For the first time since the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the Summer Olympic games will feature the global sport of Baseball.
However, Baseball has only been added to the list of sports for the 2020-21 Tokyo Olympics, and will currently not feature in 2024 in Paris.
Six nations will compete at the Tokyo Olympics: Japan, the United States (USA), South Korea, Mexico, Dominican Republic and Israel.
With Japan automatically qualifying as host, Korea qualified as the highest placed team from Asia-Oceania (excluding Japan), and Mexico as the highest placed team from the Americas in the Premier12 final standings.
The United States qualified by winning the Americas Qualifying Event that was postponed to May-June, 2021, because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Israel qualified by winning the Europe-Africa continental tournament.
The final spot was awarded to the Dominican Republic which won a world Final Qualifying Tournament in late June 2021.
Pool A: Japan, Mexico, Dominican Republic
Pool B: USA, South Korea, Israel
With only six teams, there will be two pools of three teams, with each nation playing the other two once each. The teams will then face off with the corresponding finishing team in the opposite pool. For example:
1) Winner of Pool A vs Winner of Pool B
2) Second place Pool A vs Second place Pool B
3) Third place Pool A vs Third place Pool B
The loser of the group third place game will be eliminated, and the rest of the "playoff tournament" continues as follows:
The Olympic Baseball tournament will commence with the hosts Japan facing Dominican Republic on the 28th July.
2021 World Ranking: #1
Previous Olympic Best: Silver medal, 1996
Notable 2021 Olympic Players: Masahiro Tanaka (2x MLB All Star)
Manager: Atsunori Inaba
Assistants: Makoto Kaneko, Yoshinori Tateyama, Yoshinori Murata, Hirokazu Ibata, Masaji Shimizu
Pitchers: Tomoyuki Sugano, Kōyō Aoyagi, Suguru Iwazaki, Masato Morishita, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Masahiro Tanaka, Yasuaki Yamasaki, Ryoji Kuribayashi, Yūdai Ōno, Kōta Nakagawa, Kaima Taira
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) July 18, 2021
Catchers: Ryutaro Umeno, Takuya Kai
Infielders: Tetsuto Yamada, Sōsuke Genda, Hideto Asamura, Ryosuke Kikuchi, Hayato Sakamoto, Munetaka Murakami
Outfielders: Kensuke Kondo, Yuki Yanagita, Ryoya Kurihara, Masataka Yoshida, Seiya Suzuki
DID YOU KNOW? The Japanese baseball team is nicknamed "Samurai Japan."
2021 World Ranking: #3
Previous Olympic Best: Gold medal, 2008
Notable 2021 Olympic Players: Kim Hyun-soo (Baltimore Orioles, Philadelphia Phillies)
Manager: Kim Kyung-moon
Pitchers: Cha Woo-chan, Cho Sang-woo, Choi Won-joon, Ko Woo-suk, Oh Seung-hwan, Kim Min-woo, Ko Young-pyo, Lee Eui-lee, Park Se-woong, Won Tae-in, Kim Jin-uk
Catchers: Kang Min-ho, Yang Eui-ji
Infielders: Choi Joo-hwan, Hur Kyoung-min, Hwang Jae-gyun, Kang Baek-ho, Kim Hye-seong, Oh Jae-il, Oh Ji-hwan
Outfielders: Kim Hyun-soo, Lee Jung-hoo, Park Hae-min, Park Kun-woo
DID YOU KNOW? South Korea went unbeaten in the 2008 Summer Olympic games, winning gold with a 9-0 record and scoring 50 runs to just 26 conceded. They also won the Bronze medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympic games.
2021 World Ranking: #4
Previous Olympic Best: Gold medal, 2000
Notable 2021 Olympic Players: Scott Kazmir (3x MLB All Star, 2006 American League Strikeout Leader), Todd Frazier (2x MLB All Star, 2015 Home Run Derby Champion), Edwin Jackson (2011 World Series Champion, 2009 MLB All Star, Pitched a no-hitter 2010 ), David Robertson (2009 World Series Champion, 2011 MBL All Star)
Manager: Mike Scioscia
Assistants: Roly de Armas, Darren Fenster, Dave Wallace, Jerry Weinstein, Ernie Young
Pitchers: Shane Baz, Anthony Carter, Brandon Dickson, Anthony Gose, Edwin Jackson, Scott Kazmir, Nick Martinez, Scott McGough, David Robertson, Joe Ryan, Ryder Ryan, Simeon Woods Richardson
Catchers: Tim Federowicz, Mark Kolozsvary
Infielders: Nick Allen, Eddy Alvarez, Triston Casas, Todd Frazier, Jamie Westbrook
Outfielders: Tyler Austin, Eric Filia, Patrick Kivlehan, Jack López, Bubba Starling
DID YOU KNOW? None of the USA Baseball Olympic roster are currently on a Major League team (many are assigned to minor league affiliates).
