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 Post subject: Baseball, softball dropped from Olympics
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2005 11:57 pm 
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ESPN.com wrote:
SINGAPORE -- Baseball and softball were dropped Friday from the Olympic program for the 2012 Summer Games in London.

Each of the 28 existing sports was put to a secret vote by the International Olympic Committee, and baseball and softball failed to receive a majority required to stay on the program. The other 26 sports were retained.

Baseball and softball are the first sports cut from the Olympics since water polo in 1936.

The IOC will consider replacing them with two sports from a waiting list of five sports: golf, rugby, squash, karate and roller sports.

Baseball has been vulnerable because it doesn't bring top Major League players to the Olympics. Softball has been in danger because of a perceived lack of global appeal and participation.

"Not all sports are indispensable for the Olympic program, we know that," IOC president Jacques Rogge told the delegates before the vote.

Rogge urged the 100-plus members to vote strictly on the technical merits of the sports and not for subjective, political or personal reasons.

"If you consider a modification, you should be convinced it will bring an improvement," Rogge said.

The IOC will keep the voting figures secret. Not even the IOC members or sports federations will learn the totals. The secrecy was requested by the international federations in order to avoid any ranking or embarrassment for any sports which just barely make the cut.

Rogge said the figures will be seen only by an independent official, who will send the results by sealed envelope to an IOC notary in Lausanne, Switzerland. Rogge will only open the envelope in the case of a voting dispute.


I take this pretty personally. Sports like the javelin toss supposedly have appeal and baseball doesn't? Nonsense. This was anti-Americanism, plain and simple.


Last edited by Matthew Grieco on Sat Jul 09, 2005 9:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2005 7:24 am 
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They kept synchronized swimming, though, right?

If they pick rugby, it will clearly be as Matthew says.

What are "roller sports"? Skatebording? Or would we get a warm version of ice dancing?


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2005 10:05 am 
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No doubt that Dubya will soon announce an invasion of the IOC's headquarters and demand restoration of baseball.

"Our nation will not stand for misunderestimation of its pastime," the leader of the free world will declare.


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 Post subject: Re: Baseball, softball dropped from Olympics
PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2005 12:06 pm 
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Matthew Grieco wrote:
This was anti-Americanism, plain and simple.

I'm on the other side of this. I think baseball and softball were made Olympic sports in the first place so America could win more gold.

"The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well."

~ the Olympic Creed


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 Post subject: Re: Baseball, softball dropped from Olympics
PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2005 1:25 pm 
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Quote:
SINGAPORE -- Baseball and softball were dropped Friday from the Olympic program for the 2012 Summer Games in London.

Each of the 28 existing sports was put to a secret vote by the International Olympic Committee, and baseball and softball failed to receive a majority required to stay on the program. The other 26 sports were retained.

Baseball and softball are the first sports cut from the Olympics since water polo in 1936.

The IOC will consider replacing them with two sports from a waiting list of five sports: golf, rugby, squash, karate and roller sports.

Baseball has been vulnerable because it doesn't bring top Major League players to the Olympics. Softball has been in danger because of a perceived lack of global appeal and participation.


I don't follow any sport except professional baseball, so call me sports ignorant if you will. But the notion of using professional, paid athletes in amateur competitions is patently absurd. Amateur competitions are for amateurs. Professional competitions are for professionals. Why is this so hard for the IOC to understand?

Using professional basketball players and hockey players in the Olympics makes the Olympics a fraud and a joke. This is not just a rhetorical question: Would the 1980 Miracle on Ice have been as memorable a moment if the U.S. players had been NHLers? Wasn't it all the more special that they weren't pros?

I admit I didn't pay close attention to the U.S. Olympic baseball team, but I was aware of who had played on it and would follow its progress through the tournament. One of the things that made it attractive was its very use of unprofessional players on their way up to the major leagues.

It's a shame that the IOC has dropped baseball.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2005 9:59 pm 
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Agreed on every count, wordygurdy. Allowing professional players is the worst decision the Olympics ever made.

What is Olympic hockey now other than an NHL game with the players all shuffled around?

Oeditpus, the gold medals in baseball have gone to Cuba at every Olympics except 2000.


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 Post subject: Re: Baseball, softball dropped from Olympics
PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2005 11:55 pm 
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Oeditpus Rex wrote:
I'm on the other side of this. I think baseball and softball were made Olympic sports in the first place so America could win more gold.


Baseball became an Olympic sport (albeit as a test) with the 1984 Games in LA. Coincidence? I don't know.

In general, Europeans dominate the IOC now that Avery Brundige is gone. A sport dominated by the Americas and several Asian nations won't be at the top of IOC priorities.

