The return of America’s pastime to the Olympics may be more imminent than we dreamed possible.
The International Baseball Federation and the International Softball Federation signed an agreement Monday, according to the AP, and are moving forward on a merger to strengthen its’ bids and be reinstated for the 2020 Games, which will take place in either Madrid, Istanbul, or Tokyo.
The merger still has to be approved by the governing bodies of both sports, but members are preparing a presentation for a December meeting with the IOC’s Olympic program commission. They’ll be going up against squash, karate, roller sports, wushu, wakeboarding, and sport climbing in a vote next September.
The presentation will apparently include some significant changes to the tournament, including shortening it to six days and making pro players available for the semifinals and finals. That change would obviously cause a slight hiatus in the MLB season, since the Olympics usually take place in July and August just as playoff races are just starting to heat up.
We’re not sure if MLB commissioner Bud Selig and the owners would agree to the short break, but we’re guessing it would be a pretty hard and fast (and awkward) “no.”
The two sports were bumped from the Olympic schedule back in 2005 and were last contested in Beijing, with South Korea winning the men’s gold and Japan taking the title for the women. Both sports lost out on reinstatement for Rio, when golf and rugby sevens were added instead.