Off Base: Bring baseball back to Olympics!

August, 4, 2012
8/04/12
8:31
AM ET

Pingpong is an Olympic sport.

So is badminton. And trampoline. Shooting, too. The always popular rhythmic gymnastics and synchronized swimming as well, of course. And golf is being added for 2016.

But baseball is not being played at these London Games. Nor will it be four years from now, when the Olympics are in Rio de Janeiro.

Off Base

Baseball is the national pastime of countries in North America, the Caribbean and Asia, a sport that has sent players raised in Italy, the Netherlands, Brazil, Australia and Taiwan to the major leagues in the past year. It's a game with major leaguers from every habitable continent except Africa, which has numerous prospects in the minors. But baseball apparently no longer meets the International Olympic Committee's rigorous standards as an international, exciting sport fans love to watch around the globe.

Not like table tennis.

There are a couple of reasons the IOC booted baseball out after the 2008 Games. One, the infrastructure cost in building a baseball stadium that will not be used again in some host cities is high. But since when did the bloated IOC really care about containing costs?

A bigger reason is the absence of major leaguers, unlike the NBA and NHL players in the Olympic basketball and hockey tournaments. Or at least, the absence of current major leaguers. Baseball players who went on to the majors after the Olympics include Mark McGwire, Barry Larkin, Will Clark, Jason Giambi, Hideo Nomo, Matt Stairs, Jim Abbott, Trevor Cahill, Stephen Strasburg and R.A. Dickey. But future big leaguers don't matter because evidently, Jacques Rogge and the rest of his IOC one-percenters do not subscribe to "Baseball America'' or follow Keith Law on Twitter.

• Click here to read Jim Caple's Off Base column in its entirety

Jim Caple | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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