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cx888 Feb 12
RIO DE JANEIRO -- The best baseball news this past week -- outside of the Yankees basically abandoning their postseason chances, of course -- was Wednesdays long expected announcement that the sport will return to the Olympics in 2020. Mike Remmers Jersey .There will be only six teams in those Olympics, which isnt great, but at least they will be played in Tokyo, which is very good. Japan is passionate about baseball, making those Olympics a much better location for the sports return than when the IOC decided to bring back golf beginning with the Games in Rio, where the sport is not widely played and an expensive new course had to be built, adding to financial woes.Which brings up an important issue. While baseball is returning for the 2020 Olympics, there is no guarantee it will continue in the 2024 Games because the host city could replace it with another sport. If the 2024 Olympics are awarded to Los Angeles, its a good bet baseball will be there. But if one of the other three candidates -- Paris, Rome and Budapest -- get the Games, then it becomes less likely.One reason is the cost of constructing baseball and softball stadiums in cities where the sports are not played very much. That is one of the reasons the IOC dropped the two sports after the 2008 Olympics. Many host cities simply would never use those ballparks again, though the 1992 Olympic baseball stadium was still being used in Barcelona when I visited there a couple of years ago.Another reason is that the IOC wants baseball to send its very best major leaguers, as do most other sports, such as basketball. That, however, is not easy for baseball since the Summer Olympics, unlike the NBA season, come smack in the middle of the major league season. Hockey interrupts its season for the Olympics (which the players love, but the NHL team owners dont) as does the WNBA. Japans baseball league did the same thing in 2008. But dont expect the major leagues to do so when so much is at stake, particularly money. That limits many countries from sending their best players.Of course, not sending the best players isnt considered a major issue in mens soccer where age rules greatly reduce the number of top stars from competing. But the IOC doesnt seem to care about that because soccer is so globally popular.The