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It’s No Game: The Practice and Process of the Law in Baseball, and Vice Versa


Ross E. Davies


George Mason University School of Law; The Green Bag

November 20, 2009

Seton Hall Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law, Vol. 20, No. 2, pp. 249-296, 2010
George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 09-58

Abstract:     
It is a commonplace that the relationship between baseball and the law is a long and close one. But, first, is it true? And, second, if it is, just how long and how close? Strangely, given the large amount of good work produced by able scholars of baseball and the law, concrete answers to these basic questions are not readily available. This article is a first step toward filling that gap. It is a sketch of the length, breadth, and depth of the relationship between baseball and the law. (In order to tell a less-than-interminable tale, this article mostly tilts back and forth between recent years – evidence of the vibrancy of the baseball-law relationship today – and the late 19th and early 20th centuries – evidence that it has been vibrant for a long time – and deals only sketchily even with those periods. This should not be taken to mean that the baseball-law relationship was any less interesting at other times, or that there isn’t much more to be said about all times.) As should be clear by the end of this article, the answer to the first question is an emphatic and certain “Yes”: baseball and the law are close and have been for a long time. The answer to the second question, however, is an equally emphatic but far less certain “Very”: while there surely are both unrecognized extents and unmarked limits to the law-baseball relationship, we cannot define them without a fuller inventory and chronology – an old-fashioned digest – of the thousands upon thousands of events that make up the history of baseball and the law. Perhaps this article can serve as the kernel of such a project.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 49

Keywords: Alex Popov, Barry Bonds, base ball, batball, blue laws, cricket, Elysian Fields, fantasy leagues, Federal Baseball Club, Federal League, Flood v. Kuhn, Hoboken, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, Patrick Hayashi, perjury, Pittsfield Prohibition, Roger Abrams, sports, steroids, Supreme Court

JEL Classification: K2, K21, K23, K40, K42

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Date posted: November 23, 2009 ; Last revised: February 21, 2012

Suggested Citation

Davies, Ross E., It’s No Game: The Practice and Process of the Law in Baseball, and Vice Versa (November 20, 2009). Seton Hall Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law, Vol. 20, No. 2, pp. 249-296, 2010; George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 09-58. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1510370

Contact Information

Ross E. Davies (Contact Author)
George Mason University School of Law ( email )
3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
United States
The Green Bag ( email )
6600 Barnaby St., NW
Washington, DC 20015
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.greenbag.org
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