After missing baseball and softball from the Olympics in the past two editions, the sport in baseball-obsessed Japan is back on the program. Women’s softball and Dutch softball were close to qualifying, but stumbled on the last hurdle.
- What: baseball and softball
- Off-road: Yokohama Stadium and Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium
- When: Wednesday, July 21 – Tuesday, July 27 (softball) and Wednesday, July 28 – Saturday, August 7
- Where to see it: Eurosport 1 & Discover +
- Dutch teams: none
- Favorites: America, Japan (softball), America, Japan and South Korea (baseball)
Baseball and Softball at the Olympics: A Brief Explanation.
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07/08/2021 at 16:05
For the Tokyo 2020 Games, a group with a small number of participants has been selected. Only six teams can qualify for each event. In championship baseball, teams are divided into two groups, after which they work toward the final in the knockout stage via a knockout race. In softball, the setting is slightly different. There, all teams play against each other in the group stage and Numbers 1 and 2 qualify directly for the Final, while Numbers 3 and 4 play for Bronze.
In addition to the Dutch Kingdom team, Cuban baseball players are also missing from Tokyo 2020. So far, baseball has been on the Olympic program five times and has reached the Cuba Final each time. They even crowned themselves as Olympic champions in these finals three times, but in Tokyo (or actually in Yokohama, because that’s where baseball games are played) they weren’t there. Because in recent years, more and more Cuban baseball players have moved to North American professional baseball, and this league is not giving up its Olympic players, South American’s failed qualification came as no surprise.
Who also participates?
Just like the Cuban team, the US team also naturally suffers from the absence of top stars from the major league. She forced director Mike Ciuscia to pick old stars on their return, along with younger talent. One of the pioneers of Team USA is Todd Frazier, who until a few months ago played at the highest level for the Pittsburgh Pirates, but became available in time due to his resignation.
baseball | Short tracker Eddie Alvarez now goes for baseball gold
Another notable name is Eddie Alvarez. Not so much because the 31-year-old is a big star in baseball, but because he won a silver medal at the Sochi Games in 2014 as a short tracker. So he can add a gold medal in these games.
The only other team that, like the Cubans, has played for medals in all previous editions, is its native Japan. After two bronze and one silver medals, they hope to finally reach the highest score on the podium in their country. Eyes are mainly focused on former New York Yankee Masahiro Tanaka. The bowler returned home after eight seasons on The Big Apple last winter to play with his childhood sweetheart, Rakuten Golden Eagles.
Masahiro Tanaka Japan baseball team
Unlike their colleagues abroad, Japanese and South Korean players who are still playing in their home country are allowed to play in Yokohama. It immediately makes these two teams important outsiders, because South Korea can also boast a track record as the Olympic champion. Israel, Mexico and the Dominican Republic complete this area.
Americans are retaliating
Softball did not enter the Olympics until 1996. In Atlanta, the Americans won their first softball gold and successfully defended their title twice. Five years ago, their dominance in Beijing was broken. Japan managed to surprise the favorites in the final with a 3-1 victory. It was a severe blow to the American women who had beaten the Asian team in both the group stage and semi-finals. So Team USA has something to put right this summer.
By far the Japanese ladies are the biggest challenge to the Americans. If both teams manage to qualify for the final, it will not only be a repeat of the previous Olympic final, but also a repeat of the past seven world championships. It should be clear that these two are the favorites to win the overall in Tokyo 2020. Australia, Italy, Mexico and Canada can then compete for the bronze medal.
The two tournaments will be played in a row, allowing us to enjoy baseball or softball at these games from Wednesday, July 21 through Saturday, August 7. This is the program for the different stages of play:
- Wednesday 21 – Monday 26 July: Group stage (softball)
- Tuesday 27 July: Final and final mourning (soft ball)
- Wednesday 28 – Saturday 31 July: Group Stage (Baseball)
- Sunday 1 – Wednesday 4 August: Knockout Stage (baseball)
- Wednesday 4th and Thursday 5th August: Semi-finals (baseball)
- Saturday August 7: Final and final mourning (baseball)
Watch the first game of this Olympic Games live here:
Australia – Japan
Where do you watch?
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