The Olympics are underway, and in the early going it seems London is doing a great job hosting the events. Unfortunately, thanks to the International Olympic Committee, they are missing one event that should absolutely be there.

Baseball is widely played and is wildly popular on parts of four continents, is a sport in which many smaller and less wealthy countries have enjoyed success, and, at last from where I sit, seems to be in the middle of some significant international growth. Currently the Cubs alone have players from North America, Asia, Australia, South America, and Africa playing in the majors or in the farm system. There are not many major sports that enjoy that breadth of an international presence.

So why is there no baseball in the Olympics anymore? I suspect the real reason comes down to the location of the IOC: Switzerland. Europe is the one continent on which baseball has had a very tough time gaining much traction. There are some players who come out of Europe, but not many. If baseball wants to break back into the Olympics (and I sincerely hope it does), then it needs to find a way raise its presence in Europe. Maybe instead of doing a season opening series in Japan, MLB should consider sending three or four season openers across the pond. That approach seems to be working for the NFL. Londonites still don’t seem to get American football, but they show up anyway. Maybe the citizens of Munich, Moscow, Milan, and Madrid would do the same for baseball. Maybe that approach would open the door to the return of Olympic baseball.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – Iowa fell in a pitchers’ duel 2-1.
Tennessee – Tennessee lost 8-5, but I’m not sure the game was actually that close.
Daytona – Four errors cost the Cubs dearly in this 9-7 loss.
Peoria – This game got out of hand early and resulted in a 10-4 Peoria loss.
BoiseBoise’s 1-0 win propelled them into a tie for first place.
Arizona – Saturday’s game in Arizona was postponed.

Performances of the Day

  • [Iowa] Brooks Raley struck out eight over six innings. The six hits and four walks he allowed are less encouraging, but he did limit the damage to just two runs.
  • [Iowa] Marcus Hatley, lately up from Tennessee, gave up a hit and a walk while striking out four in his two innings of relief.
  • [Iowa] The Cubs did not have a lot of offense in this game. Their lone run was the result of Brett Jackson‘s 15th home run. Jackson also stole his 23rd base in the game. Josh Vitters chipped in with his third steal and by reaching base twice on a hit and a walk.
  • [Tennessee] If it weren’t Justin Bour hitting a seventh inning grand slam for his 11th home run, this game would have been a blow out. Bour actually drove in all five of the Smokies’ runs.
  • [Tennessee] Matthew Szczur reached base twice on a hit and a walk, and he also picked up his first Double A outfield assist.
  • [Daytona] Hunter Cervenka pitched two more scoreless innings of relief, striking out three. He has now opened his Daytona career with five straight scoreless innings.
  • [Daytona] At least for the time being, Ronald Torreyes has solved High A pitchers. He finished 3 for 5 in this game with his 18th double and his 5th home run.
  • [Daytona] Timothy Saunders finished 2 for 4 with a double. This was his second consecutive multi-hit game for the Cubs.
  • [Peoria] Jeffry Antigua pitched two hit-less innings in relief, striking out two.
  • [Peoria] Zeke DeVoss reached twice on two walks and stole his 28th base. Pin-Chieh Chen stole his 26th base.
  • [Boise] Taylor Scott allowed four hits and three walks in his five inning start, but he also struck out four and kept those runners from crossing the plate.
  • [Boise] Hayden Simpson followed that up with three innings of one hit relief.
  • [Boise] The Hawk’s offense was thin in this game, but it was just good enough to pull out the win. Carlos Escobar had the only two hit game, and the only extra base hit (a double) for the Hawks. Escobar was driven in Jeimer Candelario for the game’s only run.

Other Minor League Notes

  • The starting pitcher Iowa faced on Saturday, and the pitcher Jackson tagged for a home run, was none other than Jacob Turner. Turner, as I’m sure you remember, had been linked to the Cubs in trade rumors of various degrees over the past seven months before he was finally sent to Miami.
  • Interestingly, Hayden Simpson’s GO/AO ratio was 7-1. When he was in Daytona he was said to be working on a sinker that would result in that sort of ground ball disparity. That sinker, if he is getting it working, would give him five pitches he can throw for strikes.
  • Junior Lake sat out this game with a sore wrist. I don’t think the injury is severe, but we may know more in a day or two. Lake has quietly put together a nice little hitting streak that stretches back to July 15. The last six of those games have all featured multiple hits.
  • According to Bruce Miles, recently freed from pay-wall purgatory, Tennessee outfielder Jae-Hoon Ha did in fact suffer a concussion in his violent collision with the outfield wall.

