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.