Some people get all worked up about the Olympics; I can't say I'm one of them, at least not since I was a kid. I couldn't tell you the first thing about the history of Olympic baseball, although I do know that after this month, Olympic baseball is history. So my main interest in these games is as a showcase for a few Indians prospects who are participating.
Team USA features Akron OF/1B Matt LaPorta, 23, centerpiece of last month's Sabathia trade and arguably the Indians' top propsect, period. Team USA also includes Buffalo reliever Jeff Stevens, not quite 25, notorious fruit of the Brandon Phillips trade (not that there's anything wrong with being notorious fruit). Stevens electrified Indians prospect watchers by striking out 102 in 83 innings last season, earning a spot on the 40-man roster, and he continued at that pace in Akron this season before slowing down somewhat upon his promotion to Buffalo.
Team Canada features Kinston OF Nick Weglarz, 20, an excellent slugger prospect having a fine season against older competition in the Carolina League, probably one of our best five prospects at this point. Joining Weglarz is Akron reliever T.J. Burton, 25, more of an organizational solider than a serious prospect at this point.
Like the other Olympic sports, baseball will be broadcast sporadically across NBC's confusing network of networks, and many other events are being streamed online at nbcolympics.com in surprisingly high quality. Here's the schedule of games being broadcast or streamed, featuring Team USA and/or Team Canada:
|Tues Aug 12||11:30 p.m.||China vs. Canada||online|
|Wed Aug 13||6:00 a.m.||South Korea vs. USA (live)||online|
|1:00 p.m.||South Korea vs. USA (replay)||MSNBC|
|10:30 p.m.||Netherlands vs. USA (live)||online|
|Thurs Aug 14||2:00 a.m.||Netherlands vs. USA (replay)||USA|
|6:00 a.m.||Cuba vs. Canada||online|
|11:30 p.m.||USA vs. Cuba (live)||online|
|Fri Aug 15||2:00 a.m.||USA vs. Cuba (replay)||USA|
|6:00 a.m.||Canada vs. South Korea||online|
|10:30 p.m.||USA vs. Canada (live)||online|
|Sat Aug 16||12:30 p.m.||USA vs. Canada (replay)||MSNBC|
|Sun Aug 17||10:30 p.m.||Canada vs. Japan||online|
|Mon Aug 18||7:00 a.m.||USA vs. China (live)||online|
|12:00 noon||USA vs. China (replay)||MSNBC|
|Tues Aug 19||7:00 a.m.||USA vs. Taiwan (live)||online|
|12:00 noon||USA vs. Taiwan (replay)||MSNBC|
|Wed Aug 20||6:00 a.m.||Canada vs. Taiwan||online|
|7:00 a.m.||Japan vs. USA (live)||online|
|11:00 a.m.||Japan vs. USA (replay)||MSNBC|
|Thurs Aug 21||10:30 p.m.
||Medal semifinal A (live)
|Fri Aug 22||midnight||Medal semifinal A (replay)
|6:00 a.m.||Medal semifinal B (live)||online|
|2:00 p.m.||Medal semifinal B (replay)||MSNBC|
|10:30 p.m.||Bronze Medal Game (live)
|Sat Aug 23||2:00 a.m.||Bronze Medal Game (replay)
|6:00 a.m.||Gold Medal Game (live)||online|
|6:00 a.m.||Gold Medal Game (live)