There's something to be said about athletes who develop enough skill for a game through sheer enthusiasm, consistent passion, and perseverance that they can turn that love into a viable profession. Being paid to do what you love and creating happiness in those challenges, again and again, no matter what's happening in your life, is probably the closest you'll ever get to winning at life.
But in sports, there are some truly amazing distinctions to go after even on that high level, like the Olympics. When it comes to grand competitions, you could do worse than one where people are literally competing for an ancient glory that dates back to the times Olive Oil was used for pretty much everything (and we do mean everything). So why can't MLB players partake in the games?
Why can't MLB players play in the Olympics?
Is it because the Olympics Committee still hasn't forgiven the league for the Black Sox Scandal in the 1919 World Series or because they couldn't forgive what the game did to Harvey Keitel's character in Bad Lieutenant? No, neither of those are the answer, and if they were, then the IOC wouldn't have made it an official Olympic Sport in 1992.
Some of the NBA's top professionals players play in the Olympic Games, so why aren't top Major League Baseball stars headed to the Olympics to show the world why it's considered America's past time?
The reason is simple — money.
Sporting News writes, "While the USA Olympic baseball roster holds some journeyman players who have made their bones in the major leagues, the majority of the roster is comprised of minor-league guys and players who are on the doorstep of MLB teams."
And that's because "unlike Nippon Professional Baseball — Japan's top baseball circuit — which shuts down for the Olympics, Major League Baseball doesn't pause for two weeks to allow its stars to play on Team USA."
So that means big stateside franchises aren't going to let their players that they shelled out big bucks for go and play around the globe while they've got games to commit to in the states.
However, in 2020, the MLB and MLBPA, along with the International Baseball Federation, created a rule that allowed players who weren't on a team's 40-man roster to join in on the games.
So unless you're a die-hard baseball fan, then you're probably not going to recognize the players representing the United States out on the field. But there are still some former stars and up-and-coming players who are showcasing their skills.
Not all MLB players are happy about franchises being unwilling to risk their players getting injured abroad for a chance at gold medal glory.
Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper said per ESPN, "The 2020 Olympics, in Japan. And you're not sending big league guys? Are you kidding me? You want to grow the game as much as possible and you're not going to let us play in the Olympics because you don't want to [lose] out on money for a two-week period? OK, that's dumb."