More Baseball Litigation in the News.

Tis the season and baseball related litigation is in the news (or we’re just baseball happy this week).
In New York, as all sports fans, and many non-sports fans, are now well aware, Johan Santana threw the first no-hitter in Mets history on June 1.  (Ed. Note:  This no-hitter seems largely the result of a questionable foul ball call).
In any event, one particularly excited Mets fan in attendance at the historic no-hitter was Rafael Diaz, whose emotions trumped his better judgment, prompting him to run onto the field after the last out.  Diaz was arrested and detained for 36 hours before his arraignment in Queens Criminal Court.  He now faces prosecution for criminal trespass, and faces up to a year in jail.  (He will most likely not face actual jail time, although he may end up with a criminal record, which can be a lifelong detriment.)
A notable aspect of Diaz’s arrest, as this article points out, is that running onto the field at a sporting event is no longer viewed by sports teams and management as a celebratory event, whereas in years past, running onto the field was practically encouraged.  Both Chris Chambliss’ pennant winning home run for the 1976 Yankees and the Mets division clinching celebration in 1986 resulted in literally thousands of fans storming each field.  Even more recently, nearly every major upset at home in college basketball still results in the a good portion of the student body storming onto the court in celebration.
Diaz’s case is illustrative of the dynamic nature of the landscape in which we all operate.  Trespassing onto a baseball field was once overlooked, but is now prosecuted.  Certain injuries, RSD for example, were hardly appreciated or understood until recently, whereas it is now routinely diagnosed (often correctly, often not) and alleged.  Regarding discovery, authorizations to access facebook and other social media are now a common discovery demand, whereas no such media existed even ten years ago.
Our profession is consistent in that it is always changing, with either new technology, medical advances, or even as to how society views certain actions differently than it did fifteen to twenty years ago.  Too bad no one told Mr. Diaz this in the eighth inning.
In the meantime, in Philadelphia, the Philly Phanatic is in trouble again.  This time he is accused of tossing a woman into a pool while engaging in horseplay.  At least, Mr. Met doesn’t have these problems and we will leave to the side the question of why the current Yankees don’t need a make believe mascot.
Special thanks to Brian Gibbons for his contributions to this post.  For more information about this post, please contact Bob Cosgrove at rcosgrove@wcmlaw.com.