Ask NotGraphs (#23)

Dear NotGraphs,

With the XXXth Olympiad underway in London, my geekage for the Olympics is at an all time high. And yet at the same time, I am super bummed that baseball — scientifically proven to be the greatest game in human history — is not part of Sport’s most extravagant and wasteful spectacle.

What can I, a lowly Rockies fan, do personally to help bring baseball back to the Olympics? Grassroots ballot initiative? Hunger strike outside the USOC? Or is there a better way?

Warmest regards,
Usain von Hercules

Dear Mr. Hercules,

I never think I’ll watch the Olympics, and then I find myself on the couch trying to figure out why there was a two-tenths deduction for that step on the landing instead of only one-tenth like the woman from Latvia received…. I don’t know if I think it’s such a shame that baseball isn’t part of the Olympics. It’s hard to get that excited about it without major leaguers being part of it — and it’s hard to get excited about the idea of interrupting the season for weeks in order to include major leaguers. I feel like what makes the Olympics interesting is that the people participating are the best in the world at what they do. If you are a gymnast, if you swim, if you do Tae Kwon Do, if you run, if you jump — your showcase is the Olympics. You train for years to get to the Olympics. But baseball already has a showcase, 162 games a year.

My position may be a minority one among baseball fans. I will admit I don’t find myself watching basketball in the Olympics, or soccer — so I don’t know that I appreciate the excitement that can be brought even to sports that have regular, viewable professional competitions. And maybe it is neat to see the baseball teams that each country can cobble together and watch them try and compete with whatever U.S. players are made able to play. Maybe. You may be right that it’s a shame that baseball is no longer an Olympic sport.

[And, certainly, outside the U.S., I think it is a bigger deal. I found this USA Today article from when baseball was dropped, describing the disappointment in much of Latin America. The piece is actually enough to convince me that I’m probably wrong, and baseball should be returned to the Olympics.]

So, what can you do? Marry the child of an IOC voter and infiltrate the secretive organization? Get Bud Selig to allow major leaguers to participate? Start a campaign to get NBC to fight for baseball’s inclusion — TV ratings surely influence these things, right? Start a worldwide movement? Write a book about it? Make a big banner and try to get it seen on TV during this year’s Olympics? Or start small, by writing to NotGraphs and giving us a reason to post about it. If you want to see baseball in the next Olympics, leave a comment of support, and e-mail this post to people you think could make a difference. Or start your own Olympics and have whatever sports you feel like. My Olympics would feature competitive eating.

Good luck,

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Jeremy Blachman is the author of Anonymous Lawyer, a satirical novel that should make people who didn't go to law school feel good about their life choices. Read more at McSweeney's or elsewhere. He likes e-mail.

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Steve the Pirate
Steve the Pirate

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