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  • YOG 2018: Baseball and Softball Return to the Olympics


    (ATR) Baseball and Softball make an Olympic return in Buenos Aires before a competitive reappearance in less than two years in Tokyo 2020.

    Baseball5 will be presented in Buenos Aires (WBSC)
    The reappearance at the Youth Olympic Games will be under a program known as "Sports Initiation" in which the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) supports the National Federations with equipment and experts.

    The president of the WBSC Riccardo Fraccari is in the Argentine capital with the whole international Olympic family, ready to present the sport's new "jewel" Baseball5 in Buenos Aires, where soccer (football) is king.

    "On purpose we propose Baseball5, a dynamic fast intuitive youth focused game," Fraccari tells Around the Rings. "A new game that can be played much like football on any flat surface and using just a ball."

    Fraccari is working to convince the IOC that these disciplines must be maintained officially in the Olympic Program, and above all, that the Paris 2024 Organizing Committee does not close the doors on them.

    Prior to his arrival in Buenos Aires, the IOC President Thomas Bach was in Mexico for events commemorating the 50 year anniversary of the 1968 Olympic Games. While there, Bach received a request from the president-elect of Mexico Andrés Manuel López Obrador for baseball to be included in the Olympic Program, and according to reports, the Olympic leader was receptive to that suggestion.

    WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari (ATR)
    Fraccari, however, declined to comment when asked about the report. "We have not taken part in this discussion, we have not commented on events where we were not present," he replied.

    As part of efforts to make the sport more dynamic, the WBSC has applied new rules to speed up the play of games. When asked about Major League Baseball's concern about their games averaging more than three hours, Fraccari said it's not the players or coaches who are to blame for the slow play.

    "It is not a matter of the actor, the sport of Baseball itself needs to find and adopt solutions to increase the pace of the games and dynamism. As WBSC we are working at the international level pushing and attempting new measures in this direction," said Fraccari.

    Fraccari's comments to ATR came as the WBSC today confirmed three new members to the Athletes Commission, with the addition of the Canadian Women's National Softball Team Member Erika Polidori, French Women's National Softball Team member Pauline Prade and Canadian Women's National Baseball Team member Ashley Stephenson.

    Females currently account for four of the six occupied positions on the WBSC Athletes Commission.

    Polidori will also serve on the WBSC Softball Division Board, while Stephenson will serve on the WBSC Baseball Division Board.

    “WBSC welcomes and congratulates these new athlete representatives and leaders,” said Fraccari. “WBSC places a high priority on the inclusion of both athletes and female leaders in the decision-making process of our world governing body, and the current composition of the WBSC Athletes Commission is a strong reflection of this and further prepares our institution for the most exciting time in the history of baseball and softball, ahead of our historic return at the 2020 Olympic Games"

    Reported by Miguel Hernandez.

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