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Let’s Get Weird Sports Podcast #21: The Soviet Union National Baseball Team

Because baseball is as Russian as borscht and vodka.

Russian Communist Party celebrates 101st anniversary of October Revolution Photo by Sergei Savostyanov\TASS via Getty Images

The late 80s were a weird time. The sports rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union was in full force. Sports are great, but when you add in the 3-5% chance that a defeat will result in nuclear annhiliation it really raises the stakes for the game. In 1972 most famously (and controversially) the Soviets defeated the United States for the gold medal in basketball in Munich. Eight years later the Americans turned the tables with the Miracle on Ice.

So what did the countries try to do for a rubber match? Well, the Soviets decided to start a baseball program. That’s right, for a brief time in the late 80s and early 90s there was such a thing as a Soviet Union National Baseball team, and in this edition of the Let’s Get Weird Sports podcast Paul and T-Mill discuss its brief history.

Oh, and yes, this did result in an HBO original movie starring Joe Mantegna. You can even watch it in its entirety right here: