NYSportsJournalism.com published an interview with IBAF president Harvey Schiller on Monday. In the Q&A he speaks about Baseball’s chances for reinstatement into the Olympic program at the IOC congress in Copenhagen in October.
NYSJ: It would seem that guaranteeing star players is a more difficult issue, especially for an event seven years away.
Dr. Schiller: In the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, of the eight teams that participated, five had absolutely their best players and the only team that did not have players off of the 25-man roster was the United States, which sent players off of the 40-man roster. So what we are doing, and what baseball commissioner Bud Selig has said, is that the roster will be the best players ever to participate from Major League Baseball. What does that mean? I can’t answer that today because it’s up to the players themselves to participate.
NYSJ: So you think the IOC wants the U.S. to guarantee an All-Star Game-type roster, which might be difficult in the middle of the MLB season?
Dr. Schiller: What I really think President Rogge wants is not that we have 25 players off the 25-man rosters but that, as in tennis in Beijing, when Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were there, he wants a couple of major stars. At the meeting we had with the IOC in Lausanne, Switzerland. in November, one of the questions was, “Will you bring your stars?” My reply was, “We have 30 [MLB] teams. The starting rotation has five pitchers, so that’s 150 pitchers. So you tell me which are the stars. I can’t define that [seven years] from now.” A good example is Curtis Granderson [of the Detroit Tigers], whom we took with us to the IOC presentation. In today’s world he is certainly a valuable player, but he doesn’t get the attention that Derek Jeter gets. In my view, Curtis is a star and would be a great representative of this country.