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Thursday, July 26, 2007
Special Affinity Between Baseball and Law

A friend e-mailed me the following question and I thought I would pass it along to our readership for further discussion and comment:

What is the special affinity between baseball and law?

I long have believed (although I have no empirical support for this) that baseball is the most popular sport among lawyers (and especially law professors). Baseball seems like the most legalistic of sports; it is rule-bound and tradition-bound, just like law.

So what is going on here? What are some good explanations for this?


Hmmm great question, I'm going to have to think about this one. My first reaction is that I think football and baseball are pretty close here, or at least college football and baseball. They are both very rule-bound and tradition-bound. perhaps the baseball fascination in the legal community can be somewhat explained by the fact that baseball has a very interesting legal background, such as the anti-trust exemption, the Curt Flood Act, etc...

another thought, and I'm not trying to offend anyone here, is that baseball is somewhat different from the other sports when you look at the college angle. A person could put themself through college playing baseball with no real thoughts of going pro, whereas football and basketball at the college level seems more inclined to be pro-oriented. also, maybe baseball is more of a "finess" sport than high contact sports like football, thereby attracting the more scholastically inclined. I realize this may be a HUGE generalization, and maybe a bit stereotypical, but its an idea. I for one never played baseball(huge fan though), but played football for the larger part of my life, and I made it to and through law scool, and I belive that prof. Wilson (known on the blog for his vivid and controversial comments on the M. Vick story) was quite the college football player in his days.


Blogger Jimmy H -- 7/26/2007 11:34 PM  

Complicated answer: baseball relies heavily on precedent, with clearly discernible patterns of how things will be ruled (safe/out, ball/strike, All-Star, in the Hall of Fame, etc.) based on past performance. Change comes, but slowly, and under strict protocol.

Simple answer: law professors and students have more time to watch baseball over the summer.

Blogger Neel Mehta -- 7/27/2007 3:48 AM  

I don't know about lawyers, but baseball fans have long been considered the nerdiest of all sports fans. Must be due to all the statistics.

Of course, "nerdiest" is a relative term; the nerdiest baseball fan probably would be considered an Alpha Male stud at a Star Trek convention :)

Anonymous Peter -- 7/27/2007 12:03 PM  

Watching a baseball game is a lot like reading a legal opinion. In both you have to wade through a bunch of boring non-action while constantly paying attention for something interesting to happen.

In baseball it's strike-ball-strike-pop-fly-strike-etc. etc.-base hit!-strike-ball-strike-double play!

In law it's facts-dicta-blah blah blah-precedent!-blah blah blah-antiquated verbiage-use of thesaurus-blah blah blah-new direction in law for the whole country!

To enjoy both "sports" you have to have quite a high boredome threshold. I wonder if cricket is more popular with british jurists for the same reasons?

Anonymous Anonymous -- 7/29/2007 10:55 AM  

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