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Baseball, softball react to postponement of the Olympics to 2021

Baseball, softball react to postponement of the Olympics to 2021
25/03/2020
With the outbreak of COVID-19, the world will have to wait one more year for the return of baseball and softball at the Olympics Games at Tokyo 2020.

Baseball and softball players, leagues and federations worldwide reacted to the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to 2021, which means everybody will have to wait another year before the bat-and-ball sports make their way back to the Games.

Matt Clark -- whose ninth-inning home run heroics in the Premier12 2019 bronze medal game against USA helped earn Mexico its first Olympic berth in baseball -- tweeted a sad face.

Former Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star and Gold Glove winner Ian Kinsler, who helped the Boston Red Sox win the 2018 World Series, committed to representing Israel in the Olympics just hours before the postponement became official.

"Tokyo, when you’re ready, we’re ready," the Israel Association of Baseball tweeted along with a video featuring Kinsler.

According to the Yonhap News Agency, the postponement of the Games will be welcomed with relief by the Korea Baseball Organisation (KBO). The season won't start until 20 April and KBO had scheduled an 18-day break from 24 July to 10 August. This would have taken the Korean Series into early winter.

Monica Abbott, one of the best known women's softball players in the world and a top pitcher for the USA National Team tweeted about her shock in learning the news.

During an ESPN.com podcast, Abbott expressed her concern for the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee: "My heart hurts for them, and all the preparation work they have made for that."

Cat Osterman, another USA star pitcher, had retired after the 2008 Olympics but is planning a comeback."I think I had already mentally racked my head around that there would most likely be a postponement and that's most likely going to be a year," Osterman said. "In fact, I asked my husband what would it mean if it is delayed a year and how we would handle that."

Canada's Danielle Lawrie commented: "My phone blew up, social media blew up." The ace softball pitcher added: "I love that Canada threw the first punch with this because it really takes a stand for the athletes."

Softball Australia Chief Executive Officer David Pryles said the organisation is fully supportive of the Australian Olympic Committee and their stance on postponement. "Our athletes, along with all athletes around the world, will welcome the extra time to prepare for the Olympics as it is obviously difficult to train efficiently in the current climate."

The Mexican Softball Federation fully supported the decision to postpone the Games and said, "The Olympic Games are the most sought after sports event in the world, and while we expected the games to be affected, it does not make the postponement any easier to handle. Our athletes are saddened but are keeping their heads high knowing that it will only be another year until they can fight for a medal."

World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) President Riccardo Fraccari tweeted: " We will have to wait a little longer. The health and safety of athletes, officials, spectators and the international community must always remain our top priority."

Meanwhile, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach, a 1976 fencing Olympic gold medalist, reached out to all athletes to emphasize the concept that, despite postponement, they will still have the chance to enjoy the Olympic Games. While the IOC Athletes' Commission welcomed the decision of the postponement with a statement through the Athlete365 website that "fully supports" the decision.