, Softball/baseball at Tokyo Olympics 2020: the new event rules and when to watch , Nzuchi Times

Softball/baseball at Tokyo Olympics 2020: the new event rules and when to watch 

, Softball/baseball at Tokyo Olympics 2020: the new event rules and when to watch , Nzuchi Times

After an absence of 13 years, the sports of baseball (men) and softball (women) will make their return to the Olympics. Both are sure to be popular additions with the host nation.

Softball begins before the Games officially open with baseball following after the women’s competition has concluded.  Unlike men’s baseball, women’s softball did not have any exhibition or demonstration games or tournaments prior to its debut at Atlanta 1996, the Games after baseball became a medal event in 1992.

The two sports have been dropped for the Paris 2024 Games, although they will likely return as part of the 2028 summer games in Los Angeles.

When is it?

Softball

Wednesday, July 21 – opening round: Aus v Jap, Ita v USA, Mex v Can (01:00-09:00 BST)
Thursday, July 22 – opening round: USA v Can, Mex v Jap, Ita v Aus (01:00-09:00 BST)
Saturday, July 24 – opening round: Aus v Can, USA v Mex (02:00-08:30 BST)
Saturday, July 24 – opening round: Jap v Ita (12:00-14:00 BST)
Sunday, July 25 – opening round: Aus v USA, Can v Jap (02:00-08:30 BST)
Sunday, July 25 -opening round: Ita v Mex (12:00-14:00 BST)
Monday, July 26 – opening round: Jap v USA, Can v Ita (02:00-08:30 BST)
Monday, July 26 – opening round: Mex v Aus (12:00-14:00 BST)
Tuesday, July 27 – bronze medal game (05:00-07:00 BST)
Tuesday, July 27 – gold medal game (12:00-14:00 BST)

Baseball

Wednesday, July 28 – opening round: Dominican Republic v Japan (04:00-07:00 BST)
Thursday, July 29 – opening round: Israel v South Korea (11:00-14:00 BST)
Friday, July 30 – opening round: Mexico v Dominican Republic (04:00-07:00 BST)
Friday, July 30 – opening round: USA v Israel (11:00-14:00 BST)
Saturday, July 31 – opening round: Japan v Mexico (04:00-09:00 BST)
Saturday, July 31 – opening round: South Korea v USA (11:00-14:00 BST)
Sunday, Aug 1 – knockout stage (04:00-07:00 BST)
Sunday, Aug 1 – knockout stage (11:00-14:00 BST)
Monday, Aug 2 – knockout stage (04:00-07:00 BST)
Monday, Aug 2 – knockout stage (11:00-14:00 BST)
Tuesday, Aug 3 – knockout stage (11:00-14:00 BST)
Wednesday, Aug 4 – knockout stage (04:00-07:00 BST)
Wednesday, Aug 4 – semi-final (11:00-14:00 BST)
Thursday, Aug 5 – semi-final (11:00-14:00 BST)
Saturday, Aug 7 – bronze medal match (04:00-07:00 BST)
Saturday, Aug 7 – gold medal match (11:00-14:30 BST)

Where is it?

Action will be held across Yokohama Stadium, Yokohama and Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium, Fukushima City.

What is the competition format?

Softball

Six teams play in a single round-robin format, playing five games each. The top two teams move on to the gold medal game, with the third- and fourth-placed teams playing in the bronze medal game.

Baseball

Six teams will also compete in the baseball competition in Tokyo, down from eight at the sport’s last appearance on the Olympic programme at Beijing 2008.

The format is much more complicated than softball… The six teams will be drawn into two groups of three, each playing two games. However, none of the teams will be eliminated after the round-robin stage.

In the first knockout round, the two second-placed teams and the two third-placed teams face each other. (The two group winners move straight to the second knockout round.) The losers from each of those games will face each other in an elimination game.

From that point forward, all games up to and including the bronze medal match will be played in a double elimination knockout format, meaning teams must lose twice to be eliminated from the tournament. The gold medal game will be single elimination.

How does the scoring work?

The batting team has one player on ‘home plate’ – one of four bases that make up a baseball ‘diamond’. The aim is to hit the ball, and run around these bases, back to the home plate, to score a run.

The fielding team has: one pitcher, who throws the ball to the batter from the central mound; the catcher who stands behind the batter; and three outfielders and four infielders, ready to catch the ball.

A batter is out when they miss the ball three times or are run-out between bases.

When the fielding team gets three players out, the teams switch roles – this counts as one inning. There are nine innings over a game in baseball and seven in softball, with the team with the most runs the winner.

Will Team GB be competing?

Team GB did not qualify a team in baseball. In softball, the women got to within one match of gaining surprise qualification, but ultimately came up short. 

Other teams to watch out for

Men

While Major League Baseball-affiliated players may only play in the Olympics if they are not on their MLB team’s active roster, Japan and South Korea will be able to call on their top domestic-based players from Nippon Professional Baseball and the Korean Baseball Organization.

Men’s line up: Japan, Israel, Mexico, South Korea, United States, Dominican Republic.

Women

The women’s line up is: Japan, USA, Australia, Italy, Mexico and Canada

Hosts Japan are the defending champions from Beijing, while the United States will look to regain top spot. Australia are also usually in the medal mix.

Key phrases 

Baserunner

An offensive player becomes a baserunner as soon as he/she leaves the batter’s box and attempts to advance around the bases. 

Home run

When a batter hits the ball out of the park to automatically score a run.

Pitcher

The player on the fielding team who throws the ball to the batter from a central mound on the field.

Steal

When a baserunner advances to the next base without the ball being put in play by the batter.  

Strike

When a batter misses the ball while trying to hit it. Three of these and that batter is out.

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