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Baseball and the Law

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I love my job.

The Library of Congress’s Baseball Americana exhibit. Photo by Betty Lupinacci

Starting today, and continuing into July 2019, the Library of Congress is hosting a new exhibit, Baseball Americana. I hope you all make plans to come and see this fascinating look into baseball and our culture. The Library has lots of interesting artifacts, bolstered by items and material from the Baseball Hall of Fame, ESPN and others. I am spending my summer vacation hours as a docent, so perhaps we will meet.

For the Law Library’s part we will be blogging about baseball and the law during the entirety of the exhibition (a recurring theme in In Custodia Legis, and not just from me).

Jim Martin and I will be doing the heavy lifting for this task, but hope to have some of our colleagues join in the fun.

Jim and I have been assisted by two interns, Michael (Mookie) Goodson and Karen Sánchez, both of whom volunteered their time and energy to conduct research on the topic and have provided a lot of documentation and background information for Jim and me to pull from.

We’ll be writing about significant cases, legislation and fun topics such as you see below.

I hope you all come along with us for the ride!

Washington Nationals’ “Rushmore Four” and eagle mascot “Screech”. Photo by Betty Lupinacci.

For today’s opener, I bring you a (by no means comprehensive or exhaustive) bibliography on MLB mascots and their legal issues.

This topic entails many aspects of law such as trademark issues, criminal law, drug cases, the list goes on.

But early on in my research, I found an article in Cardozo Law Review from 2002 [Robert M. Jarvis; Phyllis Coleman, Hi-Jinks at the Ballpark: Costumed Mascots in the Major Leagues, 23 Cardozo L. Rev. 1635 (2002)].  Being a Nationals fan, I was not surprised to learn that the Phillie Phanatic “holds the dubious record as the most-sued mascot in the majors.” After reading this, I began a search for more recent material on the subject of mascots being sued by fans.

There is much published on the matter in newspapers and non-legal venues, but aside from a lot of state-level caselaw, I could not find much outside of law review articles.  So for a bit of fun, you can find below listings for matters such as: sharks “biting” fans and causing injury; mascots distracting fans who then get hit by foul balls; and fans being injured by hotdogs shot out of cannons by furry creatures.  Be warned – there are a lot of hot dog incidents:

Comments (2)

  1. (Hot) God? Is the author perhaps the well known dyslexic agnostic insomniac who stayed up all night wondering if there is a dog?

    • Noted and corrected – Thanks!

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