Friday, August 6, 2021

HoraceClarke66: O Olympians!

 Warning: He might digress...

As we prepare for the gold medal, Olympics baseball finale between the United States and Japan, I can’t help noticing that such former Yanks as David Robertson, Tyler Austin, and yes, Masahiro Tanaka, are killing it—even as Cooperstown Cashman scurries to find replacement bodies for our merry band of disease mongers.

 But I come not to bury Coops, but to ignore him. What I want to point out is that baseball is appearing in the Olympics this year only by command request of the host country. Our beloved game will vanish again in Paris, site of the 2024 Olympiad—though like Brigadoon Refsnyder, it will miraculously reappear when the Games are in L.A. and then Down Under, in the following two Olympiads.

 Does this make any sense? Of course not! 

 The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is probably the one sporting body on this planet that could make MLB look good by comparison. Along with maybe FIFA. And the NCAA. 

But I digress!

The problem the IOC has with baseball is that MLB won’t stop the season every four years so that the very best players in the world can compete in the Games. For this, they are penalizing our national pastime by refusing to make it a permanent part of the Olympics.

 To which our general response would normally be a resounding, “Blow it out your collective ears, you world-class collection of venal idiots!”

 Professional baseball, lest we forget, started the first sporting leagues anywhere ever on the planet, some 25 years before the modern Olympics were revived. 

 In that time, among other things, baseball and its fans learned that our game is so complex, so immensely difficult and close and interesting, that it’s utterly ridiculous to think a tournament decided in one-game matches means anything at all. Even the playoffs and World Series don’t necessarily tell you who really has the best team.

 Why would nonsense like the Olympic baseball competition, or equally silly spectacles such as the World Baseball Classic, decide anything?

 The only trouble is that the IOC—nobody’s fools when it comes to a shakedown—have made women’s softball a permanent hostage to baseball. If the men don’t show up, the women don’t get to play.

 This “rule” seems particularly silly when it comes to an international committee that can and does make up any rules it wants, all the time. But there it is.

 The hypocrisy of the greedy gods on our modern Mount Olympus knows no bounds. Has the NBA sent its best players on any consistent basis since the Dream Team smote all before it? Does that exhausted clump of players who can’t beat France remind you of the very best in the world?

 Or take soccer. Please.

 Are the very best soccer players in the world at the Olympics? Ever? Are Ronaldo or Messi tearing up the pitch in Tokyo?

 No, they are not—because the IOC has an agreement with FIFA wherein the latter will not send any players over the age of 23, so as not to spoil the soccer World Cup.

 But even then, FIFA does not consider the Olympics to be “a full soccer tournament,” and so will not compel any players to go to the Games.

 Cute, huh? 

 As it is, competitions in this year’s Olympics included indoor (plastic) rock climbing, three-on-three basketball, and karate kata—as well as the usual, enjoyable nonsense such as team handball, walking races, and the human steeplechase.

 What is karate kata? I hear you ask.

The official definition is, “a set sequence of karate moves organized into a pre-arranged fight against imaginary opponents.” After which the kata fighter puts on a fearsome frown.


I’m not making this up. “Imaginary opponents.”

What’s next? A pump-fake competition? A speed-bag event? The warm-up swing contest? (Looking at you, future gold medalist Giancarlo Stanton!)

 Apparently Indians lament that the Olympics have not included their national sport, which is kabaddi, described in the Times yesterday as a sort of massive tag game in which the person who is “it” has to keep repeating, “kabaddi” over and over.


Again: not making this up.

 Enough already. Baseball is widely played around the globe. Put it in and keep it in. And stop threatening softball like you’re putting a gun to some dog’s head: “Play or the pooch gets it!”

 Once that’s settled…I wouldn’t mind seeing a good kabaddi match.


TheWinWarblist said...

A good kabaddi match? It sounds like Ringolevio made it to the subcontinent. I'd definitely watch that.

HoraceClarke66 said...


Maybe that should become our password.

Publius said...

Excellent, even Olympian, rant. Baseball is a part time olympic sport, and the other most popular sport in the plus the forward not an Olympic sport. Very good. As the rather short day of imperial America wanes, this is perhaps the last vestige of American exceptionalism.

Anonymous said...

They are holding the Olympics ?

The next Olympics will hold a medal competition called Furgettabouit where the country that disses its own country on the world stage the best gets medals.


The Disinterested Archangel

ranger_lp said...

Cricket is not an Olympic sport either (yes, we have a national team).

The IOC is one of the most corrupt organizations on the planet. Can't be bothered watching the Olympics for that reason.

Anonymous said...

I'm boycotting until they make Cornhole a medal event.

Let the Games Begin.

The Archangel

JM said...

Thank God curling is there for good.