After the World Baseball Softball Confederation was unceremoniously shot down by MLB commissioner Bud Selig, who said he won’t stop his season for the Games, the governing body is giving one last ditch effort to earn a spot in the Olympics before the IOC votes on its fate.
Members of the WBSC met with the MLB and MLBPA again recently to discuss the possibility of Major Leaguers being released by the league for just the semifinals and finals of the Olympic tournament. Or really anything at all.
“We would limit the overall number of games, down to six days of competition, so there would be a minimal number of days away from their teams.” Federation co-president Don Porter told USA Today Sports. “There’s been a real positive discussion with the players association and other representatives from Major League Baseball to work towards something.”
The WBSC is also considering limiting Olympic tournament games to seven innings, as opposed to nine, as well as growing the sport internationally by building training centers in Muslim countries.
“We’re keeping an open mind to put together something that’s not the same ol’, same ol’,” Porter said.
Baseball and softball were both voted out of the Olympics by the IOC back in 2005, and were last seen at the Beijing Games in 2008. The absence of MLB players was particularly damning to baseball during the decision, so inking a deal with the Majors and international leagues before the IOC’s next vote May 29 in St. Petersburg would go a long way in earning the sport its spot back.
It has been 300 days since Jim Craig first announced he would sell a bundle of his “Miracle on Ice” memorabilia, including his gold medal, for $5.7 million.
They didn’t sell last year. So he took most of the items in the original bundle and is splitting them up in an auction that runs though June 17.
On Tuesday, Craig said he had no thoughts about keeping the most precious items in the 10 months in between sales.
“We wanted to sell an entire collection to a person that would have the financial means to be able to display it, hopefully that everybody would be able to come and enjoy it like they have the last 35 years,” Craig said. “It’s a lot better than being tucked in a closet.”
There are a few items from the original bundle that Craig decided not to auction this time around — a 1980 Sports Illustrated Sportsmen of the Year trophy, two watches that he gave to his kids and an Olympic ring.
VIDEO: Which Miracle item is toughest for Craig to sell?
Christie Rampone, the 40-year-old captain of the 2015 U.S. Women’s World Cup team, has yet to return to full fitness after December knee surgery and pulled out of a U.S. camp ahead of two pre-Olympic friendlies in June.
Her bid for a fifth Olympics, and to become the oldest U.S. Olympic soccer player of all time, is in danger.
The camp begins Friday. The friendlies against rival Japan (which failed to qualify for Rio) are June 2 and June 5.
“I don’t feel 100 percent healthy enough to train and compete at that level,” Rampone said in a press release Tuesday. “I’ve been able to manage myself and contribute to Sky Blue [her club team] this season, which I will continue to do, but I also have an understanding of the level of fitness and health needed to push for an Olympic roster spot, and I know I’m not there right now. It’s not the right choice for myself or the team to put myself in that environment.”
Rampone, a defender, hasn’t played for the U.S. since her December arthroscopic knee surgery. At the 2015 Women’s World Cup, she played a total of 14 minutes.
The U.S. national team is currently without nine players from the 23-player World Cup team, though some are expected back for the Olympics, but only one of the missing other than Rampone is a defender (the retired Lori Chalupny).
The U.S. Olympic women’s soccer team for London was named in May 2012, but the Rio roster of 18 players is expected to be announced by early July.
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