For the first time since 2004, baseball will return to the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Whether MLB players will participate is still up in the air, but the prospects of a deal could be close to conquering one massive hurdle.
On Wednesday, Casey Wasserman, chairman of the group integral to bringing the games to L.A., made a proposal to owners explaining how MLB could seamlessly participate. The Olympic tournament would take place in mid-July, replacing the All-Star break while having minimal impact on the rest of the regular season schedule.
Perhaps most importantly, Wasserman added that Olympic organizing committees and federations would cover “at least some” of the insurance necessary for players, per Evan Drellich of The Athletic.
While it might seem like a small detail, ironing out insurance and who will pay for it is a huge deal. As Drellich pointed out, the NHL recently addressed the same issues, marking a return to the Olympics for the league’s players for the first time since the 2014 games in Sochi.
The NHL officially announced it will let its players participate in the 2026 and 2030 Winter Games on Feb. 2. While plenty of logistics went into pulling everything off, one of the primary checks to mark off was insurance and travel accommodations for players. Commissioner Gary Bettman said they pulled the trigger on the deal once they knew those “big-ticket items” would be paid.
What’s still unknown for MLB’s situation is how much “some” means regarding the insurance costs Wasserman has promised, and whether that amount will be enough to convince baseball to make the same leap as the NHL.
Commissioner Rob Manfred will speak following the owner’s meeting on Thursday, likely addressing the Olympics discussion and other league issues.