At the IOC's general session during the Rio Olympics, baseball and softball were readmitted to the Olympic program for Tokyo 2020 following a two-cycle absence. The decision came as no surprise considering the popularity of baseball and softball in Japan.
Baseball and softball will once again be absent from the Paris 2024 Olympics, but are likely to return once more for Los Angeles 2028.
2019 WBSC Premier12
The top qualifying event for baseball at the Tokyo Games, the World Baseball Softball Confederation Premier12, matched up the 12 highest-ranked national teams in the world. Japan defeated South Korea in the final inside the Tokyo Dome. Since Japan is automatically qualified for the 2020 Olympics as the host nation, South Korea earned the first of two qualification spots as runner-up. The second qualification spot was up for grabs in the third place game between the United States and Mexico. Mexico prevailed, 3-2, on a walk-off single in extra innings to book a ticket to the Tokyo Olympics.
WBSC Baseball Americas Qualifier
The United States ran through a loaded field of North and South American nations to win the Baseball Americas Olympic Qualifier in June, booking the fifth spot in the Olympic tournament. The U.S., led by former MLB All-Star Todd Frazier, went 4-0 in the tournament, defeating Venezuela in the final game by a score of 4-2.
Final Qualifying Tournament
The Dominican Republic won a three-team last chance qualifier in late June to earn the final spot in the Olympic tournament. The Dominicans defeated Venezuela and the Netherlands in Mexico after other nations from Asia declined the invitation to compete for an Olympic berth due to COVID-related travel concerns.
The Olympic tournament will be contested between Japan, South Korea, Israel, Mexico, the United States and the Dominican Republic.