Let’s face it baseball’s chances of getting re-admitted to the Olympics were always pretty slim – but the decision yesterday to dump Wrestling ironically makes baseball’s chances even slimmer.
The surprise sacking of wrestling means that it now joins the group of 8 sports vying for the one final spot in the 2020 Olympics and considering its history in the Olympic movement (“it has been a part of every modern Olympics since they began in 1896, not to mention the ancient games.”) it has probably a better chance than baseball to get the nod.
It was generally felt that the Pentathlon was the sport most likely to be dumped but a combination of intense lobbying by Pentathlon who do have representation on the EB and lack of attention to detail by the International Wrestling Federation (FILA) brought about the surprise result. As one writer wrote:-
Who was advocating inside the IOC board for wrestling? No one, seemingly — of all the biggest wrestling countries, none have seats on the IOC board.
A belated, after-the-vote statement on the FILA website declared that it was “greatly astonished” by the IOC action and would take “all necessary measures” to try to get back on the program.
“Greatly astonished”? Like gambling in the movie, “Casablanca.” Shocking, just shocking.
At the top of the FILA website — it’s Feb. 13, mind you — the page greets you with “Season’s Greetings!” and best wishes for a “peaceful and successful New Year 2013!” This is an international federation that just isn’t up to speed.
The way this works now is that wrestling will join seven other sports — the likes of wushu, squash, baseball and softball — in trying to get onto the program for 2020.
Bluntly, the IOC move Tuesday probably signals the end for baseball and softball, which are trying to get back on as one entity, not two.
If the IOC is going to let any one sport back on, it might — stress, might — be wrestling. “I would have to think the IOC made an uninformed decision,” Jim Scherr, the former USOC chief executive officer and Olympic wrestler (fifth place at the 1988 Seoul Games), said Tuesday, urging reconsideration.
History has proven that trying to predict the ways of the IOC has never been easy says Nicolas Serres in an article last year. Here is how he summed up baseball and softball’s chances.
Baseball – This former Olympic sport was first included on the program of the Barcelona games in 1992 and played at each Olympiad until Beijing 2008, but ousted for London and Rio. During the five Olympiads it took part in, baseball proved its popularity around the world, with medals won by Cuba (1992, 1996 and 2004), the USA (2000) and South Korea (2008). It also provided some fine moments of history, including the USA-Cuba final in Sydney in 2000. Riccardo Fraccari, the chairman of the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) has been campaigning since spring 2011 among national federations, which total 77, to promote the sport’s application. The financial resources are there, as are the number of players, which are estimated to total 35 million. However, baseball suffers from one main disadvantage: the summer Olympics are held right in the middle of North America’s MLB season, where many of the world’s best baseball players will be.
Softball – The women’s version of baseball experienced an almost identical Olympic destiny. Softball first entered the Games in Atlanta in 1996, and left again in 2008. But its chances of joining the Olympics once again seem more limited. In 2009, the IOC voted against it for the Games in Rio in 2016 owing to the lack of international popularity, not to mention dominance by the United States. Indeed, the American team won three of the four Olympic medals. In 2004, the US team outclassed all its rivals, with a final score of 51 points to 1. Since then, nothing much has changed.
So we recommend that you enjoy the WBC next month as it is looking like it will be the only opportunity you will have of seeing top International Baseball.
By Riccardo Schiroll /IBAF
The path to the program of the 2020 Summer Olympics will be a narrow one. There will be 8 sports aiming at inclusion and only 1 will be reccomended to the 125th IOC session.
The Executive Board (EB) of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) agreed, during a meeting on Tuesday February 11, on the 25 sports it will propose to the 125th IOC Session for approval as the core sports for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games: athletics, rowing, badminton, basketball, boxing, canoeing, cycling, equestrian, fencing, football, gymnastics, weightlifting, handball, hockey, judo, swimming, modern pentathlon, taekwondo, tennis, table tennis, shooting, archery, triathlon, sailing and volleyball.
The EB recommended that wrestling, governed by the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA), not be included on the list of core sports. Wrestling will now join the 7 shortlisted sports (baseball/softball, karate, roller sports, sport climbing, squash, wakeboarding and wushu) vying for inclusion in the 2020 Olympic programme as an additional sport.
The 8 sports are scheduled to make presentations to the Executive Board at its meeting in St Petersburg, Russia, in May. The EB will select which of the 8 sports to recommend to the 125th IOC Session for inclusion as an additional sport on the 2020 programme.
