July 17, 2013 / 12:23 AM / 6 years ago

MLB rules out interrupting season for Olympics

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Major League Baseball ruled out the possibility of changing its season to allow top players to compete in the Olympics if the sport was readmitted to the Games, Commissioner Bud Selig said on Tuesday.

Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig arrives for Major League Baseball's All-Star Game in New York, July 16, 2013. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Baseball and softball have launched a joint bid to win back their spot on the Olympic program at the 2020 Games.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) wants the best players to compete and while Selig supports the bid, he said MLB will not interrupt its April-October season to make top professionals available.

“It just isn’t possible. I wish it was,” Selig told the Baseball Writers Association of America on Tuesday.

“I love the idea of baseball in the Olympics, I love the internationalization. We’ve told them (IOC) that directly.”

Baseball/softball was on the Olympic program from 1992 to 2008 but was dropped for last year’s London Games. The sports are now on a shortlist, along with wrestling and squash for readmission in 2020.

Many of the top players from the National Basketball Association compete at the Olympics because it does not clash with NBA season.

The National Hockey League takes a mid-season break to allow its players to appear at the Winter Olympics but Selig said it was impractical for baseball because it would mean shutting down the season for over three weeks just before the playoffs.

“People would think you’re crazy. You can’t do that,” Selig said.

“First of all, we’d be playing to (U.S.) Thanksgiving, maybe December 1, and secondly ... some teams would have to give up players (while) other teams would sit around for three and a half weeks.”

The IOC will elect the winning sport at its session in Buenos Aires in September.

Reporting by Julian Linden; Editing by Frank Pingue

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