He knew it then. Baseball belonged at the Olympics.
Schierholtz is one of about 20 major-leaguers who can call themselves former Olympians. As closing ceremonies are set for Sunday, Schierholtz said he watched hours and hours of coverage with a hint of disappointment.
For the first time in 20 years, the sport was not contested at the games.
"It's just unfortunate," Schierholtz said. "You see some sports that you question how they're in it and baseball is not. It's not that they don't belong in it, but it just doesn't make a whole lot of sense."
The International Baseball and Softball Federations recently announced that they will make a joint effort to reinstate the two sports for the 2020 Olympics. Leaders of those two organizations suggested it will happen only if there is a commitment from Major League Baseball to send top players.
That is highly unlikely given that the Games fall in the middle of the season.
In the past, the United States fielded a team of minor leaguers, with some prospects and veterans mixed together. That strategy won gold in 2000 and bronze in 2008, when Schierholtz played.
He was a 24-year-old, triple-A outfielder then, but said the experience was valuable.
"Playing in that kind of environment prepares you for a lot more," Schierholtz said. "It was similar to a playoff atmosphere in the big leagues. It was that rowdy there.
"It was just a special thing to put on that USA jersey and run out there and play for your country. That was the best part of it all."
The bronze medal is stored, for now, in a safe-deposit box in Northern California. Schierholtz also left China with a chipped tooth - which later required a root canal - because of the collision.
"He was completely standing in the way of the plate," Schierholtz said of the catcher. "I lowered my shoulder and let him have it."
He just wishes others can have the same chance on the world's largest stage.
Nearly 50 former Phillies were introduced in pregame ceremonies as a part of alumni weekend. The oldest to attend was 96-year-old Freddy Schmidt, who pitched 29 games in 1947 with a 4.70 ERA. Tim McCarver, honored at the Hall of Fame with the Ford C. Frick award earlier this summer, threw the first pitch to Steve Carlton. . . . Carlos Arroyo, the team's rehab pitching coach, was honored with the annual John Vukovich Award. Arroyo is the longest-tenured coach in the organization, with 37 years of service.
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