Tournaments : : Story
Friday, July 31, 2009

Iowan Wants to Save Baseball as Olympic Sport

Jim Ecker        
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Bob Protexter wore a T-shirt in Fayetteville on Friday that proclaimed "Save Olympic Baseball" on the front, and it wasn't some novelty item he picked up in the Ozarks. He's literally trying to save baseball as an Olympic sport and is the managing director of
He's very serious about the topic and would like your help.
As you may know, baseball (and softball) have been eliminated as Olympic sports by the International Olympic Committee. It's too late to have baseball reinstated for the 2012 Summer Games in London, but it's not too late for the 2016 Summer Games that will be staged in Chicago, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro or Madrid. Seven sports are vying for two openings in 2016, with baseball and softball competing with karate, squash, golf, roller sports and rugby.
Protexter, 42, is in Fayetteville this week as the head coach of the Sioux City (Iowa) Bancrofts in the Premier Baseball Sophomore Championship. He's the owner and operator of Total Baseball Development and also is the Founder and President of Russian International Baseball with nearly 20 years of international baseball experience. This is a man who cares deeply about baseball as an international sport, both as a game and what it might accomplish on the world stage.
"It's a world connector," he said Friday. "Maybe if more countries played baseball, they wouldn't have wars. It's one more way to connect countries."
Baseball was played as an official Olympic sport in 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008. It was voted out for a variety of reasons, but one of the main problems seemed to be Major League Baseball's refusal to suspend its season for several weeks in July or August so major league players could play in the Games. The United States was represented by mostly minor leaguers at the 2008 Games, along with Stanford pitcher Stephen Strasburg, the No.1 pick in the 2009 draft.
The International Olympic Committee wants the very best athletes to compete in the Games, and apparently would rather have the very best curlers in the Olympics instead of the second-best baseball players. Or so the argument goes. There's also a matter of TV ratings, because Olympic baseball games with major league stars presumably would attract a greater television audience that Olympic games with unknown minor leaguers. There also have been complaints about the unpredictable length of baseball games.  
In any case, Protexter has accepted a call to action and would love to see other baseball fans get involved. There's no time to waste, because decisions about the 2016 Games will be made this summer and fall.
"Participate," he implored. "Buy a 50-cent postcard, put a stamp on it and say, 'Save Olympic Baseball' and send it to Switzerland," he said.
Switzerland is the headquarters for the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and you can get the exact address, the names of Olympic officials and everything else you need from Protexter's web site at You might get a neat T-shirt as well.
Protexter got involved with Russian baseball when he was still in college in the United States in the 1980s and made his first trip to Moscow in 1990. He said he wanted to help with the development of baseball in Russia, and it led to international baseball experiences in Europe, the Far East and Latin America. He also said he's worked with the Los Angeles Angels and Seattle Mariners in various roles with international baseball.
Protexter said making baseball an official Olympic sport in 1986 led to the growth of baseball around the world, from 60 countries with national baseball federations in 1986 to more than 125 today.
"That was because baseball got in the Olympics," he said. "So Ghana started baseball, the Soviet Union started baseball, countries that you can't find on a map started baseball," he said.
He predicts 20 or 30 countries will drop baseball as a national sport if baseball is not restored to the Olympics. "It's a travesty," he said.
You can reach Protexter at 712-490-7199. The e-mail address is
Most Viewed Related Articles
Weather Update - Jupiter
Update for playing conditions at the WWBA World Championship. READ 
World Championship Pool Preview
Pool-by-pool the teams, and talent, of the 2017 WWBA World Championship are previewed, as Will Banfield will look to emerge a... READ 
2017 Underclass World Bracket
Bracket READ 
WWBA World Championship Bracket
Bracket READ 
Recent Related Articles
2018 Tournament Schedule
Click here to view the PG tournament schedule for the 2018 season, starting with the MLK events in January and continuing thr... READ 
13u Fall World Series All-Tourney
The All-Tournament Team for the 2017 PG 13u Fall World Series, held November 4-5 in Emerson, Ga., is now available and includ... READ 
14u Fall World Series All-Tourney
The All-Tournament Team from the 2017 PG 14u Fall World Series, held November 3-5 in Emerson, Georgia, is now available. READ 
Fall World Series titles claimed
Elite Squad Prime 2022 (p) and the Kangaroo Court Roos claimed the championships at the inaugural 14u and 13u PG Fall World S... READ 
2017 PG tournament recap
PG All-American Xavier Edwards was named the MVP after helping the Canes 17u capture the title at the 17u PG WWBA National Ch... READ 
13U Fall World Series Bracket
Bracket READ 

About Perfect Game :: Contact us :: Terms of Use :: Privacy Policy :: Site Map :: Testimonials
Copyright 1994-2017 by Perfect Game. All rights reserved. No portion of this information may be reprinted or reproduced without the written consent of Perfect Game.