San Diego, Mar 21 (Prensa Latina) – WITH its showing in the World Baseball Classic, Cuba hopes that baseball is reinstituted in the Olympic Games, starting with the London Olympics in 2012.
By decision of the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee, the sport of balls and strikes is scheduled to be played for the final time in Olympic competition during the Beijing Games in 2008.
IOC top executive, Jacque Rogge, argued that not all the best ball players were coming to the Olympic Games, as the Majors Leagues did not allow their members to participate.
But Cuban, Japanese, Korean and Canadian Olympians proved at WBC the Olympic baseball competitions have showcased great ballplayers all along.
Korea and Japan eliminated the USA Team, a constellation of Big League aces, in Round 2, while Cuba cruised over the teams of Venezuela, Dominican Republica and Puerto Rico, made up of Big League stars.
“I hope the Classic remains and those responsible for eliminating baseball from the Olympic Games were able to see the great show that baseball is all about,” said Cuban left fielder Frederich Cepeda after the final game in San Diego on Monday night.
For his part, Cuban manager Higinio Velez agreed: “Baseball is ready to return to the Olympic Games, but should do so with the best players, like the World Baseball Classic.”
More than 400 professional players participated in the 16-nation tournament, which exceded the expectations of the organizers: A total of 737,416 fans filled the stands for the 39 games that were played in Tokyo, San Juan, Phoenix, Orlando, Anaheim and San Diego.
Millions tv-viewers from all the continents watched the games, which were broadcast by ESPN, in English and Spanish.