International Olympic Commitee (IOC) President Thomas Bach met Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Japan on Wednesday. In speaking to reporters, he said baseball and softball still had a chance of being included in the 2020 Olympics and that there was a need for more flexibility in the rules.
From an AP report:
... "This will be under discussion," Bach said at a news conference. "We will have the first broad discussion in December in a meeting of the executive board of the IOC, then the executive board will present its first discussion paper to the IOC session in Sochi."
... "I am open for more flexibility in the Olympic program," said Bach, who was elected president in September to succeed Jacques Rogge. "But first we have to see what the rest of my colleagues in the IOC think."
For more, see the AP report here.
Source: Olympic.org 11/20/2013
Baseball and softball have vowed to make another pitch to be readmitted to the Olympics after striking out on Sunday.
... The odds were stacked against baseball and softball winning the vote. Wrestling was only kicked off the Olympic programme seven months ago, but immediately introduced a raft of reforms to win back its place.
... The IOC have never specified exactly why the sports were dropped, the most commonly cited reasons are baseball's refusal to comply with all the World Anti-Doping Agency rules and the absence of Major League Baseball players from the Olympics.
Source: Reuters 9/8/2013
From The Globe and Mail:
... Wrestling received 49 votes, compared with 24 for baseball/softball and 22 for squash in voting by delegates of the Olympic committee. The vote guaranteed that freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling would be contested at least through the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo and the 2024 Olympics, which have yet to be awarded.
... Softball apparently could not convince the IOC of its universal appeal. The United States, Japan and Australia won 11 of the 12 available medals in the four Games in which the sport was contested.
... But there is still a chance that both baseball/softball and squash could be voted into the 2020 games in Tokyo, where baseball is hugely popular and stadiums are in place.
Source: The Globe and Mail 9/8/2013
From NBC Sports:
... There have been reported scenarios that baseball-softball or squash could still get into the 2020 Olympics, by changing the Olympic Charter, the maximum number of sports (28) and cutting events within current Olympic sports to get under the maximum number of athletes (10,500).
... Baseball-softball’s highlight included a video that softball leader Don Porter pledged included full support of all professional leagues around the world. Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig appeared in the video but made no mention of MLB players committing to playing in the Olympics. That has been an issue the last few months.
... Baseball-softball played four videos in all, accompanied by music from the likes of Nicki Minaj and Christina Aguilera. WBSC co-president Porter welled up talking about the oft-reported story of the hundreds of letters on his desk, 511 he said, from girls who are aspiring softball players.
Source: NBC Sports 9/8/2013
From June 4:
|Norichika Aoki||MIL||OAK 3 @ MIL 4||RF||4||1||1||0||0||0||1||.294||Batted lead-off. F8, G6 (force), G3, 1B8 (R), HBP. Extended hitting streak to five games (6-for-22). ... One hit away from 1,500 NPB (1,284) + MLB (215) hits.|
|Munenori Kawasaki||TOR||TOR 1 @ SFN 2||SS||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||.214||Batted eighth. F8, G3. Replaced by pinch-hitter Rajai Davis in the top of the 8th.|
|Ichiro Suzuki||NYY||CLE 3 @ NYY 4||CF/RF||3||1||1||1||0||1||2||.262||Batted lead-off. G4, 1B7 (RBI, R), Ks, SH (E5). Move from center to right in the top of the 7th. His single in the 3rd tied him with Ted Williams on the all-time hits list with 2,654. Has hit safely in five straight (6-for-15).|
|Kensuke Tanaka||SF||LVG 6 @ FRE 5||2B||2||1||2||2||0||0||.313||Batted lead-off. 1B6-8, SF9 (RBI), 1B9 (R), SF7 (RBI).|
|Yu Darvish||TEX||DNP||Next start: June 8 vs Blue Jays.|
|Hisashi Iwakuma||SEA||DNP||Next start: June 5 vs White Sox.|
|Hiroki Kuroda||NYY||DNP||Next start: June 7 vs Mariners. [Nikkan Sports 6/5/2013]|
|Daisuke Matsuzaka||CLE||DNP||The latest on Matsuzaka, from The Columbus Dispatch's Jim Massie: Daisuke Matsuzaka (oblique strain) got on the mound for a third bullpen session today. He will pitch a simulated game on Friday in Toledo and is a week to 10 days from coming off the disabled list. [Columbus Dispatch 6/4/2013] ... Tossed fifty pitches in the bullpen on the 4th. [Nikkan Sports 6/5/2013]|
Olympics News and Notes
The Baseball Federation of Japan (BFJ) and the Japan Softball Association (JSA) have their sights set on obtaining 5,000,000 signatures (total population of people either playing softball or baseball in Japan) to help get baseball back into the Olympics.
