In a recent podcast appearance, Bryce Harper took a swing at MLB for being against allowing its players to participate in the Summer Olympics. Unlike league executives, the Phillies outfielder believes that it'd be great for the sport if MLB paused the season for a couple of weeks to allow the game's biggest stars to go to Japan in 2021 and compete for a medal.
It sounds like a good idea in theory, but David Samson is of the mind that this plan will never happen. On the Friday edition of "Nothing Personal With David Samson," the host kicked off his show with an explanation of what he calls the reality of the situation. He cites his experience of dealing with the World Baseball Classic -- an international tournament that also happens once every four years -- as an example.
"What was going on behind the scenes before the World Baseball Classic is not often talked about," he said. "What was going on was an amazing tug of war between the commissioner's office and owners, owners and players, players and the union, and the commissioner's office and the union. It was a circle of problems."
Logistical issues are typically a concern among all professional leagues across the United States with regards to international competitions, as Samson explains with the WBC. The NHL, for instance, prevented pro players from participating in the last Winter Olympics because it happened in the middle of the season, but had allowed it previously. Concerns aren't just from the league, players can have them too as shown by NBA players choosing to sit out of the FIBA World Cup or Olympic games to get some rest over the summer after a long season.
Perhaps the only league that's open to these competitions is MLS, which experiences the interruption of international tournaments in the middle of their season that goes through the summer. But that's because the league is incentivized to allow their homegrown stars to go to the World Cup and maybe become domestic heroes to help grow the league.