#4207189)
It is nowhere near being a global sport, but I would like to see hurling in the Olympics. The game is fast paced and, IMHO, makes field hockey look like a child's game.
   61. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 13, 2012 at 11:25 AM (#4207199)

I didn't know baseball was in the first few Olympics I watched. I think it was about as heavily covered here as the aforementioned badminton.


I remember in 1988 being super excited about watching Olympic baseball (still only an exhibition sport at the time), but to do so I had to tape it at 3 a.m., and when I woke up in the morning to watch the tape, I was super pissed they had shortened the game to one hour, and cut lots of the game out.

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