I'd prefer that the Olympics be limited to amateurs, but the Cold War ended that a long time ago. The Soviet basketball team's winning of the gold medal against the U.S. in 1972 played a major role.

Communist bloc Olympians tended to be government employees who were paid to train and win.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2005 12:06 am 
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Matthew Grieco wrote:
the gold medals in baseball have gone to Cuba at every Olympics except 2000.


Coincidence?


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 Post subject: Re: Baseball, softball dropped from Olympics
PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2005 5:51 am 
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Wayne Countryman wrote:
Baseball became an Olympic sport (albeit as a test) with the 1984 Games in LA. Coincidence? I don't know.

I believe the host country gets to name a test sport. So no, not a coincidence.

The decision to allow professional athletes was truly stupid. Yes, all the Eastern Bloc athletes were government-sponsored, but they didn't win all the medals. We have Home Depot sponsoring athletes (OK, they have to nominally work there, but still); it's not so diferent. The reason the Olympics were worth watching was because the athletes were mostly amateurs. There's no point now.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2005 8:28 am 
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Phillip Blanchard wrote:
Matthew Grieco wrote:
the gold medals in baseball have gone to Cuba at every Olympics except 2000.


Coincidence?


The 2000 Olympics having been held in Australia, I don't see any connection.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2005 9:26 am 
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Matthew, was that an AP story?

It says water polo was cut in 1936, but I thought I saw water polo at the Olympics and my local sports guru, otherwise known as a husband, says it was _polo_ that got cut in 1936.

I'm disappointed softball got cut. The women got some good coverage. There is so much participation in amateur baseball and softball in the U.S., it seems strange to not have those sports in the Olympics, even though I know that basketball and soccer are far more popular elsewhere.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2005 9:44 am 
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longwords wrote:
Matthew, was that an AP story?

It says water polo was cut in 1936, but I thought I saw water polo at the Olympics and my local sports guru, otherwise known as a husband, says it was _polo_ that got cut in 1936.


I got it off ESPN.com. Most of their hard news copy is AP copy with occasional staff insertions.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2005 9:46 am 
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UPDATE:

Reuters wrote:
[IOC President Jacques] Rogge stressed that both softball and baseball were still Olympic sports and that they would be included in a 2009 vote to decide the sports program for the 2016 Olympics.

"Baseball and softball could return to the program if we consider they have addressed their shortcomings," he told assembled members.

"The IOC will do everything to make sure the baseball and softball competitions are excellent," Rogge said, looking ahead to the 2008 Games. "We'll make sure their participation is a great success."

IOC members opted not to replace the two sports, rejecting rugby sevens, golf, squash, karate and roller sports.

"We now have a program of 26 sports. The same number of sports as we had at Atlanta in 1996," Rogge said.

Members would also be able to vote in 2009 on the five sports rejected on Friday.


So there's hope, it seems.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2005 10:34 am 
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So, wait, I'm not sure I've got this right: Baseball and softball are in for the 2008 Summer Games but out for the 2012 Summer Games? But they possibly could come back for the 2016 Summer Games?

The hashish the IOC members are smokin' must be some good stuff.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2005 11:24 am 
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You've got it, wordy. Since none of the sports that could have replaced baseball and softball made the cut, either, they will all have an even shot at being voted in for 2016.


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 Post subject: Re: Baseball, softball dropped from Olympics
PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2005 4:48 pm 
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wordygurdy wrote:
Using professional basketball players and hockey players in the Olympics makes the Olympics a fraud and a joke.


Docsdoctor wrote:
The decision to allow professional athletes was truly stupid. Yes, all the Eastern Bloc athletes were government-sponsored, but they didn't win all the medals. We have Home Depot sponsoring athletes (OK, they have to nominally work there, but still); it's not so diferent. The reason the Olympics were worth watching was because the athletes were mostly amateurs. There's no point now.


I'm going to play devil's advocate here. In both hockey and baseball, the all-star games are a big event and have been for a long time. Allowing these professional athletes to play in the Olympics was, in essence, a chance to see a skewed version of an all-star game, except with national pride involved. With so much money and sponsorship and TV contracts devoted to the games, it's a brilliant ratings-generator. If you're NBC and you've got the rights to the men's hockey finals, would you rather be showing college kids, or Brendan Shanahan and Martin Brodeur against Brett Hull and Chris Chelios against Sergei Federov against Dominic Hasek? I'm not saying it's right, but I see why it was done. Besides, with the current situation of the NHL right now, any of these guys could potentially be "amateurs" by the time the 2006 Games roll around.

And what about the "Dream Team"? After dominating for, what, three straight Games, they started to slip, giving in to international competition from fellow NBAers (much like with the NHL) until this past Games, which were a debacle.


