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#pounditSunday, September 26, 2021

Softball at Olympics gets shaft playing on baseball field

Softball Olympics Japan

Some sporting events are already underway at the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo. Softball kicked off the Olympics, with women’s soccer also seeing action.

One thing that stood out immediately when watching the first softball games was the venue. The first few days of softball events are taking place at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium. As the name implies, the stadium is a baseball stadium. It’s a turf baseball field, with baseball dimensions, and designed for baseball. But many of the Olympics softball games are taking place there.

That means there are temporary fences surrounding the middle of the foul territory and outfield to designate limits of the softball field. There is a dirt rectangle in front of the baseball pitcher’s mound for softball pitchers. The softball basepaths are located within the baseball basepaths.

All around, it looks very cheap, especially considering this is supposed to be the highest level of softball in the world. There is no doubt that if treated properly, softball should have its own venue, tailored specifically to its dimensions rather than built within a baseball field.

So what’s going on? Well, as you probably guessed, this is a cost-saving measure. NBC Sports’ softball announcers said that baseball and softball agreed to share the venue as part of an effort to get back into the Olympics. This is the first year softball and baseball are back in the Olympics since 2008.

Fans who enjoy softball are likely miffed over the shared stadium, but probably recognize that is better than not having the sport in the Olympics at all. Baseball and softball will not be played at the Olympics in 2024. They decided it was more important to have break dancing and wall climbing.

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