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May 21st, 2012

Keep the Lawyers off the Field

In a recent “Letter to the Editor” in the Washington Post, David Goldberg, a divorce lawyer out of Gaitherburg, Md, gave Washington Nationals’ outfielder Bryce Harper some ridiculous advice- sue Philadelphia Phillies’ pitcher Cole Hamels for hitting him with a pitched ball. 

The plunking occurred in the first inning of the game between the two teams on May 7, 2012.  While Cole Hamels admittedly said he hit rookie Harper on purpose, as a sort of initiation into the Big Leagues, he hit him in the back.  Not the head, not the face, not the chest.  There was no malice or ill-will intent. 

While Goldberg’s suggestion is not shocking, as we live in an overly litigious society, it is wildly inappropriate and unnecessary.  Why involve personal injury lawyers in the game of baseball?  As Phil Goldberg pointed out in his own LTE, written in response to David Goldberg, why stop at suing over getting hit by a pitch?  Former Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga should sue umpire Jim Joyce for blowing the call that robbed him of a perfect game in 2010.  Better yet, San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey should sue the Florida Marlins player who bowled him over at the plate last year, leaving Posey with a broken leg.

The “sue-first” mentality has no business being inserted into the game of baseball.  Sports is sports.  Incidents like these have a way of working themselves out.  In the case with Bryce Harper, he did Cole Hamels one better.  As Phil Goldberg pointed out, “he embarrassed the pitcher a few minutes later by stealing home.  As a lawyer and lifelong baseball fan who was at that game, I assure you, that in baseball custom, justice was served.”

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