MLBbro Nation Braces For Baseball’s Return To Tokyo Olympics

MLBbro Nation Braces For Baseball’s Return To Tokyo Olympics

If you consider yourself a baseball fan, then you should already be counting down the days until the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

If you don’t have the dates saved yet, hurry up and mark your calendars and be prepared to call out of work. 

This year’s games are going to be something special.

For the first time since 2008, baseball will be played at the Summer Olympics.

Fortunately for MLBbro Nation, this could mean something huge.

We might only be a few weeks away from watching both Matt Kemp and Edwin Jackson compete on an international level. Get ready.

Both Jackson and Kemp are a part of the 26-man roster that recently secured a berth in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics after defeating Venezuela 4-2 with Jackson on the mound.


Despite the win, and two hitless innings from Jackson, whether or not we see the duo in this year’s Olympic games has yet to be official.

Out of the 26-man roster, only 24 players make the final team. Jackson and Kemp both survived the cut when the qualifying roster went from 28 players to 26.

If you’re wondering why MLBbros like Mookie Betts and Aaron Judge are nowhere to be found on the Olympic roster, it’s because there is a major hurdle MLB players face when making an Olympic team.

That hurdle is the actual MLB season, which will be in full force come the Tokyo games. Plus, Major League Baseball does not allow its active big league players to participate.

This all leaves the United States with limited options when compiling a list of baseball players to send abroad during the month of July.

The solution? A team composed of the best minor league players and the best free agent players that the U.S. has to offer. Matt Kemp and Edwin Jackson should be easy additions to the final roster.

During his 14-year major league career, Kemp became a three-time All-Star, two-time Gold Glove, and a two-time Silver Slugger award winner.

In October 2020, he elected free agency after a short stint with the Colorado Rockies. Kemp is the most decorated player on the current Olympic roster, and his veteran leadership will be needed if the United States wants to win big in Tokyo.

A former All-Star and World Series champion, Jackson is one of nine African American pitchers to ever have a no-hitter in a Major League Baseball game. Like Kemp, Jackson is a veteran, and his leadership and experience on the mound will be key for the United States. 

In a conversation with MLBbro.com’s very own Telly Hughes, Jackson admitted that representing the United States is unique in comparison to the teams he’s played for in the past.

 


“I’ve put on a lot of different jerseys, but this one here is a little different,” said Jackson.

Team USA is set to announce its finalized roster on or after July 1, 2021.

Team USA Names Five Black Players To Olympic Qualifying Roster

Team USA Names Five Black Players To Olympic Qualifying Roster

 By Jaelen Ogadhoh | MLBbro.com Intern

Olympic baseball is back for the first time since 2008, and a few notable MLBbros are onboard.

USA Baseball released its 28-man training camp roster on Sunday, and five Black players are in the lineup. Among those players are major league veterans Matt Kemp, Edwin Jackson, and Anthony Gose, and minor leaguers Clayton Andrews and Simeon Woods Richardson. The final roster will be cut to 26 on Sunday, May 30.

 

 

“I’ve put on a lot of different jerseys, but this one will be special in a different way,” said Jackson to MLBbro.com on Monday. “I’m not only playing to represent myself and my family but our country.”

Kemp began his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2006-2014, where he earned two all-star appearances, two Golden Gloves, and two Silver Slugger awards. After brief stints with the San Diego Padres and Atlanta Braves, the 36-year-old outfielder returned to the Dodgers in 2018 where he earned his third all-star appearance in an incredible comeback story.

READ MORE: Matt Kemp Got His All-Star Swagger Back

He played for the Cincinnati Reds in 2019, and the Colorado Rockies in 2020 where he batted .239 with six home runs in 43 games. He is currently unsigned but could earn MLB teams’ interest with a strong showing in the Olympics.

Jackson made history in 2019 by pitching for his 14th different major league team, the most by any player in history. The 37-year-old played 17 years in the majors, earning an all-star appearance in 2009 with the Detroit Tigers, where he struck out 161 with 70 walks and posted an ERA+ of 125.

 

 

Gose played centerfield for the Toronto Blue Jays from 2012-2014 and for the Detroit Tigers from 2016-2016, batting .240/.309/.348 over his five-year major league career. Since leaving the Tigers, the 30-year-old has converted to pitcher and played in the minors within the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers organizations before joining the Cleveland Indians AA affiliate team in 2021.

Andrews was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2018 and currently plays for their AA affiliate team. Through seven games, the 24-year-old lefthander is 1-1 with a 4.82 ERA. His ability to make batters swing and miss is evident as he struck out 11 with 7 walks in 9 innings. His WHIP sits at 1.29.

Woods Richardson was drafted by the New York Mets in 2018, and the 20-year-old right-hander is 1-0 through four games with the Toronto Blue Jays AA affiliate team. He currently has a 2.37 ERA with 31 strikeouts and eight walks in 19 innings. His WHIP sits at 1.16.

 

 

No players currently on MLB rosters are participating in the qualifiers as the Olympics will be held during the season. The team will be managed by Mike Scioscia.

The Road to Tokyo for the U.S. starts with the Americas Olympic Qualifier against Nicaragua on May 31 at 5 p.m. ET from Clover Park in St. Lucie, Florida. The qualifying tournament also features the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Canada, Venezuela and Colombia, and the winner will clinch the fifth spot in the Olympics.

The second-and third-place teams from the tournament will then compete with the Netherlands, Australia and Taiwan, and for the sixth and final spot. 

Baseball is returning to the Olympics this year for the first time since the 2008 Games in Beijing, where USA Baseball took home the bronze medal. The U.S. won its only gold medal in baseball in the 2000 Sydney Olympics and looks to return to the mountaintop once again this summer.

And some MLBbros will be front and center.