Toronto Baseball Guys
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
  IOC Should Drop Five To Keep Baseball Alive
As the Beijing Summer Games fade into memory, and Chinese children deemed "uncute" are once again free to roam the streets, South Korea finds itself the reigning champions of Olympic baseball.

They're going to reigning for a long time.

Baseball, along with softball have been dropped from the games by the IOC for the forseeable future. Major League Baseball is "determined" to get the sport reinstated for 2016, but then they were determined to introduce a salary cap, too. How's that coming along, fellas?

There are several reasons to drop a sport from the games:

Strangely, none of these seem to apply to baseball. Maybe the IOC doesn't want to be associated with baseball's recent steroid shame, but that's kind of like Cheech telling Chong to go home because he can't stand the smell of pot.

Maybe there are just too many sports. After all, the Beijing Games featured 301 events, which is a lot to squeeze into 16 days. Perhaps baseball was just the victim of a numbers crunch.

If that's the case, here's a quick list of five sports that are MUCH better candidates to be bounced from the Summer Games in order to keep baseball and softball. It's not that any of these events aren't difficult or physically demanding; so is negotiating highway traffic on foot while blindfolded - doesn't make it an Olympic sport.

5) BMX - The IOC's lame attempt to capitalize on the popularity of the X-Games. There were only 16 other cycling events, so clearly this was filling a need. What to take away from the BMX competition in Beijing? It's quick, brightly coloured and full of crashes. Great, half-assed NASCAR has made it to the Olympics.

4) Taekwondo - So, first you dress up the competitors like extras from the movie Tron, then for six minutes, they attempt to kick and punch each other. So far, so good. Once a match actually starts, things go down hill. First off, the fighters spend a lot of time screaming incoherently at each other. Then there's the judging (the bane of many an Olympic sport) - to score a point, two of three judges have to ring in on their Nintendo Wii within a second of each other, or no point is awarded. This reached comical proportions during a preliminary bout in which the Canadian competitor kicked her Swedish opponent, knocking her to the ground, and yet didn't register a point. Apparently GRAVITY seeing the blow was not enough for these judges. Small wonder the sport's governing body is the WTF.

(Taekwondo's noble attempt to suck up by featuring both a Canadian medal and an irate competitor kicking a ref in the head is noted. Too little, too late guys.)

3) Synchronized Swimming - granted, the teams of eight are a step up from the days when synchronized swimming was featured as an individual event - begging the question "Who or what are you synchronized with?" That said, if part of your pregame ritual is putting on cosmetics, you can take your Shiny Happy Stepford Wives act elsewhere. It ain't Swifter, Higher, Tackier ladies.

2) Race Walking - it would be too easy to make fun of how the racers move - that little "something must be lodged up somewhere" waddle.

Instead, consider that this is the only athletic activity in which running is expressly forbidden. It's the only race in which it's cheating to go too fast - probably invented by frustrated marathoners. What's next? The slow race walkers band together and found Olympic Crab-walking? Speed-Crawling?

Just jog already!

1) Dressage - Horse dancing? Really?!? HORSE DANCING!?!?! Deft communication with horses should land you a Robert Redford movie, not a spot on the podium. When you're able to compete in a top hat and tails, you're not competing hard enough!


Baseball meanwhile, offers a 150-year history, is popular in the Americas, the Caribbean and Asia and has many features that adhere to the Olympic credo of Swifter, Higher, Stronger.

The sport offers a certain athletic purity, because while there may be umpires, judges don't have to confer to agree that a run has been scored.

And nobody's race walking to steal second.
 
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