Should MLB players compete at the Olympics?

Should MLB adjust its schedule to allow its bes players to compete at the Olympics every four years?

  • Yes

    Votes: 30 31.9%
  • No

    Votes: 31 33.0%
  • Hell no!

    Votes: 33 35.1%

  • Total voters
    94
Just throwing it out there. I'm expecting to get >90% people saying No - which is why I've included two different "No" answers, the latter meant to indicate a strong depth of opposition to the idea - but I'm also interested to hear why your answer might be No. Is it primarily because stopping the season for 2-3 weeks would be very logistically difficult? (The Korean and Japanese seasons have paused for the Olympics, of course, so it's not impossible.) Or is it because you're worried about injuries and fatigue for your team's players, and indeed for other great players in the game? Or something else?

Personally, I'd absolutely love this to happen. It'd only be once every four years and could replace the WBC, and it truly would be a special international competition, well above and beyond what the WBC offers in the spring. Doing this would almost certainly a) guarantee baseball's inclusion on the Olympic program in every Games, and also b) guarantee softball's inclusion. (It's a real shame that softball - which does have the world's best teams and players here in Tokyo - suffers from MLB's apathy toward the Olympics.) We've seen that hockey can make this work in the Winter Olympics; why not baseball?
 

Jed Zeppelin

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You can't condense the rest of the schedule to accommodate like you can in hockey because they already play every day. The baseball calendar makes it pretty difficult to carve 2 weeks out of the summer without risking unplayable weather at the beginning or end of the season. I don't believe Japan has to be as concerned about the threat of snowfall, for example, when they extend their season into mid-November this year.
 
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Fred not Lynn

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I think the solution to having a best-in-world baseball tournament at the Olympics faced with the fact that the actual best in the world aren’t available is to do what soccer does; Make it an age-graded event. Have it be U20 maybe, and feature the actual best U20s - very, very few are actually IN MLB at that point, but by 20 we have a decent idea who the future stars will be.

The downside there is that having an age graded event every four years screws the guys who aren’t actually 20 in the Olympic year…I would suggest this approach be paired with more emphasis on the U20 World Championship in the other three years.
 

CaptainLaddie

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Please, yes, and thank you. Every four years just reduce the schedule to 136 games (or something like that) and let us watch the best of the best compete at the Olympics. A bunch of guys will get rested up (which is good!), and we'll see elite competition. I know the WBC exists, but c'mon. The Olympics are way cooler.

I know some guys will back out just because they want to take the break, but as we've seen in Hockey, it can work, and there's a level of pride that comes from playing in the Olympics. Plus, it gives countries like the Dominican Republic a chance to shine at the Olympics in a way they normally don't get to do.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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No, the Olympics are worthless relative to the MLB regular season.
Edited to cover my answer.

Having sports in the Games that are already huge professional endeavors in which the best of the best in the world compete on a regular basis already is not adding anything (baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, tennis, etc). The only worth the Olympics have at this point is shining a light on the sports and disciplines that don't get much of any attention otherwise. And even that worth is waning.
 

bankshot1

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Once every 4 years is dealable for MLB to adjust its schedule to allow for Olympic play. They could re-jigger the start of the season and end and maybe shorten the schedule to accomodate for an Olympic schedule. However given the risks of Delta/covid, this isn't the year to do it. I think the risks probably dictate the Olympics get cancelled this year.

And for better or worse MLB could largely settle the Olympic champs of baseball with an 8 country team round robin tourney held in the US.
 

mauidano

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Doesn't the World Baseball Classic provide enough international excitement already?
 

SumnerH

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Edited to cover my answer.

