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Umpires Don’t Make Law, Players Do.

Dave Hoffman

Dave Hoffman is the Murray Shusterman Professor of Transactional and Business Law at Temple Law School. He specializes in law and psychology, contracts, and quantitative analysis of civil procedure. He currently teaches contracts, civil procedure, corporations, and law and economics.

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6 Responses

  1. waldo says:

    Legality & morality aren’t always congruent. What’s legal may be immoral. What’s moral may be illegal; see Three Felonies a Day.

  2. Howard Wasserman says:

    There also was a sense that Mauer was being too obvious about it, which is the kind of thing that might get the next batter hit, had the pitcher been aware of it.

  3. DCLawyer says:

    Sign stealing only violates the rules to the extent that a player utilizes a mechanical device. I’d say the post’s characterization (something we accept that happens but is bad form to admit actually doing) characterizes the baseball ethos surrounding it.

  4. “… There’s no rule against it, and so the answer is: it depends on the players’ perceptions of the situation …”

    I think this sentence ended wrong. There is no rule against it, so it is not cheating. It is no different than a fake pick-off throw to third, a drag bunt, or a shortstop distracting a runner with footwork.

  5. Jeffrey Standen says:

    Of course it’s cheating, although not actually prohibited by a rule. Even if it were, no matter: players routinely and intentionally violate explicit rules (no holding in football) if they can get away with it. It’s part of the game. There is no moral element to sports, at least not one that should matter to non-participants.

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