Baseball's on again, off again relationship with the Olympics continues, as the sport returns for the first time since 2008 and will want to make an impression, having been dropped from the 2024 Olympic schedule.

Often thought of solely as U.S sport, Baseball actually has a devoted following in a number of countries, including Cuba and the host nation of Japan.

Advertisement brings you up to speed with everything you need to know about baseball at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo in the summer of 2021.

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When is baseball at the Olympics?

Baseball runs between Wednesday 21st July until Saturday 7th August.

The softball medal final takes place on Tuesday 27th July, while the baseball medal final is on Saturday 7th August.

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Check out our guide on how to watch Olympics 2020 or see Olympics on TV today for more details, timings, and exclusive expert analysis from some of the biggest names in world sport over the coming weeks.

Sir Chris Hoy, Beth Tweddle, Rebecca Adlington, Matthew Pinsent and Dame Jess Ennis-Hill are among the stars we have to being their esteemed opinions, so don't miss what they have to say.

Olympic baseball rules

Due to the very small number of qualifying teams, the rules for the Olympic baseball tournament are a little unusual.

The competition will start with a round-robin group stage with two groups of three teams, which is comparatively normal, but the following round will feature a convoluted double-elimination round.

Teams will play each other according to their finishing positions in the group stage (Group A winner v Group B winner and so on), with the opening match between the two lowest-placed teams being used to eliminate the loser immediately.

All the other teams will then enter a repechage phase of the round, meaning that it's possible to lose a match and still potentially play for the gold medal.

Does Team GB have an Olympic baseball team?

There is a British baseball team, but due to the decision to cut the number of baseball teams competing at the Olympics from eight to six, Team GB won't be competing.

Instead, six teams will fight it out – Israel, Japan, Dominican Republic, United States, Mexico and South Korea.

Interestingly, Major League Baseball, the sports governing body in the U.S., refused to let national teams draft players from the professional clubs 40-man rosters, essentially hindering the selection of the highest level professional players in the states.

Conversely, Nippon Professional Baseball, the governing body in Japan, has suspended play in both of its leagues to allow the Olympic selectors to recruit an all-star squad that will be the hot favourites to take the gold medal.

The Olympic baseball matches will start in Fukushima on the 28th of July with a match between Japan and the Dominican Republic, and will move to Yokohama and continue through to the gold medal match on the 7th of August.

Read more – check out our comprehensive guides to the Olympic sports: Athletics | Boxing | Golf | Shooting | Trampoline | Water Polo

Radio Times Olympics Special issue is on sale now.


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