21/07/2021 - 27/07/2021


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Softball Olympic Games 2020 - Official Payoff
Tokyo 2020 Olympic baseball and softball generates global coverage, headlines
09/08/2021 2 Minute Read

Tokyo 2020 Olympic baseball and softball generates global coverage, headlines

Baseball and softball made a buzz at the Tokyo 2020 Games.

The softball tournament opened the Games of the XXXII Olympiad Tokyo 2020. The New York Times celebrated the return to the Olympic program after 13 years.

Former softball star Jessica Mendoza was one of NBC's Olympic Commentators.

Justin McCurry of the British Daily The Guardian wrote about the first softball game played at the Fukushima Azuma Stadium: "Silence and sadness greet a softball match meant to signal the recovery of a city devastated by earthquake and tsunami in 2011 (…) Few will remember the details of Yukiko Ueno’s opening pitch to Michelle Cox in Japan’s softball match against Australia in Fukushima on Wednesday morning. But her delivery, witnessed by the organising committee president, Seiko Hashimoto, signalled that the most bizarre Games of modern times really are happening."

Fukushima Azuma Stadium hosted both the baseball and the softball openers. The choice was seen as symbolic of the recovery after the 2011 Tsunami by Japan Today.

As soon as the softball tournament opened, it made the world press highlights after a bear was seen around Fukushima Azuma Stadium. The Reuters press agency quoted US star Monica Abbott stating: "I'm kind of disappointed I didn't get to see it."

The Asian black bear, or white-chested bear, is a carnivore largely adapted to the arboreal lifestyle and listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The New York Times also reported the frustration of softball fans about their discipline being played on a baseball field.

US softball Olympians actually were quoted by USA Today saying they didn't mind playing on the adapted baseball field.

Eddie Alvarez made the headlines as he was named one of two USA flag bearers for the Opening Ceremony. In particular, the Washington Post focused on Alvarez, already a Winter Olympics medalist, "seeking a summer medal."

The New York Post highlighted that former New York Yankees slugger Hideki Matsui carried the Olympic Torch. Japanese baseball greats Sadaharu Oh and Shigeo Nagashima were also among the Torch carriers.

Japan's gold medal in softball was celebrated by the Kyodo News agency highlighting the accomplishment of legendary pitcher Yukiko Ueno, the winning pitcher of the gold medal game against the United States in 2008 and 2021.

The France 24 agency introduced the baseball tournament emphasizing the number of youngsters who play baseball in Japan.

Reuters reported about the impact of the SSK WBSC Olympic baseball. US pitcher Joe Ryan named it "is the best ball in the world".

Japan's success had a big impact on the coverage by local media. A survey on Twitter voted baseball gold as the biggest event for the Japanese people. Japan earned a record 58 Olympic medals; 27 were gold.

The media also covered baseball/softball ambition to become a permanent sport on the Olympic programme. According to the Associated Press in the UK, softball bronze medalists Canada appealed to the International Olympic Committee "to stay for 2024."
Sports Illustrated wrote that the medal games proved baseball/softball deserve Olympic Sport status.

The Los Angeles Times wrote that the 2028 Games in LA could host a faster style of baseball.

The baseball bullpen cart and the foul ball alert siren also made the headlines.