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Perhaps the end of Olympic baseball is all for the best (UPDATE)
2008-07-26 12:15
by Bob Timmermann

From the LA Times Olympics blog:


Extra innings during Beijing Olympic baseball games will have something extra.

The rules will stay the same for the first 10 innings, but if a contest stretches into an 11th inning, each team would begin its next at-bat with runners on first and second. Managers also will be allowed to start the 11th at any point in their batting order.

Here's how it would work, according to the Associated Press: A manager who chooses to lead off the 11th with the club's No. 3 hitter would have to put the No. 1 batter on second base and the No. 2 hitter on first. If there's a 12th inning, it would begin wherever the previous lineup left off -- again with two batters on base and one at the plate.

Now there is a variation of this in softball, but that's a much lower-scoring game than baseball.


I remember sitting through a 14-inning game in 1984 between Taiwan (Chinese Taipei) and Korea that was scoreless through 13 before the Taiwanese pushed across three in the top of the 14 to win 3-0. Korea had just three hits. I still remember the audible groan by the sold out crowd at Dodger Stadium when the Taiwanese right fielder threw out a Korean runner at the plate in the 11th.

Not that the crowd was rooting more for one side or the other. They just wanted the game over. We had to go chant "USA! USA! USA!" for the likes of Barry Larkin, Mark McGwire, and Will Clark. Except Japan won the gold by a 6-3 score.

UPDATE - Japanese team manager Senichi Hoshino is not happy about the rule change at all.

"I want to strongly protest this," Hoshino said. "We're not playing exhibitions. We will be fighting all out to be the best in the world.

"I cannot be satisfied with the international federation making this change without consultation."

USA team coach Davey Johnson hasn't spoken publicly about the rule change as far as I can tell.

2008-07-25 15:26:22
1.   Zak
Maybe Jim Bowden came up with the idea.
2008-07-25 15:27:23
2.   Eric Stephen
I'd rather have a tie in the All-Star game than this solution. Good grief.
2008-07-25 15:27:57
3.   trainwreck
I have never watched an inning of Olympic baseball.
2008-07-25 15:33:43
4.   Bob Timmermann
NBC hardly showed any Olympic baseball in 2004 because the US didn't qualify.

Then again in 2000, NBC hardly showed any and the US won the gold.

Eric Collins and Joe Magrane will handle the chores for NBC. I don't know if they are going to go to Beijing to call the games.

2008-07-25 15:37:50
5.   grandcosmo
>>>Except Japan won the gold by a 6-3 score.

Baseball in 1984 was a demonstration sport so no medals were awarded.

2008-07-25 15:43:02
6.   Bob Timmermann
There were medals awarded, they just looked different from the real ones.
2008-07-25 15:46:15
7.   Gagne55
I've never been much of a fan of the Olympics to be honest. In part because most of the events don't really interest me and with time zone issues most of the results are available before their broadcast. I did love the WBC though. Prolly because it focused just on a sport I love, didn't take away from the season and had recognizable players. It seemed more like a real international tournament.
2008-07-25 15:46:36
8.   Zak
6 Did they have chocolate inside?
2008-07-25 15:50:01
9.   Eric Stephen
Bob, it looks like the baseball announcers will do so from a studio in New York.

"The 10 events (out of 34) that NBC will cover remotely are archery, badminton, baseball, equestrian, fencing, handball, shooting, soccer, softball and tennis. Some basketball games also will be called off monitors in New York."

2008-07-25 15:59:43
10.   Bob Timmermann
Fencing was the only Olympic sport in 2004 that I did not see any of. I try to see one minute of every sport. Even ones I hate, like synchronized swimming.

And I wanted to see Sada Jacobsen!

2008-07-25 16:11:25
11.   JL25and3
He left out one rule. A hit doesn't count unless the pitcher said "Simon Says" before pitching.
2008-07-25 16:29:17
12.   grandcosmo
Its interesting that the IOC cannot see a justification for continuing baseball (baseball!!!) as a medal sport but they can justify BMX.
2008-07-25 16:33:31
13.   Bob Timmermann
But BMX is rad.
2008-07-25 17:30:18
14.   DXMachina
You know, here I was worrying about how some day baseball might decide tie games using a home run derby, much like soccer does with penalty kicks, and they came up with something that's possibly even worse. Who's on the committee that decided this. Are any of them from countries that actually play baseball.
2008-07-25 17:37:47
15.   ToyCannon
I loved our softball tie break rule. Each team got 3 hitters and whoever had the most total bases won the game.

I've long felt that baseball would be much more interesting if the final score was based on total bases instead of runs.

2008-07-25 17:41:11
16.   Bob Timmermann
The president of the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) is an American, Dr. Harvey Schiller.
2008-07-25 20:00:56
17.   xaphor
15 Have you tried cricket?
2008-07-25 21:21:24
18.   Travis08
Games tied in regulation in the Texas high school football playoffs used to be (at least as of 1987, the year before Friday Night Lights) awarded to the team with the most first downs in the game.
2008-07-26 11:53:28
19.   Linkmeister
4 Ooh! Harry Kalas and Les Keiter should do re-creations, with the wooden block to make the sound of bat hitting ball!

2008-07-26 12:55:14
20.   Greg Brock
I'm more upset by softball getting the axe than baseball.

I thought the WBC was great and will only get better, so whatever for Olympic baseball.

2008-07-27 00:06:10
21.   Xeifrank
The smog/pollution in Beijing is a joke. The players will be happy to get any game over with early. vr, Xei

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