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Softball's Olympic Reinstatement


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#41
ATrain5

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I couldn't agree with you more. With probably its greatest three players in this era, A-Rod, Manny Ramriez and Roger Clemens (or at least 3 of the best) accused of steroid abuse, I can't really blame them for not wanting to join. But what do you think would help their cause? Because this just isn't about the USA team only. How would you sell it towards the Olympic Committee?

#42
KCSoftball

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For baseball's perspective on this: http://www.awbf.org/...o_add_women.htm.

It looks like they have or are forming around 15-20 collegiate/amateur/professional teams in the US. This is another case of groups in the US splitting the pie of female softball/baseball sports! It is getting so thin that soon we won't be able to taste it anymore!

#43
CrushersDad

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This whole thing of women's baseball saying "what about us" is a bunch of baloney. The numbers they are coming up with in the article couldn't be more skewed:

Schiller estimated that between 300,000 and 500,000 women and girls play baseball worldwide, a figure which includes Little League and T-ball.

I come from a town of less than 3000 and there are at least 10-15 little girls playing T-ball—multiply that by tens of thousands of other towns/cities and you get to 300,000 very quickly.

Sheesh.

#44
KCSoftball

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:D
I can only speak for my area. But, most "Little Leagues" now offer a softball program for the girls. You don't find as many girls playing baseball as you did a few years ago. I had my girls play LL Baseball when they started playing because playing against the girls at a young age was counterproductive! Now go out and watch an 8U-10U girls' tournament—you'll be impressed by how good the girls are! I am amazed at how good a girls' 10U travel team can be. Most are every bit as good as a boys' baseball team. After 12U (on average) the boys start gitting bigger, stronger, faster, but the skill level is just as good in the girls' travel teams as it is in the boys' travel programs!

When there is a girls' tournament near you, go out and watch—you will be impressed by the quality of play!!

#45
CrushersDad

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Little League in my area also offers a softball program from coach pitch up. Unlike the boys program, the girls in Little League (at least in our area) aren't very competitive—too many kids that don't really want to be there, etc, etc, etc....

You are not kidding about the skill level of girls' travel softball teams. My DD moved from Little League to travel ball last fall and we were amazed by the skills of the players on every team.

KCSoftball recommends you watch a girls' travel ball tournament; I second that recommendation, it is a real thrill! But don't stop at 10U, watch some of the older girls play too. There are some 14U teams out there that could compete with NCAA DIII teams and beat them on a regular basis.

#46
KCSoftball

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I also agree on the level of play in Little League and other youth play. I have never seen any "rec" leagues that can complete with the ASA "B" youth program! Here in my area there are Little League, Pony, Bobby Sox, SCMAF, NSA and ASA leagues. Simple fact: none competes with the ASA "B" program! And the ASA "A" travel teams are a step above that, and are like professional teams in how they play. The skill level is very high!

#47
ATrain5

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KCSoftball and CrushersDad, let me ask you two this: how bad would the sport of softball be set back if it is not reinstated in the 2016 Olympics? The next time we would see the possibility of Olympic softball would be in 2020. The little boys around the world who play baseball could at least dream of playing Major League Baseball one day, but what do the girls have?

#48
KCSoftball

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In a word 'NOTHING".

If it doesn't make it for 2016, I wouldn't hold my breath for it ever getting it back in. The interest in softball will still go on in the US & Japan with the high schools and NCAA, but the NPF might be in a lot more trouble. The other countries won't put resources in it if it is not an Olympic sport! Right now it is the US that is putting in most of the effort, world wide, to make softball thrive! Without the Olympics it is a lost cause.

Until women (yes, it's the women, players & coaches, that have to do it!) get their act togather and make softball main stream, and acceptable to all, it will remain a second-level sport! I have been trying to "wakeup" people, but, I don't know if the women of softball are listening, or if they even care about the sport after college.

Check out my posts in the separate topic Pride in Yourself. If the women of softball don't care about their sport, how do they expect non-softball people to care? How do they expect their sport to grow?

I'm telling you, the coaches & players must become more acceptable, and the NPF needs to court the male audience (the men have all the money) along with the kids. Women's softball needs to become acceptable to all!

#49
ATrain5

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Yea...I've noticed that in all the articles in which I have read, it seems as if it is the USA who is most involved in this right now. Its funny too, you think it would be more than that simply because Japan won the 2008 Olympic Gold. I'm not certain if some rifts were made when Don Portor decided not to join baseball because there were several countries(which have softball) that wanted to team up with baseball to help make a stronger bid, but were disappointed when it didn't happen.