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 Post subject: Re: Baseball, softball dropped from Olympics
PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2005 7:43 pm 
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ndugan1 wrote:
I'm going to play devil's advocate here. . . . I'm not saying it's right, but I see why it was done.

I never had any question why it was done; the reasons were transparent, but stupid. A pageant that's supposed to celebrate personal dedication and sacrifice in pursuit of excellence is now flooded with pampered millionaires. If NBC can't make its millions without them, it's not sufficient reason to shitcan the whole amateur concept.

I also think the national pride thing is far too emphasized, especially in the U.S. I'm told that Chinese TV broadcasts every event of every sport, not just the ones their team has a chance to win a medal in.

(Off-topic: Please, "medal" is not a verb.)


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 Post subject: Re: Baseball, softball dropped from Olympics
PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2005 1:52 am 
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Docsdoctor wrote:
(Off-topic: Please, "medal" is not a verb.)

Further off-topic: Neither is "PR," as in "personal record," as in "He PR'd in the 200."


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2005 2:32 am 
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Docsdoctor wrote:
If they pick rugby, it will clearly be as Matthew says.


It should be noted the US were Olympic rugby gold medallists in 1920 and 1924. Rugby has not been played at the Olympics since.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2005 12:10 pm 
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There was a short item in today's sports section quoting Rogge as saying that getting baseball restored can be accomplished by, among other things, having the team comprise major league players.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2005 12:25 pm 
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What the IOC doesn't seem to understand is that you can't do that with baseball as you can with hockey, basketball or soccer.

Baseball is a season-dependent sport. The MLB season can't start earlier than April and can't end later than October. It's stretched too far at each end as it is. Hockey and basketball are indoor sports that can be played at any time of year, so the argument that they make accommodations to have their best players in the Olympics doesn't apply to baseball, which can only be played in warm weather.

Baseball is a statistics-dependent sport. You can't throw off the stats every four years by either shortening the season or giving up the best players.

As much as I want baseball in the Olympics, I don't want it at that cost. The rest of the world needs to appreciate that there are things unique to baseball that make their expectation of major-league players in the Olympics unreasonable.


Last edited by Matthew Grieco on Mon Jul 11, 2005 11:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2005 1:58 pm 
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Yeah, really. My reaction to that was what, they're supposed to shut down MLB for two weeks? I think not!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 9:58 am 
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Matthew Grieco wrote:
Phillip Blanchard wrote:
Matthew Grieco wrote:
the gold medals in baseball have gone to Cuba at every Olympics except 2000.


Coincidence?


The 2000 Olympics having been held in Australia, I don't see any connection.


Perhaps No. 1 was suggesting that the real reason the IOC wanted to dump baseball is to deprive that Commie nation Cuba of Olympic glory.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 10:26 am 
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Matthew Grieco wrote:
What the IOC doesn't seem to understand is that you can't do that with baseball as you can with hockey, basketball or soccer.

Baseball is a season-dependent sport. The MLB season can't start earlier than April and can't end later than October. It's stretched too far at each end as it is. Hockey and basketball are indoor sports that can be played at any time of year, so the argument that they make accomodations to have their best players in the Olympics doesn't apply to baseball, which can only be played in warm weather.

Baseball is a statistics-dependent sport. You can't throw off the stats every four years by either shortening the season or giving up the best players.

As much as I want baseball in the Olympics, I don't want it at that cost. The rest of the world needs to appreciate that there are things unique to baseball that make their expectation of major-league players in the Olympics unreasonable.


Next year, MLS teams will lose a number of players during the World Cup. Teams will muddle through with reserve players for the duration. Baseball could manage to do the same. Mind you, many fans think MLS should simply take a break at that time. Other countries with summer soccer schedules (Mexico, Brazil, Argentina for example) will also work around the World Cup.
Baseball isn't statistics dependent, baseball fans are. The game count regardless of who is playing. If baseball wants to showcase its sport to the world, it can make the accommodation.


Last edited by argyle on Mon Jul 11, 2005 11:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 10:47 am 
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OK, copy editors, that's two bad accommodates.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 11:04 am 
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jjmoney62 wrote:
OK, copy editors, that's two bad accommodates.


Duly noted. Thank you.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 11:18 am 
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Oops. Thanks, JJ.

Returning to the topic at hand, there is no meaningful difference between saying "baseball is statistics-dependent" and "baseball fans are statistics-dependent." The game is only meaningful to the extent that fans enjoy it.

Statistical integrity is one of the pillars of baseball, the occasional asterisk notwithstanding. In no other sport are statistics nearly so important, useful, or sacred. They preserve the continuity of the national pastime across generations in a way that people from other countries cannot appreciate.

