Posted on 10 July 2009.
USA – SaveOlympicBaseball.org is an organizational website promoting the sport of baseball’s hopeful return to the Summer Olympic Games.
SaveOlympicBaseball.org was created in an effort to help, aid, and assist in the facilitation of the world-wide grassroots campaign that the baseball world is conducting that advocates the reinstatement of their sport to the Olympic programme.
SaveOlympicBaseball.org is a nonprofit worldwide organiZation and an ever-growing source of information for the sport of baseball’s quest to be reinstated as a sport in the Summer Olympic Games.
SaveOlympicBaseball.org locates its head office in Dakota City, Nebraska (USA), and is currently operating satellite offices in Melbourne, Australia; Vienna, Austria; Gent, Belgium; Brno, Czech Republic; Paris, France; Almaty; Kazakhstan; and Moscow, Russia.
SaveOlympicBaseball.org is headed up by Managing Director Bob Protexter, an international baseball veteran with more than two decades of service to the sport having traveled to over twenty countries world-wide spanning from Latin America to Europe to the Far East.
Protexter’s Olympic experiences include working as a Russian translator at the Salt Lake City Olympic Winter Games in 2002. Protexter is also the Founder and President of Russian International Baseball and is the Owner and Operator of Total Baseball Development.
Baseball’s Olympic Predicament
In 2005 baseball was voted out of the Olympic Games by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Baseball was the first sport to be voted out of the Olympic Games since 1936.
In 2008 baseball was played for the last time in the Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Baseball was originally voted into the Olympic Games as a medal sport in 1986 by the IOC.
In 1992 baseball was first played in the Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain. In 2009 baseball is seeking reinstatement and inclusion, once again, into the Olympic sports program by lobbying and appealing to the IOC. If baseball is voted back into the Olympics by the IOC this year then the sport will once again begin competing in the Olympics in 2016.
The IOC Executive Board, founded in 1921, consists of the IOC President Count Jacques Rogge, four Vice-Presidents, and ten additional members to equal fifteen members total.
Rogge overseas the Executive Board as they manage the affairs of the IOC, assume the ultimate responsibility for the administration of the IOC, and conduct the procedure for acceptance and selection of candidatures for the organization of the Olympic Games.
He was born in Gent, Belgium, and is an Orthopaedic surgeon, but spent years as a sportsman himself in Yachting competitions in the Olympic Games in Mexico in 1968, Munich in 1972, and Montreal in 1976, while also competing as a rugby player on the national Belgian team.
The Executive Board last met in Lausanne, Switzerland on June 15 and 16 where the four candidate host cities for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games gave technical briefings to ninety-three of the one hundred seven members of the International Olympic Committee.
Those cities are Chicago (USA), Tokyo (Japan), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and Madrid (Spain). The seven sports seeking to join the Olympic programme displayed their vision for inclusion in the Olympic Games in a series of individual presentations. Only two Olympic programme slots are available, and those two chosen sports will next appear at the 2016 Games.
The IOC Executive Board will meet next in Berlin, Germany on August 13 and 14. At that time the Executive Board primary focuses will be which two of the seven candidate sports will be recommended for acceptance in the Olympic sports programme.
The IOC Session, scheduled in conjunction with the Olympic Congress, will be in Copenhagen, Denmark on October 1 and 2 where the final voting process will take place, and a final decision will be made for those two sports.
Why is baseball in the Olympics important?
In 1986 baseball was voted into the Olympic Games by the IOC. In that year there were sixty countries listed as having ‘National Baseball Federations’ with memberships in the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) – (www.ibaf.org). The IBAF was founded in 1938 and is a non-governmental organization recognised by the IOC as administering men’s and women’s baseball at the world level.
An individual country’s ‘National Baseball Federation’ is that nation’s official governing body for the sport, and is responsible for growing, advancing, and developing that country’s baseball. Following this positive IOC vote in 1986 for baseball in the Olympic Games, the sport of baseball started immediately to grow and prosper in many, many countries.
This year the IBAF lists more than one hundred twenty-five countries as having ‘National Baseball Federations’. The Olympic Movement is directly responsible for this explosion and increased popularity of baseball across the globe. Countries all over the world have started new baseball programs from very humble beginnings in the last twenty years. Now in 2009 that progress is severely threatened unless baseball is reinstated back into the Olympic Games.
Many countries rely simply on Olympic recognition to merely sustain and maintain their baseball programs. Many baseball burgeoning countries are now in perilous danger of losing their programs without this Olympic recognition.
The work of the International Baseball Federation
The IBAF is working diligently day and night on returning baseball back into the Olympic Games as part of what they call a ‘New Dynamic Direction’ for the sport. ‘Mission Critical’ is another term deemed by the IBAF for their project of inclusion for the sport of baseball once again to the Olympic programme.
The group presentation of the IBAF to the IOC Executive Board in June was a success, and their work continues. As well the IBAF has repeatedly encouraged people in all parts of the globe to write letters and make calls to IOC members in support of baseball. The IBAF also frequently states that it is very important for people to constantly update IOC members about the new developments of baseball around the world, especially on the grassroots level.
Additional efforts of the International Baseball Federation
The IBAF is covering every detail with things such as creating a partnership with Pitch In For Baseball (www.pitchinforbaseball.org) to provide equipment for youth groups around the world. Pitch In For Baseball is a nonprofit organization that provides one of the world’s leading equipment donation services, and has collected and redistributed baseball equipment and uniforms to underserved children in more than 50 countries. Their mission is to help kids and make friends all over the world by sharing the great game of baseball.
The IBAF has even gone to the lengths of sending copies of the book ‘A Glove of Their Own’ (www.agloveoftheirown.com) to key members of the International Olympic Committee. ‘A Glove of Their Own’ is an award winning book that illustrates and tells a story of sandlot kids who inspire an adult to share in their baseball and life experiences.
Bob Salomon, one of the book’s creators along with authors Debbie Moldovan, Keri Conkling, and Lisa Funari-Willever share in the book’s message of generosity by donating proceeds from each book sold to various nonprofit organizations. The IBAF likes the principles of the book as an example of how baseball can again be a social unifier and teach values bigger than the game itself.
This is one of the key foundations of the IBAF’s pitch to be reinstated to the Olympic programme in 2016; that it is a game for all. IBAF President Dr. Harvey Schiller said that, “Baseball is a game that teaches teamwork, how to overcome adversity and discipline, and was the game that broke the color barrier in sport, and we thought that this book was a perfect way to help explain how those simple ideals are conveyed through the sport. The lessons in the book can be understood by anyone and adapted to any of the lessons we learn in life, and really captures why baseball is so much a game for all.”
SaveOlympicBaseball.org is answering the call for the request of world-wide participation by having the primary purpose of showing people around the world how they can partake in the global grassroots campaign that is seeking baseball’s inclusion, once again, into the Olympic program.
SaveOlympicBaseball.org fulfills this purpose by providing public listings of contact names and mailing addresses of International Olympic Committee members enabling supporters to directly voice their enthusiasm through letters supporting baseball’s return to the Summer Olympic Games.
SaveOlympicBaseball.org encourages teams, coaches, administrators, parents, and fans world-wide to write letters and postcards supporting Olympic baseball, and then to send those letters and postcards to members of the IOC Executive Board and to the IOC members themselves as well.
Your voice matters.
Photo courtesy of theonion.com