Baseball will return to the Olympic program for the first time since 2008. The baseball tournament (men only) consists of six teams that will compete in two phases: an opening round and a knockout stage.
Each team can include 24 players on its roster, with nine players on the field at a time.
During each game, two teams will compete head-to-head. The teams alternate between batting and fielding, each session of which is called an inning (including both a “top” and a “bottom”), switching roles when the fielding team gets three opposing players out. The “away” team bats first (the “top” of the inning), while the home team bats second (the “bottom” of the inning).
The team with the most runs after nine innings wins. No game will end in a tie. If the score is tied after nine complete innings, the game will continue until one team has outscored the other at the conclusion of a complete inning.
There are no time-outs during the game and only a 90 second break between innings.
At the beginning of the tournament, the six teams will be divided into two pools consisting of three teams each. Each team will play every other team in the pool once.
At the end of the opening round, teams will be ranked based on their win-loss record. Every team will advance to the knockout stage. Any ties after the opening round will be broken using the following criteria:
- The team that won the game(s) between the tied teams will be ranked higher.
- A formula called “team quality balance (TQB), which is calculated as follows: (runs scored/innings played at bat) – (runs allowed/innings played on defense). Then, the second and third places shall be determined based on criterion 1.
- The team that has the best “Earned Runs Team Quality Balance” (ER-TQB).
- The highest batting average in games between the tied teams.
- A coin toss.
At the beginning of the knockout stage, teams will be placed into a bracket as follows:
There will be a total of ten games played in six rounds, including the bronze and gold medal games. Teams will be matched in the first three games according to their pool rankings from the opening round (A1 vs B1, A2 vs B2, A3 vs B3). The loser of the game between the two 3rd-place teams will be eliminated immediately. Apart from that, the games proceed in a double-elimination format. The last two teams remaining in the loser bracket will play in the bronze medal game, while the last two remaining in the winner bracket will play in the gold medal game.