Source: Nikkan Sports 6/5/2013
The NPB is open to provide the BFJ and JSA with whatever support it can, however, nothing can be guaranteed until they know the full details and have had a chance to discuss things with the twelve NPB teams.
From May 30:
|Ichiro Suzuki||NYY||NYM 3 @ NYY 1||PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.250||Ichiro entered the game as a pinch-hitter for Austin Romine in the bottom of the 8th and popped out to the catcher in foul territory. He did not remain in the game on defense in the 9th.|
|Kensuke Tanaka||SF||FRE 10 @ TUC 2||2B||5||0||1||0||0||0||.310||Batted lead-off. G4, F7, F8, 2B8, G4. Committed two errors (12): fielding error in the bottom of the 3rd, throwing error in the bottom of the 7th.|
|Yu Darvish||TEX||DNP||Next start: June 2 vs Royals.|
|Kyuji Fujikawa||CHC||DNP||Was transferred to the 60-day disabled list.|
|Hisashi Iwakuma||SEA||DNP||Next start: May 31 vs Twins.|
|Hiroki Kuroda||NYY||DNP||Next start: June 2 vs Red Sox.|
|Hideki Okajima||OAK||OAK 2 @ SFN 5||6-3||2||0.1||1||0||0||0||0||0||3.38||Entered the game in the bottom of the 6th with runners on first and second, two out, and Oakland down 2-1. Allowed both inherited runners to score on a double before getting out of the inning. (WP 1).|
|Hisanori Takahashi||CHC||IOW 1 @ NAS 6||5-4||1||0.1||0||0||0||0||0||0||3.52||Entered the game in the bottom of the 7th with a runner on first, two out, and Iowa down 6-0.|
|Junichi Tazawa||BOS||BOS 9 @ PHI 2||16-15||4||1.0||1||0||0||0||2||0||2.70||Entered the game in the bottom of the 8th with Boston up 6-2.|
July 28 will be Hideki Matsui Day at Yankee Stadium. From press release:
Matsui will sign a one-day minor league contract with the Yankees on July 28 in order to announce his official retirement that day as a New York Yankee. His parents are also expected to be in attendance at the game.
Additionally, on July 28, the Yankees will hold a special pregame homeplate ceremony for Matsui, and the first 18,000 Guests at the game will receive a Hideki Matsui bobblehead presented by AT&T - which portrays the slugger with his 2009 World Series MVP trophy.
Eri Yoshida left for Hawaii out of Haneda Airport on Thursday. She reportedly signed a deal with the Na Koa Ikaika Maui. [Sponichi 5/31/2013]
- Wrestling, Baseball/Softball and Squash made the shortlist for the 2020 Olympics.
- Current proposal includes separate men's baseball and women's softball tournaments. Tournaments will last six days and take place back-to-back. Eight teams will participate in each tournament. Changes to make the sport more appealing include shortening games to seven innings (better for TV) and playing both tournaments in the same stadium (decrease in costs).