Soccer's a fine athletic game, for example, but it's mathematically and geometrically simplistic. You cannot break it down statistically as you can with baseball. You could describe every possible state of the game of baseball in binary code if you really wanted to; I am not sure that can be said of any other major sport. I am tired of Europeans trying to take philosophies that apply perfectly well to their sports and apply them to ours.

This is not about stubborn conservatism, but about the foundation of consistency and thrill of aberrations that lie at the heart of baseball. If the world cannot take the time to understand that, it may be for the best to keep baseball out of the Olympics.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 4:35 pm 
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Under no circumstances should Major League Baseball shut down for two weeks for the Olympics. The baseball version of the World Cup, starting next year, should satisfy the longings of those who want to see baseball's best compete against the best of other nations. And even with that new tournament, there have been rumblings that some teams may not let their elite stars participate and that some of the stars might not want to participate, lest they get injured and impair their earning power.

I agree with Matthew that baseball has a timeline of statistical continuity that shouldn't be interrupted for any reason, be it ownership lockout, labor strike or silly international competition. It's often said that you can't compare statistical eras in baseball, but that doesn't stop most fans from trying. That would be impossible if the Olympics intruded into the baseball season every four years.

And no offense to argyle, but comparing MLS with MLB is ridiculous. Soccer doesn't have anywhere near the history--at least in this country--that baseball does.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2005 9:50 am 
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wordygurdy wrote:

And no offense to argyle, but comparing MLS with MLB is ridiculous. Soccer doesn't have anywhere near the history--at least in this country--that baseball does.


You're right, baseball has a much richer history in this country than soccer, but that's not my point.

The idea that baseball will be tainted by allowing major leaguers to take time off to play in an international tournament strikes me as ridiculous. We're going have to disagree on this point, but to me, the game is nine (or 10) guys a side, nine innings, four bases and three outs, not batting averages or home run totals.

Look at it this way, I don't know if the Brazilian Serie A actually suspends its season during World Cup time, but they look upon it as an opportunity for national glory, not an imposition on their regular season.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2005 10:09 am 
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We'll have to agree to disagree, then, argyle. I think, however, that I am in the majority, and that most baseball fans would be appalled at having to wreck the stat books every four years. An individual game is, as you say, nine innings, but "The Game" is much, much more.

Casual fans would probably choose the Olympics over stats, but the serious fans upon whom the game relies for its stability would be outraged.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2005 10:44 am 
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wordygurdy wrote:
The baseball version of the World Cup, starting next year, should satisfy the longings of those who want to see baseball's best compete against the best of other nations. And even with that new tournament, there have been rumblings that some teams may not let their elite stars participate and that some of the stars might not want to participate, lest they get injured and impair their earning power.


To wit:

Gary Sheffield, no great thinker, he, is spouting off and claiming he, for one, will not be playing in the World Cup next year.

How long till we see stories about other players following Sheffield's lead, if not hotheads like Sheffield, Milton Bradley and Carl Everett, then whiners like Frank Thomas and misanthropes like Jose Guillen?

Forget the Olympics, mercifully. This whole World Cup thingy could be DOA on account of player nonparticipation.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2005 7:01 pm 
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UPDATE:

The AP wrote:
DETROIT - Major League Baseball will not agree to the changes demanded by the
International Olympic Committee for reinstating the sport for the 2016 Games.

...

"I was saddened by what the Olympics did. Do I believe it will affect the way the sport is run? No," baseball commissioner Bud Selig said before Tuesday night's All-Star game.

While professionals played in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, only players not on 40-man major league rosters were eligible. During a question-and-answer session with the Baseball Writers' Association of America, Selig said sending top stars to the Olympics was not possible.

"I'm not going to stop the season," he said. "There is no set of circumstances for me to be able to say to teams in late August, `Well, now, take two weeks off guys. We'll see you all except 20 or 25 people, whatever numbers there are, that are going to play for either the United States or for the other countries. That's just not practical. In the heart of pennant races, this is just absurd."

Selig said the steroid issue "wasn't a valid reason" for the IOC to cite.

"There are a lot of rumors about how they operate and what they think about America and so on and so forth," he said. "I can't quantify those things, but I am confident today in telling you that the World Cup, the World Classic, will be so big that they will change their outlook on why baseball should be in the Olympics."

Major League Baseball and its players' association announced plans Monday for a 16-nation World Baseball Classic in March, a tournament likely to be played again in 2009 and each four years after that.

"I don't think any of us today understand how big this is going to be," he said.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2005 7:07 pm 
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As for Sheffield, he's a spoiled brat. I hate the fact that he's on my team. He's been loathed in every city he's played in, but teams keep signing him.

In the next collective bargaining session, there ought to be an agreement that owners must pay their players for their time if they are selected to the World Baseball Classic, but that players are contractually obligated to play.


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