New MLB commissioner wants long-term baseball pledge from Olympics
New MLB commissioner Rob Manfred is keeping the stance of predecessor Bud Selig that MLB will not interrupt its schedule to allow players to compete in the Olympics, if the sport is re-added for 2020, according to The Associated Press.
“The Olympics are a challenge because of the calendar,” Manfred said Thursday, according to the AP. “They are particularly a challenge when the site is halfway around the world and the date falls in the middle of our regular season.”
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics are slated from July 24-Aug. 9 in five years.
MLB players on 25-man rosters did not compete in the Olympics during the sport’s last stretch on the Olympic program, from 1992 through 2008, before it was dropped.
The sport could be re-added for Tokyo 2020 due to the International Olympic Committee’s Agenda 2020 reforms. A host city can propose sports to be added.
“Conceptually, I think it would be good for our game, for baseball generically defined, to be an Olympic sport,” Manfred said, according to the AP. “I know there is some interest in having a baseball event in the Tokyo Olympics because it’s so popular in that particular country. I think it would be a mistake for our sport to make an arrangement with the Olympics whereby we go in for Tokyo and not have some commitment that the Olympics were going to commit to baseball over the longer haul.”