In an effort to ensure the Olympic Games remain relevant to sports fans of all generations, the Olympic Programme Commission systematically reviews every sport following each edition of the Games.
Golf and rugby sevens were added in 2009 as additional sports to the 2016 Olympic programme and will be included, with the same status, in the 2020 Games.
The 125th IOC Session will take place from 7 to 10 September in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
With the 2012/13 regular season at a close, the Australian Baseball League honours the talented athletes who had standout seasons and made ABL history with their record-breaking achievements.
First ABL Triple Crown Winner
Canberra Cavalry’s second baseman Adam Buschini (pictured) led the league in nearly every batting category. Buschini is the first Triple Crown Winner in ABL history, meaning he led the league in all three major batting categories: .363 batting average, 15 home runs and 50 runs batted in. Additionally, the American import led the ABL in hits (67), runs (37), slugging percentage (.690) and on base plus slugging percentage (1.112). The second baseman is a two-time Delta Air Lines Player of the Week from his performances in round 10 and 13. In the final round of ABL play, Buschini went 9-for-15 (.600) with four home runs, nine runs batted in and a stolen base.
ABL Pitching Records Shattered
While Buschini almost swept the league in leading offensive categories, the Sydney Blue Sox made a collective effort to claim the top spot in pitching categories, in record-breaking fashion. This comes as no surprise since Sydney boasts the lowest team ERA (2.91) in ABL history.
Right-handed pitcher and former Major Leaguer Chris Oxspring broke the ABL record for strikeouts in a season, which he set in the inaugural 2010/11 season, increasing his season strikeout total from 71 to 75.
Closer Matt Williams broke the ABL save record set by teammate Dae-Sung Koo (12) in the 2010/11 season with his 15 saves.
Left-handed pitcher Craig Anderson now holds the record for most wins in a season after his eight victories in the 2012/13 campaign. Perth Heat’s Daniel Schmidt held the previous record of six, which he broke by earning seven wins this season but even the extra victory was not enough to retain the lead.
One pitching record the Blue Sox were unable to hold onto was Chris Oxspring’s record of 14 strikeouts in a game. Chris Smith of the Brisbane Bandits struck out 15 batters in a round nine game that earned him Delta Air Lines Pitcher of the Week honours.
Although not a pitching record, Sydney’s Zach Penprase utilised his speed to steal 16 bases, breaking the record set last year by Perth’s Mychael Givens (15).
100 Career ABL Hits
While Perth Heat’s James McOwen became the first player to record 100 hits in the new ABL at the end of last season, three more players joined the century club in the legaue’s third season. Josh Roberts of the Brisbane Bandits became the first Australian-born player to reach 100 career hits in November. Mitch Dening became the first Sydney Blue Sox player to join the century club in round 11 followed by Jeremy Cresswell as the first Adelaide Bite player in round 12.
Former ABF President, Kingsley Wellington was previously the GM of the Adelaide Giants in the previous ABL. He had this to say in a comment posted on the ABD today.
Baseball to attract greater attendances must be able to compete in the entertainment market and that the product at the moment is not good enough
Cricket, due to the Packer influence despite strong opposition from the hierarchy, was forced to modify the game to provide greater value for the entertainment dollar. Contrary to Steve the so called Aussie Baseball Guru (20-12-11) who claims that Baseball to become self managing needs MLB assistance is way off the mark. S.A. (GIANTS) during the previous failed National Competition was managed by independent commercially orientated people who eliminated time wasting (speed up rules) and introduced ‘Basketball Type’ hype to become financial viable.When the management was passed to the SABL it reverted back and paid the penalty.
Nor do I agree with David Balfour criticising members for their lack of commitment.Make the game entertaining enough and you will attract more members.In any case these are only a very small percentage of your total market and if your product is not good enough for them what chance do you have!!
MLB is attempting to force Baseball in Australia to be played as it is in America and I tell you this “aint going to happen”
Sponsor and Media support is directly related to Public interest(bums on seats) For Baseball to succeed it needs to be dragged into the standard of entertainment dictated by the needs of the 21st Century and managed by proven Commercially orientated experts.
Koishi is dominating on the mound with a 1.78ERA
Hirotaka Koishi (Melb) 1.78 16 runs allowed – just 7 of them earned.
