There’s a chance baseball could get back into the Olympics

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Baseball and softball have been out of the Olympics since 2008 and they have repeatedly been shot down for reinstatement whenever the subject has come up. At present there is a rule that a sport can’t be reinstated or added to the Olympics without a seven-year advanced notice. But there is a chance that the International Olympic Committee may change this:

New IOC president Thomas Bach said Monday he expects discussion by the IOC membership at its general meeting on flexibility toward adding sports, for which the Olympic Charter has a seven-year rule. It mandates sports must be on the Olympic program seven years before the summer or winter Olympics in which they will be contested.

“If the opportunity exists to make such adjustments to the Olympic Games less than seven years before, I would be in favor,” Bach said. “If the IOC, the international federations and the organizing committee agree, the seven-year rule need not apply.”

The significance: the summer Olympics will be in Tokyo in 2020 and Japan is certainly receptive and ready to host baseball games. Indeed, you would assume that Japan would love to have baseball there as a gate draw and point of national pride for its national game.

Personally I could take it or leave it as an Olympic sport. I don’t get too jazzed by the WBC as it is and I’m not sure what adding it back to the Olympics would do either for the game in general or for people who already enjoy baseball at its highest levels. Still, somewhat interesting.

Phillies-Mets could get contentious tonight

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As the Mets were wrapping up a 9-0 shellacking of the Phillies on Tuesday night, reliever Jacob Rhame threw a pitch up and in to first baseman Rhys Hoskins with two outs in the ninth inning. The pitch sailed behind Hoskins’ back. The slugger wasn’t happy about the scare, understandably. Players began to trickle out of their respective dugouts, but a fracas was avoided.

Hoskins was skeptical that Rhame simply missed his spot. Per MLB.com’s Thomas Harrigan, Hoskins said, “He didn’t miss up and in the rest of the inning, so I’ll let you decide. I would assume teams are pitching me in because that’s where they think they can get me out, and that’s fine. That’s part of the game. Again, I think most guys are capable of pitching inside and not missing that bad.”

Teammate Bryce Harper said, “I don’t get it. I understand that two of their guys got hit yesterday. But, I mean, if it’s baseball and you’re going to drill somebody, at least hit him in the [butt]. Not in the head. You throw 98, it’s scary now. You could kill somebody. Lose your eyesight. That’s bigger than the game.”

Indeed, two Mets were hit by pitches on Monday night. José Álvarez hit Jeff McNeil in the seventh inning, which advanced a base runner. In the very next at-bat, Juan Nicasio hit Pete Alonso with a first-pitch fastball. It was obvious neither was intentional as the Phillies were only down two runs and hitting both batters advanced base runners and led to runs scoring. It is less obvious that Rhame’s pitch to Hoskins was unintentional, but he showed empathy in his post-game comments. Rhame said, “When you accidentally sail one, it’s probably pretty scary. I’d get [angry], too.”

Will Wednesday night’s series finale be contentious? Despite being “fairly upset,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said, “We do not retaliate, and we do not throw at anybody intentionally,” Jake Seiner of the Associated Press reports.

Mets manager Mickey Calloway didn’t give as straight an answer. Per MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, Calloway said, “I think at this point, you just go out there and beat people, and win. … For now, I don’t feel like anything has been intentional at us that has warranted anything from our side.” If that changes, however, Calloway said, “They’re going to have each other’s backs.”

Hopefully, neither side decides to take justice into their own hands. But, welcome to the NL East in 2019. The Mets lead the Phillies by one game, and the Braves and Nationals by 1.5 games. It’s going to be a knock-down, drag-out division fight all year long.