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Not Prince Hamlet

"Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse."

You Take The Good, You Take The Bad

Friday, July 08, 2005

Only days after announcing plans for the first ever international baseball tournament to use professional players--a World Cup of baseball--the International Olympic Committtee has now voted to drop baseball and softball from the olympics.

Americans are, of course, stunned and upset. But how many of them know that baseball has only been an olympic medal sport since 1992? How many of them were upset when the U.S. failed to even qualify for the 2004 Athens games? How many of them can name even two players on the 2000 gold medal team? The manager?

At the heart of our displeasure over the decision is a feeling of rejection; the European-heavy IOC has reached across the Atlantic and slapped the peanuts-and-cracker-jack grin right off our face. I, personally, don't really care. I think the good news this week far outweighs the bad. The 16-country international tournament that will begin next March will far surpass anything olympic baseball could have ever attained, especially since teams and owners were never going to allow professionals to play on olympic teams.

And, if baseball wants to follow soccer's queue one step further, they can institute an under 21 or an under 18 version of their tournament, giving amateurs the chance to engage in international competition. Because that's what the olympics is, at best: a chance for amateur athletes to test their mettle against other olympic amateurs. The NBA approach of sending Dream Teams of pro's to the olympics messes that up terribly (and, further, it has backfired on the NBA, since the generation of Eastern Europeans and Central Americans who marvelled at the Jordan and Bird dream team of '92 are now kicking the pants off their successors).

In the end, these sports and their leagues are brands. And brands have to compete in a globalized economy, so the olympic decision hurts. But the potential is far, far greater for the new tournament than the olympics ever was.
posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 6:12 AM

2 Comments:

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commented by Blogger Ryno, 9:23 AM  
"Kicking the pants off..." that's awesome. Your writing always gives me great visuals and that one really makes me chuckle for some reason.

Let it be noted though that I have no interest in seeing a pantless professional basketball player.

**Sweet I can delete my own comments and it leaves a little "this post was censored by the author for lame spelling and bad grammar" message.
commented by Blogger Ryno, 9:25 AM  

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