Farm System Standings

AAAIowa Cubs : 42 – 66.
Pacific Coast League American Northern Division – Fourth Place: 21.0 Games Behind.

AATennessee Smokies : 15-20
Southern League North Division – Fourth Place : 6.0 Games Behind

High ADaytona Cubs : 15-21
Florida State League North Division – Sixth Place : 6.0 Games Behind

Low APeoria Chiefs : 14-20
Midwest League Eastern Division – Fourth Place : 7.0 Game Behind

Short-Season ABoise Hawks : 3-2
Northwest League East Division – First Place (tie) : 0.0 Games Behind

Rookie LeagueAZL Cubs : 20 – 9
Arizona Rookie League East – First Place (tie) : 0.0 Games Ahead

  • DocPeterWimsey

    I’ve watched US football in UK pubs before. It’s an interesting experience: with my accent, people keep expecting me to explain and justify the sport, despite the fact that I do not follow football at all!

  • Elijah Levin

    That sux. I was totally expecting to watch baseball on the Olympics. Now I’m mad and the Olympics doesn’t mean squat now to me.

  • Jim

    I think that if the Olympics allow for baseball then they would probably also have to allow Cricket. The other issue with baseball is that the Olympics is right in the middle of baseball season. So who goes and plays?

    • DocPeterWimsey

      The Olympics do not run long enough for cricket! (Seriously, they really don’t….)

      • leroy k.

        Oh Lord, Cricket takes forever!!! At least being in England, there are no commercials for the olympics and everything is live.

  • Elijah Levin

    They could do the all star team like they did with basketba in the 80s and 90s, they could use the draft picks and college players.

    • Jackalope

      Currently enjoying watching USA destroy France live.

  • Jackalope

    2 quick questions:

    1) Is Antigua coming back from an injury that he’s down in Peoria. He was pitching well in AA earlier this season.

    2) I’m curious about your comment, Luke, on Simpson’s ability to throw 5 pitches for strikes. Even at Boise he has a 5.0 BB/9 rate.

    • Luke

      Just because he can throw them for strikes doesn’t mean he does. Simpson, by all accounts, has good to very good command. He also pitches too much around the edges of the zone and gets behind in the count too often. It’s not an uncommon problem with young pitchers, particularly those who, for some reason, do not really trust their stuff.

      • Jackalope

        I see what you’re saying, but for a 23 year old in short season ball, if he has the ability to throw strikes, he ought to be doing it. If he can’t trust his stuff against kids just coming out of high school, when is he going to?

        • Luke

          Of course he should be throwing more strikes. That largely why he was demoted Daytona to Boise.

          As for when he might trust his stuff more, I suspect it’ll be when (if) gets his velocity back. He’s made a lot of progress in that area, but he’s still got a ways to go.

          • Cheryl

            Luke, You say he’s made progress. By next spring if he doesn’t have his velocity and control back, would he be considered a bust?

            • Luke

              For now I continue to consider him roughly the same way as a player who has suffered a high-risk injury. When he he shows that he’s healthy and back to full strength, then I’ll consider where he fits in as a prospect.

  • Mysterious4th

    On the note with olympic baseball/softball a huge part is the lack of supports in Europe. But having a number of openers would be great there. Another huge help needs to be softball and baseball working together to break back into the olympics.
    Last night I was confused that badmitton and handball are olympic sports?! And baseball and softball are left off the bill. Its settled I will become the next US badmitton champion!

    • Jackalope

      Badmitton is huge in Asia.

  • DCF

    As much as I love baseball, I think it was the right decision to drop it from the games.
    The game is played with at least a litte “professionalism” (regarding quality of players, organizing a league and other competitons) only in a handful of countries.
    I.e. Latin America routinely generates dozens of world class baseball players, but organized leagues are widely absent, except for farm system games, which shouldn’t cunt, since they are no real competiton.