- Senichi Hoshino feels baseball should do whatever is necessary to make it back into the Olympics. That includes the new proposal of seven innings games, as well as more radical changes like two outs an inning or three balls for a walk (the idea is that the Majors will be more likely to support the Olympic movement if players are put through less strain). The biggest thing is to get the sport back into the Olympics. [Daily Sports 5/31/2013]
- It should be noted that Bud Selig re-stated that MLB would not pause the schedule to allow players to participate in the Olympics. [USA Today 5/29/2013]
- The Baseball Federation of Japan and the Japan Softball Association would like to bring Hideki Matsui on board to help with lobbying efforts. [Daily Sports 5/31/2013]
by Gen on Apr.27, 2013 @ 2:39 pm, under MLB
Tags: Full, Hiroyuki Nakajima, Hisanori Takahashi, Ichiro Suzuki, Junichi Tazawa, Kensuke Tanaka, Koji Uehara, Kyuji Fujikawa, Munenori Kawasaki, Norichika Aoki, Olympics, Yu Darvish
From April 26:
|Norichika Aoki||MIL||MIL 5 @ LAD 7||RF||4||0||1||1||1||0||2||.259||Batted lead-off. BB, G6, G4, 1B8 (RBI, CS), G5.|
|Hiroyuki Nakajima||OAK||DL||Played in an extended spring training game on Friday. Started at short and batted second. Hit a single to left in his first at bat and grounded out to short in his second at bat. Was replaced on defense in the 5th. [Sponichi 4/27/2013]|
|Munenori Kawasaki||TOR||TOR 4 @ NYY 6||SS||3||1||0||0||0||1||2||.216||Batted ninth. HBP (R), L5, F9, Ks.|
|Ichiro Suzuki||NYY||TOR 4 @ NYY 6||RF||3||0||1||0||1||2||3||.243||Batted sixth. 1B5, Ks, Kl, IBB. ... Four-game hitting streak (6-for-15).|
|Kensuke Tanaka||SF||FRE 9 @ REN 8||2B||5||2||4||2||0||0||.392||Batted lead-off. G6, 2B7 (R), 1B6 (CS), 3B7 (RBI, R), 1B9 (RBI, CS). ... Fourth straight multi-hit game (11-for18).|
|Yu Darvish||TEX||DNP||An interesting Darvish overlay gif that has been making the rounds, created by Drew Sheppard.|
|Kyuji Fujikawa||CHC||DL||Played catch at a max distance of about fifty meters on Friday. Also tossed a bullpen session for the first time since he was placed on the DL-- twenty-five pitches, all fastballs, had someone stand in the batter's box for the last three pitches. [Sponichi 4/27/2013]|
|Hisanori Takahashi||CHC||IOW 4 @ OMA 5||11-9||4||1.0||1||1||1||0||1||1||3.86||Entered the game in the bottom of the 7th, with the score tied at two.|
|Junichi Tazawa||BOS||HOU 3 @ BOS 7||8-7||3||0.2||1||0||0||0||1||0||1.59||Entered the game in the 7th with runners on first and third, one out, and Boston up 6-2.|
|Koji Uehara||BOS||HOU 3 @ BOS 7||17-14||4||1.0||1||0||0||0||1||0||1.86||Entered the game in the 8th with Boston up 6-3.|
Bud Selig will not temporarily pause the season in August for the Olympics. From an AP report:
... "Look, we can't stop our season in August. We just can't," baseball Commissioner Bud Selig told the Associated Press Sports Editors on Thursday. "You can't say to your fans: `We'll see you in the next period of time. Your club loses some players but yours doesn't."
... Some have suggested major leaguers could play in the Olympics during an extended All-Star break. Selig was clear that MLB's schedule will not be interrupted, and that weather made an earlier start or later ending impossible.
He also mentions hope for a "true World Series."
The Central League held their usual board of directors meeting today in Tokyo and decided that all six teams will wear caps with the league slogan (セが制す！ The Central League will beat them down!) during Inter-league play.
Source: Sponichi 4/8/2013
The NPB held two meetings in Tokyo today. The following issues were discussed:
- The NPB and amateur organizations are in the midst of creating a new system that will allow former professional players to coach amateur players after they take a training course. The NPB is hoping to supplement the course with a new training program.
- A Samurai Japan team made up of NPB players will not play any international games in November. Instead, the league approved the decision to allow teams competing at four amateur international tournaments later this year to wear the Samurai Japan uniform.
- The CL would like to decrease the number of Inter-league games to eighteen. The PL does not want any changes.
