With everyone on the Philadelphia Phillies focusing on getting back into the World Series this year, another big-stage baseball event appears to be on a comeback trail in just a few years. The announcement was made recently by the International Olympic Committee that baseball will once again be an official Olympic sport for the 2028 Summer Games in Los Angeles.
In the case of Phillies star Bryce Harper, a long-time wish has finally come true.
Harper expressed his thoughts prior to Game 1 of the NLCS, as reported by Paul Hagen of NBC Sports Philadelphia.
"I'll be old at that point, so I don't know if they're going to want me to be on the team," Harper said. "But it's always a dream … I mean, I think it's everybody's dream to be in the Olympics … you talk about growing the game, and that's the way you grow it at the highest peak. You let guys that are playing in the league take that break just like in the NHL and see what happens.”
Harper further elaborated on his potential participation in the distinctive event.
"I think it would be really cool. I think it would be a lot of fun. I don't know if they'll ever go for it, but I would love to put USA on my chest and represent (the country) at the highest level," he said. "I know the WBC and everybody loves that, and it's great for the game. But it's not the Olympics ... So it would be really cool."
One of the main obstacles with MLB has been their reluctance to interrupt the MLB season schedule just for the world event. If they opted just to allow players to leave their team to participate, it wouldn’t be fair as well, as it would impact teams to varying degrees depending on how many of their players end up participating.
The Olympics had previously had baseball as part of their included competitive sports. Initially, it only allowed amateur players to participate, but later, professional players were given the green light. However, MLB hasn’t allowed their players to participate at all. So whether or not they will let them this time around will be a question that will likely be answered in the upcoming years as the event draws closer.
But at least in the mind of Harper, it should happen for the good of the sport, along with being able to represent one’s country with pride and honor. So, let’s hope it comes to fruition by 2028.