2021 Olympic Baseball: Team USA Prepares For Tokyo

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In 2021 Olympic Baseball news, baseball will be making its long return to the summer games as a medal sport when the Olympics return this summer in Tokyo, and Team USA will be looking for Gold.

The last time baseball was played in the Olympics was in 2008 when the games were in Bejing. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has decided to bring baseball for this summer only; after the 2021 games have concluded, baseball will be removed from the events program.

With baseball coming returning to the games this summer, Team USA has been actively preparing for competition to qualify for a spot this summer. Team USA is in a unique situation, with six countries being able to qualify for the Olympics. As it currently sits, four teams have already qualified for the Olympics: Japan (host country), Israel, South Korea, and Mexico. Team USA will have their work cut out for them as they try to qualify for one of the final two spots.

2021 Olympic Baseball: American Qualifying Round

In an article that Jon Morosi from MLB Network wrote, Team USA will have an opportunity to qualify for the Olympics on home soil. Starting in June, The United States will host the Americas qualifying tournament in Florida.

Among the teams competing in the tournament will be Team USA, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, Cuba, Venezuela, Canada, and Columbia. The eight teams will be split into Group A and Group B. Team USA will be put into Group A with the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Nicaragua. The tournament format will consist of a head-to-head contest, and the teams with the best record will advance into a Super Regional. The team with the best overall record in the Super Regional will be declared the winner and secure the fifth National team spot in the Tokyo Olympics.

Going into the American qualifying round in June, Team USA is the top-ranked team and is the favorite to win the tournament. If Team USA can win the tournament, they will secure that fifth National team spot; if not, they will have one more opportunity to qualify in the Taichung and Douliu International Qualifier in mid-June.

2021 Olympic Baseball: International Qualifying Round

The International Qualifying tournament will be played June 16-20 in China. This will be the last opportunity for Team USA to secure a National team spot in the Olympics if they cannot win the Florida tournament. Teams in the International tournament will be Chinese Taipei (host), Australia, Netherlands, China, and the second and third-place teams from the America tournament. The winner of this tournament will secure the sixth and final National team spot in the Tokyo Olympics. The format for the International tournament has not been announced.

2021 Olympic Baseball: Final Thoughts

It will be exciting to finally be able to watch Team USA compete for a gold medal in this summer’s upcoming Olympics. It was unfortunate that we all had to wait a year due to the global pandemic. Still, we will have some International baseball in one of the best sporting competitions in the World. It will be exciting to watch some of the stars of tomorrow represent their country in Tokyo.

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Main image credit: Embed from Getty Images

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Jeff "Rip" Griffin is a current MLB writer covering the Houston Astros. Rip is also the host of The Rip Griffin Show on Apple Podcasts. Rip holds a Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology, focusing in Sports Management from the University of Houston - Victoria.