Posted by: Bob Gorman | March 31, 2018

New Examination of the Baseball Rule

Legal scholars Nathaniel Grow and Zachary Flagel recently published an article in the William and Mary Law Review that underscores the antiquated nature of the Baseball Rule.  First, the authors provide “new empirical evidence establishing that the risk of being hit by an errant ball or bat at a professional baseball game has increased considerably in recent years. Specifically, fans attending MLB games today are sitting more than twenty percent closer to the field than they were when the legal doctrine was first established. This fact, along with other changes in the way in which the game is played and presented to fans, have converged to substantially reduce the reaction time that spectators have to protect themselves from flying objects entering the stands, calling into question courts’ continued reliance on the century-old rule.”  Second, they assert “that courts and academic commentators have, to date, failed to reconsider the Baseball Rule in light of the emergence of the law-and-economics movement,” concluding “that future courts (or legislatures) should reject the Baseball Rule and instead hold professional baseball teams liable for spectator injuries.”

For the complete article, see https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3143732.


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