Previously, I took a look at hypothetical dream teams for USA Baseball in the 1992 and 1996 Olympics. Today, it’s time to talk about how a dream team might have looked in 2000, at the Sydney Olympics.
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Way back in 2012, I did a post discussing what a baseball dream team for Team USA would have looked like in an alternate world where MLB stars came to the Olympics when NBA stars did: the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. And while my formatting and grammar wasn’t great (it was the first year of the blog), I still think it was a neat exercise.
So now, with the 2020 (err… 2021) games in full-swing in Tokyo, I got to wondering: What would the dream team have been in 1996? Let’s move forward that clock and assume that Team USA’s Olympic Baseball Team won gold in 1992, although not nearly in such a dominant manner as the basketball team did since international baseball talent in 1992 was better than international basketball talent in 1992. What does the team look like in 1996 in Atlanta?
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I previously talked about how the IOC should put baseball and softball back into the Olympics. But it got me to thinking: what if MLB had been on board with the Olympics and had sent dream teams overseas? I’m not even talking about the World Baseball Classic teams, which often are missing some key players (primarily pitchers) due to the fact that spring training is at the same time and they are worried that going all-out so early could get them injured. I’m talking about no-holds-barred dream teams that would have taken part in the Olympics during an extended All-Star Break. Who would have gone?
Well, with there being a lot of talk about the 20th anniversary of the original Basketball Dream Team, it got me to thinking of what sort of team the USA would have sent to Barcelona had they A) been allowed (technically, no professionals were allowed to play baseball in the Olympics until the 2000 games) and B) had MLB done a extended All-Star Break to allow the players to go without missing any games.
Drawing inspiration from how the basketball Dream Team was picked, it would be made up not just of the best players available, but also the most marketable. In order to make sure everyone was ready in advance, they presumably would have picked the players based on their performance in 1991. While in 1992 the Olympic teams were limited at 20 players, by the time professionals were in the Olympics the roster had been increased to 24 or 25 players, so I’ll go with that.
So, presenting the alternate universe 1992 Team USA Olympic Baseball Team:
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