Craig Anderson (Syd) 1.94 Improved to 1.04 WHIP after 1.26 in 2011/12
Chris Oxspring (Syd) 2.11 League Pitcher of the Week in 3 of first 4 rounds
Brian Grening (Can) 2.24 15 earned runs allowed includes league leading 8 HR
Chris Smith (Bris) 2.31 3 Pitcher of week gongs to keep pace with Oxspring
Craig Anderson (Syd) 5 Just 29 strikeouts and 5 BB in 60.1 for the control guru
Daniel Schmidt (Per) 5 Keeps racking up the wins after league leading 6 in 2011/12
Brian Grening (Can) 4 Has replaced gun2011/12 import Mike McGuire just nicely
Virgil Vasquez (Per) 4 To quote Bite Broadcaster Sperlo, “Au revoir Virgil”!
Richard Olson (Adel) 4 All 14 appearances (21 IP) this season have been in relief
Chris Oxspring (Syd) 69 Another year, another dominant Oxspring on the hill
Chris Smith (Bris) 65 2 Shutouts including 15 strikeout gem
Anthony Claggett (Per) 56 Dominant at times without much luck
Virgil Vasquez (Per) 55 Is there a Virgil replacement cooking in the Perth kitchen?
Brian Grening (Can) 53 No HBP and just 9BB in 60.1 innings pitched
Corey Adamson (Per) .393 Also league leading .460 OBP
Kody Hightower (Can) .364 Most hits in league with 44
Adam Buschini (Can) .356 Miggy Cabrera like season in the making – en fuego!
Jeremy Barnes (Can) .347 Consistent performer in the high powered Cav offense
Mitch Dening (Syd) .336 14 BB with just 12K in 125 ABs
Adam Buschini (Can) 9 League leading 28 runs scored as well for good measure
Angus Roeger (Adel) 8 4 HRs in Round 5 lead to Player of the Week honours
Michael Ohlman (Per) 6 Forming a formidable middle order combo with de San
Elliot Biddle (Mel) 6 Includes that memorable walk off Grand Slam vs Adelaide
6 tied 5 Bite has Choi, Melendres, Welch and Lodge in this group
Adam Buschini (Can) 33 Looking like a MVP candidate – newest player of the week
Carter Bell (Per) 24 2nd behind James Robbins for most Plate Appearances
Michael Ohlman (Per) 23 Ohlman and de San together again….
Allan de San Miguel (Per) 23 The ABL’s perennial stud catcher
3 tied 22 Cody Clark in this group leading the way for the Bandits
You’ve listened to it all spring and summer long, and now, you can take ABC Grandstand’s “Strike Zone” with you wherever you want. Subscribe to the podcast on ABC or search “Strike Zone” on iTunes.Subscribe on ABC »
Author Nicholas Henning is back with his third baseball book titled Aussies in the Majors.
This time Henning moves into a “true journey of discovery” rather than fiction.
Through the contacts he has made over the years with players, coaches, and others working in baseball Nicholas looks to reveal what is it like traveling across the USA in search of the dream that so many boys had growing up – getting to the Major Leagues.
The book description from Amazon.com:
In his latest book, Nicholas R.W. Henning moves from baseball fiction to a true journey of discovery. Through American contacts developed over the years, the author tracks down Australian players currently honing their talents and aiming for the Majors; he also meets a fascinating range of people connected with professional baseball: players, administrators, broadcasters and fans. Henning’s meetings with Australian players reveal how they adapt to living far from home and playing in the back-blocks of the country, always hoping that their big day will come. The author’s interviews provide insights into the motivations and backgrounds of these talented and determined young players. In the final section of the book, the author takes a critical yet affectionate look at Australian baseball today and how it might develop in the future. He acknowledges the largely unsung giants of the local game, including those pioneers who were the first to play professionally in the US. His analysis includes a number of practical suggestions for nurturing a game which has endured too many booms and busts in its long history in Australia. Through the accounts of his travels and his critical but constructive survey of the local game shines a constant theme: Henning’s deep love for the game and his remarkable knowledge of it.
You can find all of his books on Amazon.
By Jami Lobpries
In case you missed it yesterday in Part 1, I said the following about baseball and softball’s Olympic situation
Baseball and softball have joined forces to fight for inclusion on the 2020 Olympic Games program. Both sports were omitted from the program following the 2008 Games in Beijing. What is the strategy for joining forces? The sports are normally gender exclusive and could fight individually for an Olympic bid. However, only one spot remains on the 2020 program and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is calling for gender equal sports. Therefore, the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) and International Softball Federation (ISF) decided to operate as a unified governing body, the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), to petition the IOC…Who benefits more from this joint bid?…In regards to sport management literature, I have listed some implications (in 4G!) emanating from this new baseball-softball Olympic battery.