Having sports in the Games that are already huge professional endeavors in which the best of the best in the world compete on a regular basis already is not adding anything (baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, tennis, etc).
100%. I want the Olympics to expose sports that don't have a huge platform elsewhere, not be yet another tournament for pro sports that are already thriving. I'd get rid of all the ones you listed from the Olympics, plus ice hockey. IIRC boxing is still amateur at the Olympics, but if not it could go too.
 

azsoxpatsfan

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I’m with @Red(s)HawksFan. I love watching track and field, swimming, gymnastics, skiing etc. but I don’t personally find anything super fun about watching Olympic sports that are already major sports. Olympic baseball, basketball, and so on are lower quality of play than the pro leagues. I get it’s entertaining to watch anyway and I have no problem with those sports being included but I don’t want it to mess up the schedules of the pro leagues
 

Fred not Lynn

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100%. I want the Olympics to expose sports that don't have a huge platform elsewhere, not be yet another tournament for pro sports that are already thriving. I'd get rid of all the ones you listed from the Olympics, plus ice hockey. IIRC boxing is still amateur at the Olympics, but if not it could go too.
Without the higher profile sports, you won’t get the platform for the other sports, though. The sports with a legit pro level attract viewers who spill over to the other events.

Honestly, the problem with the Olympics for the lower profile sports is that it’s every four years. You’ll never generate a REAL following that way. Truth is, the whole every four years thing is out-dated. It’s no longer a cool, unique but logistically complicated thing to gather the youth of the world when $1,000 and a passport gets you anywhere you want within 15 hours. No steamships required…

These sports need to get away from relying on Olympic inclusion as their showcase, and hustle up their own fan bases.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Some of you guys seem to be implying that they shouldn't bother holding the FIFA World Cup, because the quality of play on a team-by-team basis might be lower than what you get from the Champions League or the English Premiership.
No. I have no problem with the World Cup, or any other sport exclusive "world" championship like that. I just don't see why in addition to such things, we need all the sports to convene a big tournament in the same place at the same time. In fact, the World Cup being an every four years event kinda makes the Olympic tournament redundant, no?
 

SumnerH

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Without the higher profile sports, you won’t get the platform for the other sports, though. The sports with a legit pro level attract viewers who spill over to the other events.
There are plenty of high-profile/viewership Olympic sports (figure skating, gymnastics, athletics, speed skating, swimming, etc) to draw in eyeballs without the pro sports being there. And at some point the preponderance of already-popular sports takes eyeballs away from other sports.
 
No. I have no problem with the World Cup, or any other sport exclusive "world" championship like that. I just don't see why in addition to such things, we need all the sports to convene a big tournament in the same place at the same time. In fact, the World Cup being an every four years event kinda makes the Olympic tournament redundant, no?
I do think the FIFA World Cup makes the Olympic soccer tournament redundant, yes. But baseball doesn't have a proper World Cup. The WBC takes place in spring training and is used as a training exercise. The Baseball World Championship doesn't use MLB players. I'm not wedded to the idea of having a proper international baseball tournament during the Olympics as such. But I'd love to see one happen...and for that to happen, it probably needs to happen during the Olympics, if for no other reason than because winning an Olympic gold medal (rightly or wrongly) still means something to the athletes themselves, and because it's the only plausible excuse to pause the regular season and get guys playing at a time of year when we're likely to see their peak performance on display.
 

Ale Xander

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Edited to cover my answer.

Having sports in the Games that are already huge professional endeavors in which the best of the best in the world compete on a regular basis already is not adding anything (baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, tennis, etc). The only worth the Olympics have at this point is shining a light on the sports and disciplines that don't get much of any attention otherwise. And even that worth is waning.
Ding ding ding

Olympics are for niche sports like handball, water polo and badminton and historical events like the javelin.
 

Lazy vs Crazy

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The benefit that the NBA has received from sending players to the Olympics can't be overstated. It's changed the league and exploded the popularity of the sport across the world. I think the benefits to the sport overall will outweigh any downside to the MLB season. What's the real harm in trying it? It is a showcase of what the sport can be to people that may not otherwise watch it.
 

