Thursday, August 13, 2009

IOC Keeps Schiller's Team on the Bench; No Baseball in 2016 Games

Harvey Schiller, President of the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) could perhaps see the writing on the wall this morning when he logged onto his Facebook page.

Perhaps more accurately, Schiller's friends and supporters of the game of baseball could see the writing on his wall.

At 9:00 this morning, Schiller wrote on his Facebook profile, "Don't be surprised if rugby and softball are voted in for 2016: men's rugby and women's softball. Answers both the gender and quality issue with decreased roster size. We'll know in about an hour."

As the clock struck 10:00 AM, Schiller's message seemed prophetic as the announcement was released by the IBAF after the announcement came from Berlin on
which two sports would be presented for vote in October in Copenhagen for re-instatement for the 2016 Olympics.

“The IBAF would like to congratulate golf and rugby on their selection today."

"Both will be welcome additions to the Olympic programme and should add great
excitement to which ever city is selected to host the Olympic Games in 2016. We
also want to wish nothing but the best to karate, roller sports, softball and squash, who were also not selected today.

"All of the seven sports under consideration have proven through the selection process that they are worthy of Olympic Games inclusion."

"Today is certainly a disappointing day for the billions of fans and participants around the globe who love the game of baseball, especially for the many young people from emerging countries who are now just learning the game and will not get the opportunity to realize the Olympic dream that so many before them have had.

"We effectively addressed all the International Olympic Committee’s questions with regard to re-instatement and are confident that we had made the best presentation possible."

"The game of baseball has grown stronger around the world, and overall baseball is seen and played by more boys and girls and men and women, both disabled and able-bodied, than ever before. Baseball will always emulate the Olympic ideals, and we predict that the IOC will be asking baseball back to the games for 2020, as we will continue to be the best partner for global sport possible."

"On behalf of all our federations, we want to thank President Rogge and the IOC for the opportunity to be re-instated to the Olympic programme, and we wish all the best going forward.”

The IBAF and Schiller put on an impressive attempt to get baseball reinstated for the XXXI Olympiad after it was voted out (along with softball) of the 2012 Olympics to be held in London.

Amongst the concerns of the IOC that the IBAF had to combat was the negative publicity of performance enhancing drugs in Major League baseball and the need for tightening of the drug policy.

In a previous statement Schiller had said "“We have millions of people who play the game, billions of people who watch the game. Why should young people around the world be denied the opportunity to play in the Olympics by these few?”

As part of his full court press the IBAF adopted the children's story "A Glove of Their Own" to help further their cause, presenting baseball as a children's game and is instrumental in the positive life approach of children around the globe.

Schiller and the IBAF sent a copy of the award winning children's story to each of the participating countries around the globe as an aid to get baseball reinstated.

“We feel that the principals of fair play, sharing and inclusiveness exhibited in the book are perfect examples of the values baseball teaches to people around the world. The organization will partner with the “A Glove of Their Own” team to get the book to as many members of the IOC as possible as an example of how baseball can unify all.”

“Since the book is geared to young people, perhaps those reading it and sharing it will some day be rewarded with an Olympic experience due to the lessons taught in the book.”

It seems rather fitting as we close the chapter on the quest of Schiller and the IBAF to see baseball in the games of 2016 to end with the final verse from Ernest Thayer's Casey at the Bat.

"Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville - mighty Casey has struck out. TC

Todd Civin is a freelance writer for the Bleacher Report and Seamheads. He can be reached at for hire or comments or on Facebook, Linked-in and Twitter. He is a supporter of A Glove of Their Own, the award winning children’s story that teaches sharing through baseball. He encourages you to visit the site and to purchase the book using the code of Pitch in For Baseball PIF 129.

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