MLB says season swap for Olympics ‘just isn’t possible’

Reuters, NEW YORK

Thu, Jul 18, 2013 - Page 19

Major League Baseball (MLB) ruled out changing its season to allow top players to compete in the Olympics if the sport is readmitted to the Games, MLB commissioner Bud Selig said on Tuesday.

Baseball and softball have launched a joint bid to win back their spot on the Olympic program at the 2020 Games.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) wants the best players to compete and while Selig supports the bid, he said MLB will not interrupt its April-October season to make top professionals available.

“It just isn’t possible. I wish it was,” Selig told the Baseball Writers Association of America on Tuesday.

“I love the idea of baseball in the Olympics, I love the internationalization. We’ve told them [the IOC] that directly,” he said.

Baseball/softball was on the Olympic program from 1992 to 2008, but was dropped for last year’s London Games. The sports are now on a shortlist, along with wrestling and squash, for readmission in 2020.

Many of the top players from the National Basketball Association compete at the Olympics because it does not clash with the NBA season.

The National Hockey League takes a mid-season break to allow its players to appear at the Winter Olympics, but Selig said it was impractical for baseball because it would mean shutting down the season for more than three weeks just before the playoffs.

“People would think you’re crazy. You can’t do that,” Selig said.

The IOC is due to elect the winning sport at its session in Buenos Aires in September.