Host City: Athina, Greece
Venue(s): Olympic Baseball Centre, Helleniko Olympic Complex, Hellinikon
Date Started: August 15, 2004
Date Finished: August 25, 2004
Format: Round-robin tournament followed by semi-finals and final.
Cuba won its 3rd gold medal in the fourth Olympic baseball tournament. But the baseball world order was changing. The United States, where the game was founded, did not even advance out of the Americas qualifying, and did not compete at the Olympics. In the Olympic round-robin, Cuba did not rank first, falling to Japan on run differential. But in the elimination rounds, Cuba rallied to win both games, defeating Canada, 8-5, in the semi-finals, and Australia, 6-2, in the final. Omar Linares and Orestes Kindelán no longer played for the Cuban team, which was led by Ariel Pestano, a catcher who batted .442 at the 2000-2004 Olympics, and drove in 14 runs in Athens. The Greeks played in the Olympic tournament as the host nation, although the game is almost unknown in Greece. They recruited a number of Greek-Americans to play for them, and to their credit, did not finish last, defeating Italy 12-7, to match them with 1-6 records, and placing 7th on run differential.