The International Olympic Committee hope to meet with officials from the World Baseball Softball Confederation to discuss the potential reinstatement of baseball as an Olympic event, as Fox Sports' John Morosi reports.
WBSC officials are "increasingly optimistic" that baseball and softball will be reconsidered for the 2020 games in Tokyo. Baseball was last contested as an Olympic sport in 2008, but the IOC decided not to bring it back, opting to keep wrestling instead.
However, the IOC could be convinced to reconsider their decision given baseball's momentous popularity in Japan. Local Japanese committees and the International Baseball Federation will join the WBSC in lobbying new IOC president Thomas Bach to give baseball another hearing.
If the IOC agrees to hear their case, baseball's supporters will likely cite the considerable success of the World Baseball Classic, specifically in Japan. If they could come to an agreement to suspend the Nippon Professional Baseball season during the event, the projected turnout could make a compelling case to the IOC.
Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig has also supported reinstatement, but the MLB season would not be subject to a potential hiatus, so most players on 40-man rosters would likely stay home. In the 2008 games in Beijing, minor leaguers and college amateurs -- some of them highly touted prospects like Stephen Strasburg -- managed to take home the bronze, finishing behind South Korea and Cuba.
While it would be exciting to watch countries compete for a gold medal on a baseball diamond, the Olympic version of the games will never be quite as competitive as the WBC, since the summer games will always clash with the MLB season. Nevertheless, if baseball is reinstated, it could help increase the global popularity of the sport.