Last week’s vote that kept baseball out of the Olympics may have been a permanent blow to the sport’s relationship with the Olympic movement.
Dr. Harvey Schiller, president of the International Baseball Federation, says in an e-mail newsletter that IBAF does not intend to push for baseball’s inclusion in the 2020 Games. In essence, Schiller says IBAF got the message loud and clear from the International Olympic Committee: Baseball is not wanted as part of the Olympics.
"At this point we do not think that would be prudent for a number of reasons, the biggest of which is that baseball has now been rejected twice by the senior members of the IOC, which is a clear message that despite any changes we make, we are not part of their plan," Dr. Schiller wrote. "Also contrary to what we were originally told, the two sports that made it to the vote in Copenhagen, golf and rugby, have been informed they will be part of the programme in 2020. This was yet another clear message that the IOC has no interest in baseball.
"It makes much more sense to spend all our time, money and effort in continued development of the game around the world, as opposed to making futile attempts to work with a group that has no interest in partnering with baseball."
Dr. Schiller also noted that countries with strong baseball traditions that were expected to vote to support baseball failed to come through in last week’s IOC committee vote. Noting the political process, Dr. Schiller wrote, "Of the countries where we thought we would have had 100 percent support . . . Italy, Japan, Puerto Rico, Germany and Mexico especially . . . we never received more than two votes per round, meaning for some reason unknown to us, even those countries where the sport is strong, officials still didn’t think that baseball should be part of the Olympic programme, despite all that we had done.
"It was clear from the start of the process that several senior IOC officials were in favor of rugby and golf, and many comments made on and off the record supported that fact, so perhaps that is why we did not get the votes we were anticipating and had been promised last week."
And that is why baseball may never return to the Olympic Games. The votes, quite simply, are not there.