Ahead of the Summer Games in Tokyo, the United States has qualified for the first Olympic baseball tournament since 2008.
The U.S. under manager Mike Scioscia was part of a recent qualifying tournament in Florida, and with their 4-2 win over Venezuela on Saturday the Americans both won that tournament and punched their ticket for Tokyo. The U.S. now joins an Olympic baseball field that also includes Israel, Mexico, South Korea, and host Japan. The sixth and final spot will go to the winner of a final qualifying tournament that takes place later in June.
Venezuela and the Dominican Republic will be among those vying for the last berth. Cuba, winner of three of the five past gold medals awarded in the sport, failed to make the Olympic field for 2021.
The U.S. won all four games in the recent qualifying tournament and along the way out-scored the opposition by a margin of 29-10. Scioscia's roster includes a number of notable prospects and also notable MLB veterans like Matt Kemp, Todd Frazier, David Robertson, Edwin Jackson, Homer Bailey, and Matt Wieters. Five-time All-Star Adam Jones may also be in the mix for a spot in Tokyo, but he wasn't eligible for qualifying play because he's presently playing professionally in Japan. Players on Major League Baseball 40-man rosters are not eligible to play for Team USA in Olympic qualifiers.
In past Olympic Games, the U.S. baseball team has won gold once, in 2000, and bronze twice (1996 and 2008). The baseball portion of the Tokyo Olympics gets underway on July 27 and concludes on Aug. 7.