For the Love of the Game: Lawsuits and Little League
Since I love baseball and it’s All Star week in the MLB, I decided that this week’s post would be about America’s favorite pastime. I could have gone the route of talking about Andrew Robert Rector, who is suing just about everybody in the baseball world for $10 million because he says announcers trash-talked him when he fell asleep at a Yankees-Red Sox game. Funny as that story is, however, everybody is talking about it. I like to be unique, and I knew there had to be a whole lot of other baseball stories out there. Lucky for you, I found some weird ones.
Just a Little Outside
If you’ve ever watched or gone to a baseball game, you know that there are a lot of balls flying around, as well as broken bat pieces and whole bats soaring through the air. And let’s not forget that a player might fall into the first few rows as he reaches over to make a spectacular catch.
If you are lucky enough to get a good seat at a major league game, you better be on guard. Even the seats warn you: watch out or you just might get hit. The bleachers at little league fields, though, usually don’t come with this warning. Elizabeth Lloyd, a New Jersey resident, probably wishes they did.
A few years ago, she was sitting at a table near a fenced bullpen when the catcher, warming up a pitcher, made an errant throw. The ball left the playing area and hit Lloyd in the face. She reacted in a totally rational manner and decided to sue the 11-year-old boy (13 by the time the suit was filed). I assume she was only trying to teach him the valuable life lesson that some people are horrible and like to do ridiculous, awful things like sue kids. I doubt he has the good sense to appreciate her help, though.
Lloyd is suing for $150,000 for her medical costs alone. Add onto this all of the money she “deserves” for her pain and suffering and what her husband expects for loss of consortium, and I really hope this kid has an extremely good allowance.
The suit claims that the boy’s throw was intentional, Lloyd was “assaulted and battered,” the throw was negligent and careless, and — I’m not making this up — the injury was caused by “inappropriate physical and/or sporting activity.” And I always thought that throwing a ball on a ball field or its practice areas was where you were supposed to play.
On top of all this, Lloyd is demanding a jury trial. I think that’s really ballsy. I certainly wouldn’t want to try to convince a whole group of people that the cute kid who was playing an innocent sport instead of being out causing mayhem in the community should be punished.
I’ve seen enough major league baseball games to know that those million dollar salaries don’t always mean perfect aim and control. I’ve seen errors that would shock even the most sports illiterate. And when these stupid errors occur, I hear announcers make the same type comment over and over.
“It’s like watching a little league game.”
“I haven’t seen that bad an error since little league.”
“He’s the best at his position in the league, but that play was straight out of little league.”
That’s right, people. Little leaguers aren’t yet at that major league level of almost-but-not-quite perfect. They make a lot of errors, such as throwing a ball to a place or toward a person that they didn’t mean to throw it.
There is this thing called the “baseball rule,” which basically says you cannot sue for injuries caused by events that happen on the field because, since you know there is good risk you’ll get injured, you assume the risk when you attend. Shouldn’t this rule apply all the way down to those players who have less talent and skill than the big leaguers? I hope for the sake of this player and his family that this court thinks so.
There’s No Crying in Baseball
The problem with little league sports is that there is a lot of whining and temper tantrums involved. But since it’s a bunch of young kids playing, that is to be expected.
One such temper tantrum took place recently in California. A 14-year-old boy scored the game-winning run and, for some child-like, immature reason, he had the nerve to get excited. In his ridiculous happiness, he threw off his helmet to celebrate with his teammates and rudely threw it in the air — something
every no professional player would ever do — admittedly after being told not to.
As the helmet landed, it hit Alan Beck in the ankle, sending him into a major hissy fit. To be fair, the helmet allegedly tore his Achilles tendon, so I’d probably be a little upset, too; however, I most likely would not sue. I’m not a 14-year-old boy, though. Then again, this suer wasn’t either. He was a little bit older than the rest of the players, which is why he was coaching the team instead of playing on it.
Yep, the coach sued the player for $500,000. According to his lawyer, the coach has a case because “a guy who volunteers his time to coach should not be subjected to someone who throws a helmet in the manner that he did.” What? So what I’m hearing is that a baseball coach shouldn’t be subjected to normal baseball celebrations.
According to CBS Sports, the suit will likely be dropped for the above mentioned baseball rule, but even better, the coach said that he would simply drop the case – if the boy apologized.
The boy did what I would do in the same situation. He said no way! I wouldn’t apologize to a cry baby, either. I do hope, though, that the case is dropped before the family has to dish out any more money defending itself.
If you want to do a little research, there are a lot of these “sue little leaguers for not being perfect” cases out there. I never thought I’d have to say this, but can we all stop suing kids for ridiculous things? And happy second half of the baseball season: may your team win so long as your team is my team!
Ashley Shaw (@Smoldering_Ashes) is an Alabama native and current New Jersey resident. A graduate of both Kennesaw State University and Thomas Goode Jones School of Law, she spends her free time reading, writing, boxing, horseback riding, playing trivia, flying helicopters, playing sports, and a whole lot else. So maybe she has too much spare time.
Featured Image Courtesy of [Edwin Martinez via Flickr]