Ale Xander

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Translation: Olympics are for sports people don’t really like enough to watch more than 15 minutes every four years…
Not really. I wish there would be a US handball league on national tv every week. I watch a lot of the games every 4 years, much more than 15 minutes. I' really looking forward to COVID ending for a lot of reasons, but one of them is to watch a live top-level handball game in Denmark or Netherlands or somewhere, on a trip.
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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Without the higher profile sports, you won’t get the platform for the other sports, though. The sports with a legit pro level attract viewers who spill over to the other events.

Honestly, the problem with the Olympics for the lower profile sports is that it’s every four years. You’ll never generate a REAL following that way. Truth is, the whole every four years thing is out-dated. It’s no longer a cool, unique but logistically complicated thing to gather the youth of the world when $1,000 and a passport gets you anywhere you want within 15 hours. No steamships required…

These sports need to get away from relying on Olympic inclusion as their showcase, and hustle up their own fan bases.
You think that having baseball, tennis and golf at the Olympics gets people to tune into gymnastics, swimming and track? And that holding the Olympics is no longer logistically complicated?
 

YTF

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Stephen Wright gets injured running the bases and Red Sox Nation is up in arms. Blake Swihart gets injured playing in the outfield and the Sox brass is fucking stupid. Arroyo gets injured and his voice goes up a few octaves making a play at 1B. WTF!!! Just imagine the reaction to Devers tearing up his ACL in Tokyo on the Red Sox dime while representing the DR in the Olympics.

Edited to ask what sort of commitment has the IOC made toward the sport? It was introduced in 1992, axed after the 2008 games and just now being reintroduced.
 
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Fred not Lynn

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You think that having baseball, tennis and golf at the Olympics gets people to tune into gymnastics, swimming and track? And that holding the Olympics is no longer logistically complicated?
The Olympic brand is what gets people to watch. The big name sports get people talking and builds the brand. If people were actually interested in gymnastics, swimming and track, they’d watch those sports in odd-numbered years too.

And holding the Olympics may be as complicated as ever, but the matter of bringing people in from the whole world is much easier than when the Olympics started. Back then, it was a very unique thing. Now it’s normal.
 

mauf

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A sport should only be an Olympic sport if the gold medalist will be considered a world champion by people who care about that sport more than once every four years. By this standard, baseball shouldn’t be an Olympic sport, because the tournament is a glorified exhibition. We certainly shouldn’t interrupt professional baseball for that.

Also, selfishly, I find the NBC coverage unwatchable at times (too much gymnastics, focus on storylines at the expense of the actual competition), so I’d hate to lose the option of watching the Red Sox instead.
 

Awesome Fossum

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I think if I were sports dictator, I'd allow players to join the national teams if they want but not stop the season. So if the Kingdom of the Netherlands qualifies for the Olympics, the Sox are just without Xander for a week or two.

Back in real life, baseball isn't even a permanent Olympics sport, is it? The much better plan is making the World Baseball Classic bigger and better.
 

SumnerH

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Back in real life, baseball isn't even a permanent Olympics sport, is it?
Nothing is a permanent Olympics sport; all sports can be voted in or out at the whim of the IOC. But baseball was dropped as a normally included sport after 2008, and is only in Tokyo as an event-based inclusion by the Tokyo committee.
 

Rovin Romine

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Having sports in the Games that are already huge professional endeavors in which the best of the best in the world compete on a regular basis already is not adding anything (baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, tennis, etc). The only worth the Olympics have at this point is shining a light on the sports and disciplines that don't get much of any attention otherwise. And even that worth is waning.
I prefer amateur/fringe sports. Much of the fun of the Olympics died with "Team USA" in basketball.

The olympics should also add back some artistic endeavors and less athletic skill games.

Also, selfishly, I find the NBC coverage unwatchable at times (too much gymnastics, focus on storylines at the expense of the actual competition), so I’d hate to lose the option of watching the Red Sox instead.
I haven't found the Olympic coverage watchable since the oughts. But I haven't bothered to watch recently.

One just can't get around the snowballing hype. Cool fringey stuff with non-Americans? If Bob Costas (or whomever) can't shoe-horn it into an adversity/dying family member storyline to get eyeballs on Tide with UltraBleach, you'll just have to find it on youtube afterward.
 

