The Olympics are a time for the best and brightest of the nation to come together and prove who is the best. Intense physical competitions requiring precision focus and animal strength are stacked around the clock, leaving one with no time to catch their breath. Over two weeks, human perfection is on display as athletes are pushed to their limits, all for the honor of hearing their country’s anthem playing for all to hear as they stand atop one of the most prestigious awards platforms of all time
And baseball isn’t invited to the party
Snubbed by the International Olympic Committee (in favor of such athletic competitions as horse dressage and skeet shooting), baseball now joins a cluster of misfit sports at the bottom of the IOC wastebasket. It just doesn’t seem right. America’s pastime sharing the same spot on the shelf as has-beens like croquet and polo? This should not be. The world is now deprived of seeing Mark Trumbo blast a line-drive clear over the left-field wall. With few exceptions, those outside the States will never know the speed of a Peter Bourjos steal, or a Mike Trout dash-and-leap into center field. The eyes of Earth will not be looking when Weaver, Wilson, Haren, Santana, and now Zack Greinke leave ‘em lookin. How can these feats of dynamic strength fall off the radar while sailors compete to see who can make their boat go the fastest?
Baseball is clearly a sport worthy of more respect, perhaps other fallen Olympic events deserve some respect as well. Maybe by combining with another physical contest, baseball can get that little extra push that the Olympic Committee needs to see to bring it back to the limelight. Unfortunately, rejected sports like jau de plome and racquets weren’t known for their nail biting excitement and water motorsports doesn’t have a place outside of the Kauffman Stadium fountains. To narrow it down: The choices are rugby, or tug-of-war. Rugby has a reputation for being a violent sport, and the Halos are one injury away from an extended string of Vernon Wells starts.
Tug of war it is.
The problem now is the MLB’s notorious resistance to change. It is no secret that, despite the outcry of fans, Commissioner Selig has been resisting the pull of instant replay for years. The solution is to start small. Take the NFL’s formula for change and introduce tug of war rules only in the playoffs to start. Wild cards are contested by full team 40-on-40 tug of war matches. World Series games go best-of-seven games and best-of-3 starting roster rope wars. Soon, all tie games and tied records go to tug-of-war tiebreaker. Coaches will be train Triple-A players to be “pullers” and keep them on the bench like NHL enforcers. Baseball is back in the Olympic Games and the MLB has a new draw that should bring in fans by the thousands.
And if the Angels can somehow manage to coax Bengie Molina out of retirement to act as an anchor, they will instantly become one of the most feared tiebreakers in the game.
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Now, wait a minute. Could you maybe use a different example than skeet shooting? Maybe field hockey or whatever? I was miffed when the Olympics dropped double trap but forgave them when they added skeet. I'd love to shoot skeet or even trap if I were better at it. I tried it in April and was awful, I won't even try to blame the fact that I was shooting a turkey gun. For now, as long as I can hit the poppers where I compete, I'm fine.
What Kim Rhode did was absolutely amazing, going 99/100 (tying a world record) and beating the Chinese woman by eight clays. Eight! For an individual medal in five straight Olympics, the only American who has ever accomplished this feat. And, at only 33, I'm pretty sure she will be back next Olympics to add to it. She was powdering them in the final round. Just amazing. And dedicated. She traveled around the country to shoot in the rain in preparation for London and, boy, did that little touch came in handy in the finale.
A gal I know is enrolling her daughter in classes at Oak Tree Gun Club since Kim shoots there so often and is hoping to bump into her so her daughter can hear her story personally. I hope she does. It would be pretty cool to know a future Olympian.