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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.

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