Maybe it’s all the baseball talk on today’s show that’s got me stewin’. Maybe it’s merely the fact that the Olympic Games are inching closer. But like the proverbial burr under the saddle, the IOC’s call to eliminate baseball and softball from the Olympics is still rubbin’ me the wrong way in all the wrong places.
Let’s make sure we maintain the rich tradition of table tennis, but baseball…softball? Nah. Get those outta there.
The initial decision came down in 2005, and since 2005, I have yet to read/hear an explanation that makes any sense to me.
Ticket sales and fan support have been tossed out there. A lack of international competition has been offered up. I’ve even read that the IOC was concerned that the two sports were too similar in nature. One laughable rationalization was that MLB’s reluctance to initiate Olympic drug testing standards reflected poorly on its inclusion. That one is far and away my favorite.
I always chuckle at the arrogance of the IOC when it comes to their "standards." From underage gymnasts to roided out medal winners, the Olympics’ reputation has been forged mainly in after-the-fact discipline. In many cases, the “Olympic standards” fail to catch the cheat in the moment. Weeks, months, and even years after the medals have been awarded and the anthems played, the IOC finally catches up. Better late than never, I will grant you, but Olympic standards? Somebody get Nell Carter in here to deliver this one: “Gimme a break.”
The only theory that fits, and the only theory to which I can’t help but subscribe is: the USA made the sports popular, and at least in terms of softball, have dominated the medal stand, so screw ‘em.
Over the years, my enjoyment in the Olympic Games and delight in my country’s victories has taken many forms. I don’t harbor much country-to-country hate anymore. My desire to whoop up on particular athletes has diminished as well. No, not the flags…not the names…I have come to view every United States medal as a middle finger to the IOC, which I am convinced pulls against the USA with every bone in its collective body.
How are we lookin’ in equestrian this go ‘round?