Yakult say no to OLimpics

The Yakult Swallows have declined to release their ace-closer Lim Chang-Yong for this years Olympics in Beijing.

South Korean Lim, won’t be allowed to represent his country in the Olympic baseball competition this summer.

The reason for this decision given by the club was that due to the unexpected loss of Daniel Rios to a doping suspension, they could no longer afford to release Lim and lose the services of their closer.

Apparently Lim has accepted the decision.

I can’t say I’m particularly upset about this.  While I would have been happy for Lim to represent South Korea at the Olympics, I’d much rather see him remain with us during the summer, to help offset the loss of Aoki and Miyamoto to the same tournament.  With the third playoff spot still just about in reach, we really do need him back here in Japan.

Closer Lim has been a revelation since his acquisition this year, amassing 20 saves with an ERA of 2.032 in his 32 appearances for the Tokyo team so far this season.  He has made the closer’s position his own, with the long-term absence of Ishii Hirotoshi to injury, and the release of Japanese all-time saves leader Shingo Takatsu at the end of last season.

About David Watkins

David is a baseball bothering Brummie who spends a fair portion of his life fretting over the Tokyo Swallows and the WORLD'S GREATEST FOOTBALL TEAM, Aston Villa. He completes the quartet of abusive sporting relationships by being a die hard New York Knicks and Mets fan. You can find him on twitter: @yakulto

  • Nice work on the title.

  • I’m sure Koreans aren’t too happy about this decision, as all NPB teams are cooperating with the Japanese national team. But I guess that’s the price you pay for playing overseas.

  • John Lewis

    Since MLB doesn’t allow any of its Major Leaguers to vacate the pennant race to represent their respective countries, I don’t think the Swallows made a wrong decision. However to keep the competition tight among the participating nations, perhaps an age limit similar to soccer (aka football) should be set? Save the pro-level players for the WBC?

  • There won’t be any baseball or softball at the 2012 Olympics in London. And there won’t be any in the foreseeable future unless these sports get reinstated (unlikely, considering how much power Europeans have in the IOC, and the fact that they were counting on MLB stars to be at the Olympics, like the NHL, but got burnt).

  • However to keep the competition tight among the participating nations, perhaps an age limit similar to soccer (aka football) should be set? Save the pro-level players for the WBC?

    John, this would be a much better idea if baseball is to remain in the Olympics, make it more of a youth/under-21 style contest to keep things on an even keel between nations.

    With the WBC now in place, I can’t help but feel the Olympic baseball competition is almost completely irrelevent in it’s current form.

    But as you say Simon, it will cease to be an issue from the 2012 Olympics unless the IOC have a change of heart.

  • Baseball is primarily a club sport anyway – every baseball fan has a team (or teams) that he follows and I’d bet most baseball fans, however interested in international competition they might be, relishes losing club players for a few weeks or ignores the ongoing pro season to follow the Olympics. That head to head competition is not going to save baseball’s place in the Olympics, but, as Dave points out, that might not be a bad thing at all.

    Give me a pennant for the Swallows or the Cubs over a Japanese or American Olympic gold medal any day.