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Thursday, December 14, 2006
Does Baseball Need to Broaden its "Other Activities Clause" to Include the Nintendo Wii?

Out of Detroit today comes the news that star pitcher Joel Zumaya's playoff sputter may have been due to excessively enthusiastic strumming of the Playstation video game "Guitar Hero." According to the Free Press
The Tigers are satisfied they won't see a recurrence of the right wrist and forearm inflammation that sidelined Joel Zumaya for three games of the American League Championship Series.

Why? Club president and general manager Dave Dombrowski told WXYT-AM (1270) on Wednesday the team had concluded Zumaya's injury resulted from playing a video game, not from his powerful throwing motion.
Did Zumaya breach his contract? As readers are aware from our discussion of Ben Roethlisberger's misadventures in motorcycling, sports leagues frequently bar players from engaging in dangerous outside activities. Major League Baseball's provision, however, is more limited than the NFL's. It provides:
The Player agrees that he will not engage in professional boxing or wrestling; and that, except with the written consent of the Club, he will not engage in skiing, auto racing motorcycle racing, sky diving, or in any game or exhibition of football, soccer, professional league basketball, ice hockey or other sport involving a substantial risk of personal injury.
In other words, baseball's clause only involves dangerous "other sport[s]", not other activities. While some Gamers might argue that video games are a sport (if poker is, why not?), that's probably not going to cut it in contract interpretation land.

Should baseball broaden the scope of its clause to include more general dangerous activities? Amidst the news of the rash of injuries caused by the Ninendo Wii, maybe the times call for a video game-injury clause. HT to Fark.


What constitutes "substantial risk of personal injury?"

Being a fan of Guitar Hero, while it's not much like playing a real guitar, I think it is like any repetitive motion (think anything from sports to music), in that if you perform it many times in the incorrect manner, or without proper time to rest, it can lead to injury.

I feel that if you broaden dangerous activities beyond other sports (no basketball clauses like Aaron Boone's), motorcycles and other high-risk vehicles, or extreme activities (sky-diving, rock-climbing, BASE-jumping, etc.), you'll run into a lot of activities you might not have anticipated.

Guitar Hero, in terms of risk to the user, is probably as dangerous as typing on a keyboard or playing a musical instrument - if you don't rest and have improper technique, you can get injured. Carlos Zambrano claimed injury from instant messaging his brother too much, and as far as I know, the Cubs didn't tell him to curtain his AIM usage.

I feel that video game injuries have to be treated like the freak injuries (washing car, carrying deer meat up stairs, AIM etc.). Otherwise, we'd have to probably take Bronson Arroyo's guitar away, as well as the drumsticks of any drummer in the MLB - drumming can be murder on the wrists, I hear.

Blogger Satchmo -- 12/15/2006 4:07 PM  

We should broaden the clause to include any use of consumer electronics or musical instruments, as well as social dance. Why not?

Anonymous Anonymous -- 12/16/2006 5:43 AM  

i don't get why baseball clubs won't allow their players to ride a motorcycle. I mean it is a legal requirement that they all hold valid motorbike insurance isn't it? this surely means then, that should a freak accident occur, the club will receive some compensation should the player be unable to play/work...

Blogger STICKYBOI - -- 12/07/2007 10:55 AM  

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