Seventeen home runs were hit on Sunday (five games). Before Sunday, August 25, 2010 was the last time seventeen home runs were hit in one day (six games). Since the introduction of the new standard baseball: fourteen each on April 15, 2011 and May 3, 2011.
Last year, ten or more home runs were hit in one day nine times. This year, there have already been three days of ten or more home runs: thirteen on April 5, ten on April 6, and seventeen on April 7. This marked the first time ten or more home runs were hit each day over a span of three days since the introduction of the new ball.
The league is currently averaging about 1.39 home runs per game. Over a year, that works out to about 1,199 home runs. Home runs totals, beginning the year before the introduction of the new ball: 1,605 in 2010, 939 in 2011, and 881 in 2012.
Yakult Swallow Shinichi Takeuchi was quoted as saying the following: "Even when looking at footage from games, it seems like the ball is traveling more this year, compared to last year. ... It could be that everyone has finally gotten used to the new ball and is handling things better."
UPDATE 4/9 @ 3:26pm - Sponichi notes that of the seventy-two home runs hit through the 8th, seventeen, or twenty-four percent, have been recorded by players that appeared in the WBC. The same players hit just three home runs over the same period last year. SP also notes that the 2011 season began in a similar way before dropping to lower levels.
Source: Sponichi 4/9/2013
Shintaro Fujinami (Hanshin) and Shohei Otani (Nippon Ham) will appear in a video presentation at the next IBAF meeting in Japan on the 14th. There were plans to use other players (retired/active), but the two youngsters were selected because they are considered two of the best of the next generation of candidates for the national team.
The IBAF and ISF is also planning to make a "major announcement regarding the bid for inclusion at the 2020 Olympic Games" on the 14th. A new website (www.playball2020.com) will also open on the same day.
According a report published earlier today, the IBAF is considering changes to make baseball games more appealing to the International Olympic Committee, with a focus on making games better suited for TV broadcast. Among the changes being considered: shortening games to seven innings and implementing tie-break rules for games that head into extra inning.
Source: Sponichi 12/20/2012
The final results of the International Baseball Federation's mail-in ballot were announced Wednesday and saw unanimous approval from the IBAF membership to create a new and unified world body that would govern both baseball and softball at the international level.
... "We are moving forward with our colleagues from softball in an effort to streamline administration, add key support to our athletes and NFs and further develop our sports, and we look forward to presenting an exceptional value proposal to the Olympic Movement for 2020 and beyond," Fraccari stated.
... "As we prepare our first important presentation to the IOC [Programme Commission] as a joint IF in a few days, this confirmation from IBAF gives us added inspiration and momentum," Porter said.
... the IBAF and the ISF (International Softball Federation) signed a Memorandum of Unterstanding (MOU) that is intended to manage the project of a merger between the 2 International Federations in order to strengthen the joint bid for baseball and softball reinstatement in the Olympic programme, starting the 2020 Games. ... The 2 Federations were represented by their Presidents: Riccardo Fraccari and Don Porter.
The International Baseball Federation (IBAF) and the International Softball Federation (ISF) have announced their plans to merge into a single International Federation (IF). This announcement follows meetings of both the ISF and IBAF Executive Committees, who will recommend to their respective Congresses the formal merger.
The IBAF President Riccardo Fraccari and ISF President Don Porter communicated their Federations’ intentions in a joint letter to the President and Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
In so doing, the sports of (men’s) baseball and (women’s) softball will be presented as two disciplines of a single IF for consideration for inclusion in the 2020 Olympic Games programme.
And a snip from an Associated Press report (click in for a lot more info):
The IOC executive board will decide next May which sport to recommend for inclusion. The final decision will be made in a vote of the full IOC in Buenos Aires in September 2013.
The absence of major league players in the Olympics was a major factor in the IOC's decision to drop baseball, and the issue remains crucial to any chance of reinstatement. Major League Baseball has been unwilling to shut down the season during the Olympics.
... Porter and Fraccari said they have scheduled a meeting with MLB officials in New York on Aug. 1 to seek a solution.