The Bleacher Bums Header

The Bleacher Bums: August 19, 2008 Archive

U.S. and China play hardball in Beijing

Posted at 4:32 PM on August 19, 2008 by Steve Rudolph

It's probably a good thing that baseball will no longer be an Olympic sport as yesterday's game between the U.S. and China nearly triggered an international incident.

After a violent collision that likely knocked the Chinese catcher out of the Games was followed by an aggressive slide into the backup catcher, China's pitchers plucked five U.S. batters sending one to the hospital with a concussion.

I'm not sure which is worse: the ugly ending to the game, baseball losing its place in the Olympics, or the fact that the best the U.S. could do when fielding a team was Terry Tiffee. Tiffee inclusion does go a long way in explaining why baseball isn't taken seriously in the Olympics.

Is anyone shedding a tear over the fact that baseball is being dropped from the Olympics? I'm not. And I could give the IOC a list of about 10 other "sports" they could dump.

As an interesting aside, check out the history of baseball in China. Former National League Rookie of the Year Jim Lefebvre helped start the country's program five years ago and is now the coach.

Minnesota fans may remember his son Ryan who was a star outfielder for the Gophers before becoming a broadcaster with the Twins and now the Royals.

Hardball Abroad

Posted at 4:47 PM on August 19, 2008 by Than Tibbetts

Ahh, the Olympics. Let us take joy in the miracles of human athleticism, and revel in thrill of competition and sportsmanship.

So with the spirit of The Games in mind, how's this for a box score: one baseball game, two home plate collisions, three ejections, one torn anterior cruciate ligament, one concussion, seven hit batters.

collision.jpg

Nate Schierholtz of the U.S. barrels into Chinese catcher Yang Yang to score off a hit by Terry Tiffee in their men's preliminary round baseball game at the Wukesong Baseball Venue during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games on August 18, 2008. The US won 9-1. (Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)


The U.S. beat China in the 9-1 game yesterday, but the game certainly wasn't the best representation of "America's pastime." There's nothing like going out with a bang, as baseball — and softball — will be the first sports dropped from the Olympics in 69 years.

It's too bad for baseball, because it seems like international competition would suit the sport well. Perhaps there's just too much clothing involved.

My modest proposal: move baseball to the Winter Olympics so MLB players can play. Also, I'm pretty sure Lillehammer, Norway could have used an Olympic-sized baseball stadium.


ground.jpg

Matt LaPorta of the U.S. lays on the ground after being hit by a pitch from China's Chen Kun in the top of the seventh inning in their men's preliminary round baseball game at the Wukesong Baseball Venue during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. (Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)


coach.jpg

An Olympics volunteer tries to hold back China's manager Jim Lefebvre as he argues a ruling with umpire Edwin vanden Berk after Nate Schierholtz of the US barreled into Chinese catcher Yang Yang to score off a hit by Terry Tiffee in their men's preliminary round baseball game at the Wukesong Baseball Venue during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games on August 18, 2008. (Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)


Did you catch that? Former Twin Terry Tiffee is part of the U.S. Olympic team. He's currently in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, playing for the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s.

aterry.jpg

Terry Tiffee #26 of the United States swings at a pitch against Korea during their preliminary baseball game at the Wukesong Sports Centre Baseball Field during Day 5 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 13, 2008 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

August 2008
S M T W T F S
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31            


Master Archive

MPR News
Radio

Listen Now

On Air

Morning Edition®

Other Radio Streams from MPR

Classical MPR
Radio Heartland

Services