#50
ATrain5

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According to an August 21st ESPN.com article by Elizabeth Merrill entitled Could this loss actually bring back Olympic Softball?, Team USA's loss to Japan in the 2008 Olympic Games could improve the odds for softball returning to the Games in 2016:

Thunder sticks from a pro-Japan crowd greeted the most unlikely Olympic heroes at Fengtai Softball Field. The Japanese do not have modelesque looks or gaudy home run records. They chatter incessantly, huddle like linemen between innings, and, by all appearances, are completely unaware of what they accomplished.

But some say they might've saved softball, or at least made its reappearance in the 2016 Games more realistic. Before Thursday night, the Americans hadn't lost since Sept. 21, 2000, in Sydney. Before Yukiko Ueno's noodle arm stymied the United States' powerful bats, the Americans had beaten their competition by a margin of 108-3 in the past two Olympics.

"Maybe people will get off our backs and realize that there is some parity in this game," U.S. coach Mike Candrea said. "I've always felt that the rest of the world is getting better.



#51
jpoljak223

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International Softball Federation president Don Porter is optimistic about softball's return to the Olympics in 2016, according to an April 30th FoxSports.com article entitled Softball president encouraged about Olympic future:

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – With a key presentation approaching in a bid to return to the Olympics, softball's international president is trying to stay positive about the future while focusing on spreading the sport around the globe.

International Softball Federation president Don Porter visited Oklahoma City, which will host the 2010 world championships, to finalize plans for next year's event and for this summer's World Cup of Softball.

But after getting dropped from the 2012 London Games, Porter acknowledged the sport's main objective is to get back into the Olympics in 2016.

"I think we're getting the message across and I think a lot of IOC members see that we are doing things to make progress and improvements, and we're getting some good feedback from them," Porter told The Associated Press in a phone interview.

"I feel optimistic, but it's still got a long way to go."

Porter's group has been working to overcome a perception that softball lacks global appeal, which led to the sport being dropped from the 2012 Games. While softball is routinely played in schools and youth leagues in the U.S., that isn't the case everywhere.

This month, Porter's group pledged $100,000 to help develop softball in Africa, where the sport will be added to the All-Africa Games program in 2011. He said another focus has been starting up the sport in Muslim countries where it wasn't previously played.

"We're doing a lot of development work. We're trying to get our sport into more countries," Porter said.



#52
jpoljak223

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Softball has indeed divorced itself from baseball in its effort to regain Olympic status for the 2016 Games, according to a March 3rd FoxSports.com article entitled Softball says no to joint 2016 bid with baseball:

WASHINGTON (AP) – Softball chose to go its own way for the Olympics, rejecting a proposal from baseball for a joint bid to get reinstated for the 2016 Summer Games.

"We have offered the IOC a doping-free, universal team sport that reflects the values of Olympism all over the world," International Softball Federation president Don Porter said Friday.

Porter met Thursday with Harvey Schiller, the president of the International Baseball Federation in Orlando, Florida. Schiller said he would move forward with baseball's bid to get back to the Olympics.

The IOC voted in 2005 to drop baseball and softball for the 2012 London Olympics, and softball officials have said their sport was hurt by baseball's doping scandals.

The two sports are among seven competing for two openings for new sports at the 2016 Olympics. Baseball officials had argued that a combined bid would enhance the chances of both sports. The IOC will vote in October on which sports to add.

Porter said although softball's bid is for a women's sport, his group has offered the IOC an option of adding men's softball. In a telephone interview, Porter said he thought combining with baseball would hurt that effort.

"We're an independent sport, and we want to continue that way," Porter said. "This is no disrespect in any way to baseball. Baseball's a great sport."

Schiller said he was disappointed on behalf of baseball and softball players around the world.

The two sports are now vying with rugby, golf, squash, karate and roller sports for inclusion in 2016. The decision will be made during the IOC session at Copenhagen, where the International Olympic Committee will also select the 2016 city from among the four finalists - Chicago, Madrid, Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro.

Last week, baseball and softball submitted separate bid proposals to the IOC, along with the five other sports.

Several baseball federations, including those of Japan, Europe and Africa, have written to the IBAF supporting the idea of a joint bid with softball.



#53
SpartanIlliniCub

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Great article. Thanks for posting. It basically says the International Softball Federation will not collaborate with the International Baseball Federation in getting both sports back on the Olympic roster for 2016. But I find the ISF's reason for not doing so a bit troubling. Here it is:

"We have offered the IOC a doping-free, universal team sport that reflects the values of Olympism all over the world."

-Don Porter. International Softball Federation President.

I understand why Mr. Porter said this; he doesn't want baseball's drug scandals to hinder softball in its efforts to be reinstated. But to say ANY sport is doping-free is pretty bold...and probably incorrect, because there is no way to know 100% for sure if a sport is free of any performance-enhancing drug users.

