Friday, February 27, 2009

A pitch of one's own...

It's OK to revel in the news that the fastpitch lobby have told baseball, thanks, but we don't need your help to get back into the Olympics.
"Softball chose to go its own way for the Olympics, rejecting a proposal from baseball for a joint bid to get reinstated for the 2016 Summer Games.

" ... 'We're an independent sport, and we want to continue that way.' "
Who knows (or cares, really) whether it helps their chances, it's just fun to see such a rebuke given to a sport which, just look at the schmozzle the World Baseball Classic has become, doesn't get it with respect to international competition and the Olympic movement.

Fastpitch also ended up being voted out of the 2012 Olympics for reasons not of its own making, save for the perception that the Americans were just too dominant and were none too apologetic about their dominance. Growing anti-American sentiment, the Steroid Era in the major leagues and the indifference to the ball-and-bat games killed it when it was voted out in 2005. That was unfair to the players on Canada's national team, especially someone such as pitcher-outfielder Robin Mackin, who will be 25, right in the middle of her prime, three years from now.

No doubt this post will meet with some indifference, since it's a non-Olympic year and it's a sport that's not in season. Fastpitch should be in the Olympics; that's just a personal opinion. It is noteworthy that the wire story mentions that their proposal to the IOC, which will decide in October which two sports to add for 2016, includes an option to include men's fastpitch.

Canada has won gold medals in the Pan Ams in the sport, and as someone from a softball hotbed like Napanee, there is obvious vested interest in seeing this happen. The men's game has largely died out in many parts of Canada, for a number of reasons. There are still very good Canadian players, only they drive to places such as Fargo, N.D., and Frankenmuth, Michigan, to play on the weekends instead of doing it in their own communities. Maybe inclusion in the Olympics would be a necessary spark.

Softball says no to joint 2016 bid with baseball (The Associated Press)


Anonymous said...

Baseball is a sport played very well in much of world. I'd say it was the Europeans who torpedoed it, Asia is a hotbed. Women's fastpitch is played well in many places as well, it belongs. Men's fastpitch? A fringe sport, like curling. Of course skiercross is an "Olympic" sport too, and if the women are in, then why not? May need to go to an under-20 format for baseball, isn't that what soccer does?

sager said...

The problem with baseball is MLB doesn't want to work with the IOC. It's too insular and and the people who run MLB are still stuck in some Bush-Cheney time warp.

Softball could improve its chances if it's not a single-gender team sport. You're right though, men's softball is fringe, but there is a lot in the Olympics which is fringe.

Duane Rollins said...

Soccer is u-23. And the IOC will NEVER allow another sport to go that route. Soccer only gets awy with it because its soccer.

sager said...

Ron at Baseball Over Here did a post on all the sports angling for 2016. Karate, sevens rugby and squash each have good cases in terms of their sports' participation.

Jonathan Ferreira of Ottawa, who's a world junior champion, would be in his prime in 2016.