Baseball/Softball’s History: The two sports joined forces to create the World Baseball Softball Confederation earlier this year to strengthen the 2020 bid. America’s pastime was an Olympic sport form 1992 to 2008, but both were ousted in a 2005 IOC vote for failing to be universally played by all the participating Olympic nations.
Notable Stats: Only six countries have ever won an Olympic medal in baseball, and only four have won in softball. See what they mean by the sports not being universal enough?
The Pitch: The WBSC has begun growing the sport internationally, both with the World Baseball Classic and by building training centers in new countries. Officials are also willing to limit the number of games and lower the innings from nine to seven to appease the IOC. But the biggest sticking point is whether the pros will be playing in the Olympics, and so far the answer from the Majors is no.
The Odds: 10 to 1. Once thought a shoo-in to reenter the Olympics, now the joint bid might not even make Wednesday’s shortlist. Last second support from the MLB to allow its pros to play in the Olympic tournament – even just the semis and finals – would dramatically boost the bid, but MLB commissioner Bud Selig has already said he won’t stop his season for the Olympics. With the precedent to include pros set by hockey and basketball, baseball and softball seem doomed.