So, without further ado…
Awareness is the first step in Funk and James’s (2001) Psychological Continuum Model (PCM), which outlines sport consumers relationship with a sport, team, or athlete. Once a consumer becomes aware of a sport or athlete, they can move to eventual allegiance or attachment (to the sport, team, or athlete). The Olympics generate perhaps the greatest awareness for women’s sports. Levin (1992) referred to the Olympics as a “veritable bonanza of visibility” every 4 years (p.64). National bragging rights are on the line for consumers, regardless of the sport or gender. The awareness generated by the Olympics leads to media coverage, individual sponsorship and endorsement of athletes beyond Olympic competition. Women’s sport success in the Olympics has fueled professional sport leagues development. The Olympics generate global awareness of the sport and provide opportunities beyond the field of play for athletes and fans.
The International Fastpitch Association (IFA) was created in 2008 to promote youth softball around the world. Little League Softball has over 360,000 participants worldwide. College softball in America provides local and international players a chance to further careers athletically and academically. Emerging professional leagues across the world are working towards providing softball players professional opportunities. Career opportunities, on and off the field, will grow with the growth of the sport. The Olympics provide the global stage to foster growth.
If softball earns a 2020 Olympic bid through the WBSC, continues to transcend global boundaries, promotes gender equality, and generates awareness from Olympic exposure, then it is hard to argue against sustained growth of the sport. The final decision for the 2020 Olympic program will be made in September 2013. The new power team (the WBSC) will slug it out with sport climbing, karate, roller sport, squash, wakeboard, and wushu. Implications far exceed the 2020 Games for the sport and athletes. What else may come from baseball and softball’s collective efforts? Time will tell.
By Jami Lobpries
Baseball and softball have joined forces to fight for inclusion on the 2020 Olympic Games program. Both sports were omitted from the program following the 2008 Games in Beijing. What is the strategy for joining forces? The sports are normally gender exclusive and could fight individually for an Olympic bid. However, only one spot remains on the 2020 program and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is calling for gender equal sports. Therefore, the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) and International Softball Federation (ISF) decided to operate as a unified governing body, the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), to petition the IOC.
Who benefits more from this joint bid? This “two-for-one” deal (to be presented on December 19th to the IOC Programme Commission) has implications far exceeding the 2020 Olympics, particularly for softball. Women’s sports, especially team sports, have continued to struggle in terms of equality, media exposure, professional league sustainability, and sponsorship dollars. As one of the largest female participant sports worldwide, softball may need the Olympic stage more than baseball to foster growth. In regards to sport management literature, I have listed some implications (in 4G!) emanating from this new baseball-softball Olympic battery.
The IOC is calling for more gender equality in the Olympic sports program. Yes, it seems funny that a women’s sport is fighting to prove gender equality 40 years after Title IX. The twist here is baseball views their partnership with softball as vital for Olympic reinstatement, and vice versa. Could this be a benchmark movement in the overall fight for gender equality in sports? Connell (2005) stated, “Moving toward a gender‐equal society involves profound institutional change as well as change in everyday life and personal conduct. To move far in this direction requires widespread social support, including significant support from men and boys” (p.1801). I would consider the WBSC as significant support for change!
It seems one question for the IOC, is if softball is the gender equal to baseball? Little League structures their World Series for baseball and softball similarly, as does softball’s Women’s College World Series and baseball’s College World Series. It seems to make sense for the two sports to fight together as gender equivalents at the Olympic level.
Both baseball and softball are criticized by the IOC for their Americanization of the game and lack of global development. The Olympics are a global extravaganza watched by global audiences. While baseball has an established global prominence (Major League Baseball and the World Baseball Classic), softball relies on the Olympics for global exposure (media coverage, sponsorships, and player endorsements).
Though the Americans have dominated international play since the sport’s Olympic inception in 1996 (3 gold medals, 1 silver), the globalization of softball is evident. According to the ISF, 124 countries are currently members across five Olympic regions (Africa, America, Asia, Europe, and Oceania). Increasing numbers of American players and coaches have “migrated” overseas for professional opportunities (as do most female athletes). Japan offers arguably the best professional league in terms of sustainability, player salaries, and corporate sponsorships. Italy, Germany, Austria, and Australia are among the many countries offering professional softball leagues. Numerous researchers and scholars have studied labor migration in sport globalization. This migration of players can strengthen national teams through heightened competition in non-Olympic years.