Baseball disappeared from the Olympic schedule after the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but America’s pastime returns in Tokyo this summer.
Six countries, including the United States, will compete against each other in baseball over a period of 12 days.
Team USA did pretty well in the Olympics after winning gold in 2000. The US won bronze in 2008 but failed to qualify in 2004.
Team USA’s roster does not consist of current MLB stars. In fact, not a single player from a 40-man MLB roster for a country competes in the Olympics. Even so, there are still recognizable players in Tokyo.
Here’s everything you need to know about Olympic baseball in 2021:
What is the TV schedule for baseball at the Tokyo Olympics like?
All Tokyo Olympic baseball games are broadcast on NBC and NBC-affiliated channels, including NBCSN, the Olympic Channel and Peacock.
NBC’s full schedule for the 2021 Olympics includes over 5,000 hours of content by channel and sport.
When do Team USA’s Olympic Baseball Games take place?
The baseball event started with the group stage, in which the six teams were divided into two groups. Group A consisted of Japan, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic, and Group B was the United States, South Korea, and Israel. The three teams played a round robin to determine the seeding for the knockout phase.
After each team had opened two games, the knockout phase began. The game started on Tuesday July 27th and will end with the gold medal game on Saturday August 7th.
The US won their two round robin games before falling to Japan on Monday. Team USA will next play the Dominican Republic on Tuesday at 11 p.m. ET with a semi-final at stake.
Who is on the US Tokyo Olympic Baseball Team?
With the Olympics being the regular season of Major League Baseball, you won’t see any of the American MLB stars play for Team USA. Instead, the roster consists of smaller leagues, Americans who play overseas, and former MLB players who are now free agents.
The most recognizable names on the list are Todd Frazier, Edwin Jackson, David Robertson, and Scott Kazmir. Frazier was a two-time All-Star Third Base Player during his 11-year MLB career. Jackson was a World Series champion, one-time all-star, and owner of a no-hitter. Over 17 seasons in the Big League he played for 14 different clubs, the best of all MLB players of all time. Robertson was a one-time all-star reliever and Kazmir was a three-time all-star pitcher, who last returned to the MLB with a start for the San Francisco Giants in May.
In addition to Kazmir, Robertson, and Jackson, the rest of the pitching team consists of Shane Baz, Anthony Carter, Brandon Dickson, Anthony Gose, Nick Martinez, Scott McGough, Joe Ryan, Ryder Ryan, and Simeon Woods-Richardson. The catchers are Tim Federowicz and Mark Kolozsvary.
Frazier’s infielder includes Nick Allen, Eddy Alvaraez, Triston Casas and Jamie Westbrook. The outfield is occupied by Tyler Austin, Eric Filia, Patrick Kivlehan, Jack Lopez and Bubba Starling. Former Los Angeles Angels skipper Mike Scioscia is the manager of Team USA.
Which baseball team is most likely to win the Tokyo Olympics?
It was a pretty wide open race for baseball arriving in Tokyo. The host country Japan was the favorite to win gold and was ranked the No. 1 team in the world and a +130 favorite, according to PointsBet. The USA was directly behind with +300, followed by South Korea with +450.
While the MLB doesn’t allow anyone on a 40-man roster to compete in the Olympics, the Japanese professional league, Nippon Professional Baseball, does not. NPB, as it is called, is taking a mid-season break to accommodate the Olympics.
Japan has never won gold. In 2008, South Korea defeated Cuba in the gold medal game while the United States defeated Japan in the bronze medal game. Former New York Yankees All-Star Masahiro Tanaka, who returned to NPB last season, headlines Japan’s Pitching Team.
Cuba leads all countries in medals, but shockingly, the country did not qualify for this year’s Olympics. It has won gold three times and silver twice. The United States has three medals – one gold and two bronze medals – and Japan has one silver and two bronze medals. In addition to a bronze, South Korea has the other gold medal.
Why was baseball removed from the Olympics?
The relationship between the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and baseball has been rocky for years. After becoming a mainstay of the Games for a few years, the sport was voted out by the IOC on the grounds that there was not enough global interest and not enough stars from the sport competed in the Olympic Games. As a result, baseball was not featured in the 2012 or 2016 Olympics.
Baseball returns in 2021 largely due to the popularity of the sport in host country Japan. It won’t be shown at the 2024 Paris Olympics, but there is a chance of a return at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.
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