Bud Selig strikes again. Despite the fact that allowing MLB players to participate in the Olympics would boost the sport’s possibility of getting readmitted in 2020, and grow baseball worldwide, Selig pounded a nail in that coffin Thursday.
“We can’t stop our season in August,” Selig told the Associated Press sports editors. “Do I wish I could? Yes. But is it practical? No.”
Baseball, which was last competed in Beijing, has done what it can to help gain some momentum heading into May’s IOC vote, including merging with the international softball federation to form a joint bid that looks more attractive to the IOC.
But IOC President Jacques Rogge said baseball should allow top athletes to compete, much like hockey and basketball have over the last couple decades, and it’s probably in baseball’s best interest to oblige.
We get where Selig is coming from: Where do you get the two weeks back? We already have snowed-out games in late-April, and having the World Series in mid-November would raise the same issues.
And quite honestly, NBA commissioner David Stern has always hated sending his players due to the stress an extra month or two of play puts on them in the summer. And NHL commissioner Gary Bettman despises stopping his season for the Olympics every four years. But both men know what it means to growing their sports internationally. Just look at basketball since the Dream Team.
If Selig wants to sell jerseys from Kalamazoo to Timbuktu, he would do well to follow their lead.
David Ortiz called his good friend Aly Raisman on Thursday night. Raisman had one request for their scheduled meeting for Friday.
“I told him that he had to hold my medals while I threw out the first pitch,” Raisman said on NESN. “I told him he better not forget, but he remembered.”
Ortiz made it a highlight, wearing Raisman’s three Rio medals and plodding as if they were weighing him down before the Royals-Red Sox game at Fenway Park on Friday night.
It was reminiscent of Bryce Harper serving as a medal rack for Katie Ledecky on Wednesday night.
Ortiz and Raisman have come to know each other in the last four years, after Raisman’s first Olympic appearance in London. Raisman, a native of Needham, Massachusetts, has attended a gala and golf tournament benefitting Ortiz’s children’s charity.
She previously threw a first pitch at Fenway following the 2012 London Games. It didn’t faze Raisman that her pitch Friday bounced before reaching home plate.
“My pitch was horrible, but that’s OK,” Raisman said on NESN. “I’m good at gymnastics, so it doesn’t matter.”
Raisman will rejoin her Final Five teammates for a USA Gymnastics tour of 36 cities that begins Sept. 15. Whether she returns to competitive gymnastics is unknown.
MORE: Gymnastics royalty reacts to Biles and Raisman’s Olympic heroics
Claressa Shields may just be the most dominant female athlete on the planet. The Flint, Mich., native is now a two-time Olympic boxing champion with a 77-1 record and a four-year unbeaten streak.
Actor Mark Wahlberg, who played boxer Micky Ward in the 2010 film “The Fighter,” took notice.
He taped a video that Shields watched before a celebration in her hometown Thursday, according to the Flint Journal.
“You are the true definition of a champion,” Wahlberg said. “You continue to inspire so many people, not only in Flint, but all over the world. I’m so proud of you. Your performance was amazing. God bless you. I look forward to seeing you, and I look forward to doing lots of things with you.”
Now Shields must decide whether to turn professional, which would end her Olympic career.
“Professional women’s boxing is not nowhere near on the same attention level as the Olympics are,” the 21-year-old Shields said, according to the Flint Journal. “I get way more attention than any female boxer who is professional right now with me being an amateur.
“So the goal is to go professional but still have that same attention and same mainstream. Hopefully, if they have the rule changed that the women professionals can come back and fight the Olympics, I would go professional to fight on TV and make a bunch of money but then come back and defend my two gold medals in 2020.”
MORE: Shields becomes first U.S. fighter to win back-to-back golds