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President Obama Will Make Olympic Pitch For Baseball

Jan. 15, 2009: President Barack Obama already has publicly stated his support to have Chicago host the 2016 Olympics, but later this year he also will use his power to help have baseball reinstated as an Olympic sport for the '16 Summer Games. "Obviously there are priorities, but we have been working with his people and he will be very involved in getting baseball back into the Olympics," said Dr. Harvey Schiller, president of the International Baseball Federation, the governing body that represents all of the game's federations worldwide (including softball, which also is seeking reinstatement). "This commitment [from the president-elect] is very important to our plans." President Obama's public push would be baseball-specific, going beyond a video he made supporting Chicago as the 2016 host city, which was shown as part of a presentation that Dr. Schiller made to the IOC during a 30-minute meeting on Nov. 14 in Lausanne, Switzerland. That presentation also included a photo of Obama, who was then campaigning for president, wearing a Chicago White Sox jersey and a video of former President George H.W. Bush speaking in favor of Chicago. Dr. Schiller said that if Chicago was selected as host city and baseball was reinstated, the city's two MLB parks, Wrigley Field (Cubs) and U.S. Cellular Field (White Sox) would help generate $30 million in revenue from baseball alone. The presidential push will be part of an eight-month drive that begins with the World Baseball Classic in March, runs through the MLB season and World Series and includes the Baseball World Cup in September, which will be played throughout Europe with 22 teams, including the U.S. The IOC is scheduled to consider making a decision on two of seven sports seeking Olympics Games reinstatement on Oct. 3, the day after it is scheduled to select the 2016 Summer Games venue. The IOC said it would have 28 sports at the 2016 Olympics, meaning that two sports can be added. The others seeking reinstatement are golf, karate, roller sports, rugby and squash. In July 2005, the IOC voted to drop baseball and softball from the Olympics following the 2008 Summer Games and won't be part of the 2012 Games in London. Back to Home Page


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