    Also, the best players in baseball were routinely absent. That used to be a problem with basketball as well, but there, the problem has been solved. The difference there is that

    A) basketball is played in organized leagues almost world wide. So there is an infrastructure in place, so that i.e. French or German NBA players can travel home and play for their own nationl teams. South America has mainly no infrastructure at all to make any use of MLB level players.

    B) MLB has not interest in letting MLB players play in the Olympics, as it happens in the middle of the baseball season.

    So overall, I can fully understand that the IOC has interest in a sports, in which only subpar athlete are coming to the Games and which does NOT have a wordwide following in the sense that it is really played and contested worldwide.

  • @cubsfantroy

    I didn’t even know the Olympics was going on until late Friday night when some people were talking about it on Twitter. I have never been into the Olympics, even when baseball was being played.

  • Stephen

    I have to disagree with the baseball in the olympics theory. Baseball is huge in the world and honestly is probably only second after soccer. I think this has to do with the level of play. Every other sport has the best of best in the world playing. The olympics had some high scholl and college aged players many of whom would likely not make it into the big leagues. The level of play wasnt there. Look at basketball. You have Kobe, Lebron, Durant and the very best players in the world. Look at the 2010 olympics with hockey, the gold medal game was one of the most exciting hockey matches I have ever seen primarily because it was an all star game that actually meant something. It was an amazing experience. Ive never watched baseball at the olympics thinking this was as good as it gets.

    If selig is willing to comit to shutting down MLB and allowing all his players to play in the olympics, they would bring it back. As of right now though I dont believe the olympics wants some mid level prospects representing their countries. I guess we’ll just have to wait for the world baseball classic…

  • Dave

    How did none of the London 2012 people realize that their logo looks like abstract Simpsons porn?

  • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

    The reason it isn’t a sport is two reasons. This is something I covered in college extensively. 1. It is not a popular European sport. 2. Because of number 1. they bring up the fact this isn’t a largely amateur sport, and the foundation of the modern olympics is amateurism and nationalism. Been that way since Baron Coubertin and Rome in 1896. Some would say if it wasn’t a modern version of a Greek sport where a woman can actively play they are biased towards it. Wrestling was a version of Greek sport. Some would also say women have Softball, but you don’t see anymore them adding sports men can’t play in. Just doesn’t happen anymore. Back when they did try different things the man in charge was Avery Brundage. He hated Pro sport. He was also racist, anti-Semitic, Nazi sympathizer, and a Communist sympathizer. If anything Baseball in the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s was played by African Americans, Japanese (Just beginning), and mostly immigrants. That was the era of change of Olympic games. Modern rules allow for change, but it happens on trial and then they vote. Without Europe’s backing it just won’t happen when it comes time for a permanent vote.

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  • Scotti

    I agree with you on Torreyes, Luke. The kid is on fire and has been so for two months now. He’s added big time to his BA. Stunning to see such a small guy with a .900 OPS over a prolonged period.

    Really like Simpson pitching in Boise (he can throw his FB and gain needed strength) and with him pitching the backside of the piggy back there’s no stigma of coming out after less than five IP (on days that the zip isn’t there he can come out after giving up 2-3 runs and not 6-7). Best for his recovery at this stage.

    • Drew7

      It is really nice to see Torreyes’ #s starting to trend upward. Of all the 2B prospects (not named Cardenas) he has shown the most power, while being 3-4 yrs younger. Of course, he seems to have the worst batting eye of the bunch, as well.

  • Scotti

    In terms of batting eye, you are going to see guys with freakishly good contact have lowish BB totals. The fact that he also has freakishly low K’s (in May–his worst month–he had all of 1 (one) strikeout) is an indication of a plus, plus batting eye. Now, whether or not he needs (needed) to take some so-so pitches so he could get some pitches to drive… That’s a different story.

    Remember also, pitchers are the ones who choose to walk, or not, batters. A guy who weighs 140 isn’t going to strike fear into most pitchers. For Torreyes to have a 10% BB rate he’ll need to estabish himself. That’s not something that he was doing early on (and his current slash line still demands little respect).