I checked the ISF's website to see what kind of anti-doping measures the Federation has adopted, and I admit their testing policies are quite robust. To be eligible to play on a national team, the athlete must register for and be in the team's testing pool for at least 1 year. From this pool, athletes are chosen at random to be tested for doping agents. There is a separate pool for all players on Olympic qualifying teams and World Championship qualifying teams. At least 2 athletes are chosen randomly from each team in the medal round and are tested at all international events.

Basically, if you're on a good team you are eligible to be tested at random at any time. If you are not on a good team then you will not be tested after your one year of testing eligibility is over.

But this policy still leaves a gap for veteran players of bad international teams, who are not tested under the ISF drug policy. With a gap like this, Don Porter may be incorrect when he classifies the league as "doping-free."

Just a thought.

#54
KCSoftball

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I find this quote from jpoliak223's post above quite telling about the whole affair:

Porter said although softball's bid is for a women's sport, his group has offered the IOC an option of adding men's softball.

To offer "both" women's and men's softball is self-serving for Mr.Porter. His good buddies also pick and sponsor the Men's National Team!

#55
SpartanIlliniCub

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True, but if the IOC's primary reason for getting rid of baseball and softball was baseball's drug scandals, then Mr. Porter is offering a reasonable alternative to reinstituting baseball.

#56
MeghanBrennan

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The Olympic fate for fastpitch softball is set for August, according to these March 30th articles from the USA Softball website:

Sports Face August Deadline - Report from Around the Rings

IOC President Rogge confirms the seven sports under consideration for addition to the program for the 2016 Olympics will be reduced to two at the IOC Executive Board meeting in August in Berlin.

Baseball, golf, karate, roller sports, rugby, squash and softball will make presentations in June to the Executive Board ahead of the August decision on which to cut.

“We are going to study carefully the seven applicant sports and out of the seven we are going to propose two sports to the IOC Session," he says. The vote will take place around October 6 at the Session in Copenhagen.


Softball Reacts Positively to IOC Shortlist News
ISF president: “With odds of 2 out of 7 to make shortlist, softball will re-double efforts to communicate incredible value to Olympic Movement”

Plant City, Florida (USA) – International Softball Federation President Don Porter has pledged to re-double efforts to get softball reinstated to the Olympic Games Programme in 2016 following the news that the International Olympic Committee will shortlist only two sports for the IOC Session vote in Copenhagen in October.

The shortlist news was delivered by IOC President Jacques Rogge last week at SportAccord in Denver where a top BackSoftball campaign team were busy meeting Olympic Family decision-makers and opinion formers.

Mr. Porter said, “While the decision to cut the list to only two sports for a vote by 115 IOC Members was a surprise, it has not deflected the commitment behind, and focus of, our campaign. If anything it has given us further incentive to work even harder at communicating the incredible value that softball offers the Olympic Movement. We are greatly encouraged by the way IOC Members are reacting to how softball would help the Olympic Movement open up women’s sport – especially in Muslim countries; they also like our global focus on youth and our 100% doping-free track record.

“But most of all, IOC Members appreciate that the Olympic Games would be the absolute pinnacle of our international competition structure; the whole softball calendar would peak every quadrennial with the Olympic Games. While I cannot comment on other sports, I can tell you that the Olympic Games would not be just another competition in an over-crowded calendar for softball. For millions of softball players around the world the Olympic Games would be the greatest honor and we guarantee that the world’s best softball athletes would all commit to performing at the Olympic Games.”

Meanwhile the BackSoftball Campaign has moved to their fifth continent in a month with a critical presentation to the Oceania National Olympic Committee Annual Assembly tomorrow in Queenstown, New Zealand. The presentation will be led by Ms. Low Beng Choo, ISF Deputy Secretary General, and Danielle Stewart, a 2008 Olympic softball bronze medalist from Australia. Ms. Low is also the Malaysian Softball Federation President, Softball Confederation of Asia Secretary General, and a member of the IOC Women and Sport Commission.

Softball was first featured in the Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996 and last year’s competition in Beijing, which was won by Japan, was hugely successful with a total attendance close to 180,000 and a continuation of the sport’s excellent record of no positive drug tests in major competitions.



#57
jpoljak223

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Japan's ace Yukiko Ueno is doing what she can to save Olympic softball, according to this article from the Mainichi Daily News, posted 12/29/08:

Yukiko Ueno's new mission: Restoring softball to the Olympics

After shining on the grand stage of the Beijing Olympics this summer, ace softball pitcher Yukiko Ueno has been busy. She was selected as the Japan Softball League's the most valuable player and best pitcher, and her off-season schedule has been filled with awards ceremonies, guest appearances, and media invitations. She even has interviews lined up for Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

While the stamina that allowed her to throw 413 pitches in three games over two days at the Olympics helps her manage her grueling schedule without tiring, she is also driven by her concern for softball's future.