Average Reds

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No, the Olympics are worthless relative to the MLB regular season.
My biggest complaint is that the IOC has done a great job tarnishing the “Olympics Brand” to the point where it has become almost meaningless. (Which is not surprising given the autocratic nature and inclinations of the organization.)

The WBC is a nice event. The Olympics seem unnecessary.
 

TheGazelle

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A sport should only be an Olympic sport if the gold medalist will be considered a world champion by people who care about that sport more than once every four years. By this standard, baseball shouldn’t be an Olympic sport, because the tournament is a glorified exhibition. We certainly shouldn’t interrupt professional baseball for that.

Also, selfishly, I find the NBC coverage unwatchable at times (too much gymnastics, focus on storylines at the expense of the actual competition), so I’d hate to lose the option of watching the Red Sox instead.
Totally agree. We don't need to interrupt the season with some dumb competition that will feature hours of coverage about how player X recovered from some personal tragedy instead of showing the games.
 

Ale Xander

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I prefer amateur/fringe sports. Much of the fun of the Olympics died with "Team USA" in basketball.

The olympics should also add back some artistic endeavors and less athletic skill games.
They got archery, badminton, and ping-pong.
 

Rovin Romine

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They got archery, badminton, and ping-pong.
I'm thinking chess, tiddlywinks, parkour, poker, croquet, tug-o-war, kite-fighting, or some just invented sport you send generalist athletes to compete in. Maybe the sport is revealed when you get there.

Screw the sweaty Nike commercials.
 

SumnerH

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I'm thinking chess, tiddlywinks, parkour, poker, croquet, tug-o-war, kite-fighting...
These are both former Olympic sports.

EDIT: Croquet was notable for being the first event in which women competed at the Olympic games. France are the reigning champions. Great Britain are the reigning tug-of-war champions.
 

8slim

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The benefit that the NBA has received from sending players to the Olympics can't be overstated. It's changed the league and exploded the popularity of the sport across the world. I think the benefits to the sport overall will outweigh any downside to the MLB season. What's the real harm in trying it? It is a showcase of what the sport can be to people that may not otherwise watch it.
The NBA got that benefit almost 30 years ago. The media environment is entirely different today. And let's not forget that Jordan, Magic, Bird, etc. were already huge global stars in 1992 -- the marketing campaigns attached to those Games took advantage of that. The same dynamic for today's MLB stars doesn't exist. There is no way that having MLB players in the Olympics would generate a fraction of the bump that the NBA got.

The Dream Team was cool at the time, and it served a purpose after the US lost at the '88 games. No one would care who wins a MLB-infused Olympics -- it wouldn't satisfy some sense of damaged national pride as the Dream Team did.

Put me down as a "hell no".
 

lexrageorge

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I'm not as down on the Olympics in general as most here are. Maybe it's because I always looked forward to them when I was growing up. And there are alternative ways to watch than the tiresome NBC coverage. I do wish it was still amateur only, as I do think pros have plenty of other ways to ply their craft. But I realize that ship sailed forever long time ago, and the Soviets routinely made a mockery of "amateur status" with the teams they fielded, especially in hockey.

Still, the basketball tournament is still fun. Team USA has to actually compete, and while favored, a gold is no longer guaranteed. Hockey is fine as well; the players really seem to like suiting up for their country, and the workload is not really that much, and many of the remaining players do actually benefit from the rest.

As for baseball.... well, thinking back to 2018 (not an Olympic year, but bear with me), there is no way I would want the 2018 Chris Sale throwing 20 or more hard innings in the middle of the season just for Team USA. Pitching, IMO, is the biggest worry. And taking 3 weeks off in the middle of the season is also disruptive to the players that don't play; pitchers and position players have to find ways to stay sharp. But do we really want the remaining players playing exhibition games? Just recall Ted Williams being essentially knocked out of the 1946 World Series after getting hit by a pitch in a meaningless exhibition in September.

I vote No, as the novelty will wear off quickly.