This article is part of our MLB Barometer series.
I've officially caught the Olympic fever. There's nothing quite like spending the day flipping from swimming to handball to skateboarding to field hockey to cycling to water polo, watching the absolute best in the world showcase their skills at sports you'd forgotten existed until just moments before.
While the return of baseball to the Olympics doesn't quite scratch that same itch (as I've actually watched quite a bit of baseball since the last time I watched a handball game back in 2016, which may or may not be apparent from my articles), I'm still thrilled to have my favorite sport back in its rightful place on the world stage. It's unfortunate that MLB doesn't pause its season the way other top leagues do, robbing us of the chance to see the true best players in the world compete for Olympic gold as they do in most other sports, but I'm sure the tournament will be a great time.
I hope you'll stick with me for an extended introduction this week as I give a quick breakdown of all six teams, though if you're only here for the MLB content, feel free to skip to the Risers section below. The tournament format is a bit of an odd one. The six teams are split into two groups of three and will play the other two teams in the group stage. No team is eliminated in that stage, but the winners of each group will get byes to the next stage, which