Softball has been cut from the 2012 London Olympics, and the decision on whether to restore it for the 2016 Olympics will be made next year. And, with the sport currently in the limelight in Japan, the desire of all those associated with softball is to use that attention to push for the restoration of its Olympic status.

Baseball, which was also removed from the Olympic program, will survive whether or not it is played at the Olympics, which is why we don't hear of baseball players personally campaigning for its return to the Games. But that's not the case for softball. The Japan Olympic Committee will continue to designate softball as a priority sport eligible for subsidies, but if it's not restored to the 2016 Olympics, the subsidies will probably be discontinued, and children will no longer be inspired to play the game after seeing it on the Olympic stage. Softball is facing a crisis that could usher in its decline.

To prevent softball fever from cooling off, Ueno and her teammates have gone out of their way to make themselves visible in the media. At the Beijing Olympics, they shouted "Back Softball!" in unison with players from the U.S. and Australia. The gold medalists from Japan consider restoring softball to Olympic status to be their mission. If only their wish falls on the ears of the International Olympic Committee... (By Keiko Tomishige, Expert Senior Writer)



#58
SpartanIlliniCub

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Thanks for posting, but I must that after reading the article it has SEVERAL problems. The article is very vague, and does not back up any of its assertions with any citations or authority. For example, the article states:

To prevent softball fever from cooling off, Ueno and her teammates have gone out of their way to make themselves visible in the media. At the Beijing Olympics, they shouted “Back Softball!” in unison with players from the U.S. and Australia. The gold medalists from Japan consider restoring softball to Olympic status to be their mission.

Shouting "back softball" at an unspecified Olympic game isn't exactly going out of one's way to garner media attention. The next sentence of the quote says that restoring softball is the Japanese National Team's mission, but the article doesn't give an example. Citing to a press release “Yukiki Ueno stated that restoring softball is her mission” or something to that effect would be sufficient support for that statement—but this article makes no citation to support the proposition that the Japanese gold medalists have made restoring softball "their mission."

The closest the article comes to adding anything of value is stating that:

The Japan Olympic Committee will continue to designate softball as a priority sport eligible for subsidies, but if it’s not restored to the 2016 Olympics, the subsidies will probably be discontinued...

But once again this isn't backed up with any citation, so it has minimal value. Plus, it's 100% obvious that Japan's Olympic Committee won't spend money on a non-Olympic sport.

This article has a misleading title and doesn't add much to the 2016 softball reinstatement debate. The author of this article, Keiko Tomishige ("Expert Senior Writer") has to give our readers more than mere unsupported assertions of "facts."

#59
MeghanBrennan

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From the USA Today website, posted today:

Women's baseball panel pushes for 2016 Olympic bid

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) – The International Baseball Federation has formed an 11-member panel to push its case for inclusion of women's baseball in the Olympics.

The women's baseball committee is headed by Donna Lopiano, the former CEO of the Women's Sports Foundation. The panel includes members from Canada, China, Japan, Taiwan, Nigeria, India, Cuba, Portugal, Australia and South Korea.

The IBAF said the panel will work to develop the women's game globally, consider the site for next year's Women's World Cup and create a world ranking system.

The move is a central part of the IBAF's bid to get baseball reinstated as an Olympic sport for the 2016 games. Baseball and softball were dropped from the Olympics for the 2012 London Games in a vote by the International Olympic Committee in 2005.

The IBAF included a women's component to its campaign after softball rejected baseball's proposal for a joint baseball-softball Olympic bid.

The federation estimates that more than 400,000 women and girls play baseball globally and expects the number to double in coming years.

The IBAF is proposing a five-day, eight-team women's baseball Olympic tournament, alongside a men's tournament. Baseball is vying with softball, rugby, golf, squash, karate and roller sports for two openings on the 2016 program.

The seven sports will make presentations to the IOC executive board on June 15. The full IOC will vote in October in Copenhagen.



#60
KCSoftball

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The pie keeps getting smaller! One of the top women's sport's leaders is a turncoat and has jumped ship! I guess the money was right for her. This could sink both softball & baseball! Baseball has some big guns internationally working for it! A lot of third world countries are in baseball's camp, and they seem to have some pull with the International Olympic Committee.

This goes along with a lot of my earlier posts elsewhere: women have to have a united front for the sport of softball to grow and become bigtime here in the US, let alone internationally! The men don't have the vested interest in it the women should have! Women need a united front!

Without softball in the Olympics, other countries will stop putting money into the sport, causing it to shrink!




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