With baseball back for '28 Olympics, Bryce Harper wants in

League: MLB

Posted on: 17 Oct, 2023 at 12:19 AM

Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Now that baseball is officially returning to the Summer Olympics in 2028, birthday boy Bryce Harper hopes his wish will come true.

Harper, who turned 31 on Monday, said he would love to participate in the Games in Los Angeles -- if Major League Baseball allow its players to compete.

"My wife actually had a hair appointment this morning and she texted me ‘Happy Birthday' with that," Harper said before he and the Philadelphia Phillies faced the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series on Monday.

"She said, ‘Hey, I guess one of your birthday wishes forever got (granted).' I'm going to be old at that point, so I don't know if they're going to want me on the team, but it's always a dream. I think it's everyone's dream to be in the Olympics, especially coming here."

Along with baseball and softball, four other sports -- cricket, lacrosse, squash and flag football -- were added to the 2028 Summer Games on Monday.

Professional baseball players were first allowed to compete in the Olympics in 2000, but MLB wouldn't allow its players to take part, which meant minor leaguers filled the Team USA roster. After the IOC dropped baseball following the 2008 Games, the sport returned in 2020 in Tokyo -- held in 2021 due to the pandemic -- but the U.S. roster again featured only minor leaguers.

Harper is hopeful MLB will pause its season to allow players to take part in the Olympics, like the NHL has during the Winter Games.

"You talk about growing the game and that's the way you grow it to the highest peak -- you have guys who are playing in the league take that break, just like in the NHL, and see what happens," Harper said. "I think it would be really cool and a lot of fun.

"I don't know if they'll ever go for it, but I would love to put ‘USA' on my chest and represent it at the highest level. I know the WBC, and everyone loves that and it's great for the game, but it's not the Olympics."

--Field Level Media