2021 World Ranking: #5
Previous Olympic Best: n/a
Notable 2021 Olympic Players: Adrián González (2000 #1 MLB Draft Pick, 5x MLB All Star, 4x MLB Gold Glove, 2x MLB Silver Slugger, 2014 MLB RBI Leader)
Manager: Benji Gil
Assistants: Noé Muñoz, Héctor Estrada, Rigo Beltrán, Martín Arzate, José Silva
Pitchers: Manny Bañuelos, Manny Barreda, Carlos Bustamante, Daniel Duarte, Juan Pablo Oramas, Óliver Pérez, Teddy Stankiewicz, Héctor Velázquez, Fernando Salas, Sasagi Sánchez, Sammy Solís, César Vargas
Catchers: Alí Solís, Alexis Wilson
Infielders: Danny Espinosa, Ryan Goins, Adrián González, Efrén Navarro, Ramiro Peña, Isaac Rodríguez
Outfielders: José Cardona, Sebastián Elizalde, Jonathan Jones, Joey Meneses
DID YOU KNOW? Having never qualified for the Olympics prior to 2020, Mexico's best performance in any major international tournament is second place at the Baseball World Cup (four times), the last time in 1965.
2021 World Ranking: #7
Previous Olympic Best: 6th, 1992
Notable 2021 Olympic Players: José Bautista (6x MLB All Star, 3x MLB Silver Slugger, 2x Hank Aaron Award, 2x MLB Home Run Leader), Melky Cabrera (2009 World Series Champion, 2012 MLB All Star)
Manager: Héctor Borg
Pitchers: Darío Álvarez, Jairo Asencio, Luis Felipe Castillo, Jumbo Díaz, Junior García, Jhan Mariñez, Cristopher Mercedes, Denyi Reyes, Ramón Rosso, Ángel Sánchez, Raúl Valdés
Catchers: Roldani Baldwin, Charlie Valerio
Infielders: José Bautista, Juan Francisco, Diego Goris, Jeison Guzmán, Erick Mejia, Gustavo Núñez
Outfielders: Emilio Bonifácio, Melky Cabrera, Johan Mieses, Yefri Pérez, Julio Y. Rodríguez
DID YOU KNOW? The Dominican Republic already has two major international tournament victories, winning the Baseball World Cup in 1948 and the World Baseball Classic in 2013. They are the first nation to have won both of these tournaments.
2021 World Ranking: #24
Previous Olympic Best: n/a
Notable 2021 Olympic Players: Ian Kinsler (4x MLB All Star, 2x MLB Gold Glove, 2018 World Series Champion)
Manager: Eric Holtz
Assistants: Nate Fish, Andrew Lorraine, Nate Mulberg
Pitchers: Jeremy Bleich, Jonathan de Marte, Jake Fishman, Alex Katz, Jared Lakind, Alon Leichman, Shlomo Lipetz, Jon Moscot, Joey Wagman, Ben Wanger, Zack Weiss, Josh Zeid
Catchers: Tal Erel, Ryan Lavarnway, Nick Rickles
Infielders: Scott Burcham, Mitch Glasser, Ty Kelly, Ian Kinsler, Zach Penprase, Danny Valencia
Outfielders: Blake Gailen, Assaf Lowengart, Robb Paller
Danny Valencia will also play INF for @ILBaseball at Tokyo! The 3B started his MLB career with the Twins in 2010, and wrapped it up with Baltimore in 2018. Has a career BA of .268 with 98 HRs and 397 RBIs. He was with Israel in the 2019 EBC tournament! @dannyvalencia19 pic.twitter.com/ULOhPkWTtt
— Lost Tribe (@LostTribe) July 18, 2021
DID YOU KNOW? Every member of the Israeli national team was either born in Israel, or has made aliyah under Israel's Law of Return, which gives anyone with a Jewish parent or grandparent, or who is married to a Jew, the right to return to Israel and be granted Israeli citizenship.
2021 Olympic Baseball Schedule
28th July: Japan vs Dominican Republic, Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium
29th July: South Korea vs Israel, Yokohama Stadium
30th July: Dominican Republic vs Mexico, Yokohama
30th July: Israel vs USA, Yokohama
31st July: Mexico vs Japan, Yokohama
31st July: USA vs South Korea, Yokohama
1st August: Game 1 - A3 vs B3, Yokohama
1st August: Game 2 - A2 vs B2, Yokohama
2nd August: Game 3 - Winner G1 vs Winner G2, Yokohama
2nd August: Game 4 - A1 vs B1, Yokohama
3rd August: Repechage 1 - Loser G2 vs Loser G3, Yokohama
4th August: Repechage 2 - Winner G5 vs Loser G4, Yokohama
4th August: Semifinal 1 - Winner G3 vs Winner G4, Yokohama
5th August: Semifinal 2 - Winner G6 vs Loser G7, Yokohama
7th August: Bronze Medal - Loser G6 vs Loser G8, Yokohama
7th August: Gold Medal - Winner G8 vs Winner G7, Yokohama