Law & Policy: Rules & Regulations
The Longer Arm of the Law
by Paul Steinbach May 2010
An unarmed teenager bolted into the outfield at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia last night. Fans hooted as he managed briefly to outrun a lone police officer and several uniformed event security personnel. But ultimately the long arm of the law was made longer by a Taser - its incapacitating shockwaves dropping the trespasser to the turf, where he lay motionless for a full 30 seconds. By then, many among the Philly faithful had begun booing.
Tasers have been used with increasing frequency to control crowds at professional and college sports venues on down to high school athletic events. Today, Philadelphia police defended the deployment of a Taser in apprehending the teen, even though he was outnumbered and his arrest appeared imminent.
Put yourself in a seat at Citizens Bank Park on Monday night. Are you cheering or jeering the use of a Taser in this instance?
UPDATE: Fans running onto the field in Philadelphia are getting older, if not wiser, but one wonders if Citizens Bank Park security personnel have learned something this week.
A 34-year-old Phillies fan gained access to the field Tuesday, one night after a 17-year-old was tasered to the outfield turf by a police officer. The latest trespasser was apprehended without use of a Taser.
Technology Advances Complicate Cell Phone, iPod Usage in Locker Rooms
by Nicholas Brown April 2010
Technological advancements in handheld personal devices complicate usage policies for the locker room and beyond.
Facility Operators Benefit from National Move Toward Uniform Building, Life-Safety Codes
by Andrew Cohen April 2010
Owners of new and renovated facilities are benefitting from a national move toward uniform building and life-safety codes.
Stop, Or My First Baseman Will Shoot
by Andrew Cohen February 2010
Major League Baseball says its rules banning weapons from clubhouses was in place last year, but the implementation this month of the Weapon-Free Workplace Policy will ensure that all clubhouses carry signs - similar to the anti-gambling signs that worked so well in the Pete Rose case - that prohibit anyone working for the league to possess deadly weapons. The league defines "deadly weapon," in a spectacular example of legalese, as "any instrument or device designed primarily for use in inflicting death or injury to a human or animal or is capable of inflicting death or injury if used in the manner it was designed." An MLB spokesman confirmed the policy bans firearms, explosives, daggers, metal knuckles (do people still use those?), switchblades (or those?) and knives with blades exceeding 5 inches, and then declined further comment.
Tangled Up In Blue
by Paul Steinbach October 2009
They say the best compliment a baseball umpire can get is if neither team can name who called their game. So far in this Major League Baseball postseason, umpires are stealing headlines. "Does Baseball Need Umpires?" asked Jonah Kuri in his Oct. 14 Wall Street Journal column, days after Phil Cuzzi called foul a fly ball off the bat of Minnesota's Joe Mauer that actually fell a foot inside the leftfield line during Game 2 of the American League Division Series. Kuri couldn't have predicted the sorry spectacle that was Game 4 of the American League Championship Series six days later. In the span of 11 batters, umpires Dale Scott and Tim McClelland botched three calls so badly that Sports Illustrated baseball writer Tom Verducci, who worked a 2007 spring training game as its first-base umpire, called for the creation of a review board - not to grade umps, but to examine everything from individual mechanics to crew dynamics.
Also Banned: ACME Rocket-Powered Roller Skates
by Paul Steinbach October 2009
Marathon organizers have enough to worry about with participants bent on taking life-saving precautions in extreme heat. But none of those factors led to the disqualification of Jennifer Goebel from last weekend's Lakefront Marathon in Milwaukee. Goebel's offense? She used an iPod to lend a little kick to her stretch run. Goebel, the second woman to cross the finish line, wasn't the first DQ in Milwaukee on Oct. 4 (Cassie Peller, the apparent winner, was stripped of her title for taking water from a friend outside an official aid station). And hers wasn't the only apparatus to come under marathon organizers' scrutiny that day. During mile 21 of the Twin Cities Marathon in Minnesota, 81-year-old Jerry Johncock benefited from the bladder-unburdoning powers of a bystander's spare catheter (you can't make this stuff up), only to learn that his successful defense of last year's age-group victory (in which Johncock became the first octogenarian American to cover the 26-plus miles in less than four hours) was facing potential review by USA Track and Field. Johncock called the possibility of being disqualified "a crazy idea" (he was later cleared of any wrongdoing by race organizers - to his ultimate relief), while posts on a runners' forum in Milwaukee termed the rules enforcement that took place there "draconian." According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, USATF has relaxed rules against the use of iPods and similar music devices except in cases involving top contenders and when prize money is at stake. Third-place finisher and eventual Lakefront women's champion Corina Canitz donated her $500 prize to charity, while Johncock pocketed $225 for besting the Twin Cities 80-84 field.
Another Case of School Colors Gone Wrong
by Andrew Cohen September 2009
We all know that universities are far cozier with beer companies than educators of underage drinkers probably ought to be. It's tough, though, when part of your educational mission is to send your boys out onto the gridiron in front of 70,000 paying fans who, let's face it, have been known to - on occasion - pop open a few beers in the parking lot beforehand. So, let's give props to the University of Wisconsin athletic department for "taking one for the team" (in the words of Vince Sweeney, the school's vice chancellor for university relations) by battle against binge drinking by UW sports fans.
The Purists' Plunge
by Paul Steinbach September 2009
When U.S. Olympic swimming legend Mark Spitz spoke at the 2008 Athletic Business Conference, he told a decades-old story about how coaches from the Soviet Union had once asked Spitz why he wore a mustache in competition. At the time, he knowingly relayed the falsehood that the facial hair reduced drag in the water. By the next international competition, every Russian swimmer sported a 'stache. Such was the level of gamesmanship in 1970s aquatics.
Meanwhile, Over at the State-Run Lottery…
by Andrew Cohen August 2009
As a side note on the whole Delaware sports betting issueâ¦I lost a little more than $2,000 betting on sports online (back when it was legal to do so) over a four-year period. The money went to Jamaica - most, probably, to a scumbag casino owner who wasn't even Jamaican, but some portion of it went to the people who answered the phones, the people who set the odds, the people who cleaned their modest offices. If it were an option to wager on sports here in the U.S., I'm sure I would take advantage of the opportunity. My money would stay here, and the sports book would be taxed and licensed, and if I were ever lucky enough to win (fat chance), I'd pay taxes on the winnings.
Study: Recycled Crumb Rubber in Synthetic Turf Poses No Health Threat
by Michael Popke August 2009
A New York study claims recycled crumb rubber in synthetic turf poses no threat, but the EPA has yet to weigh in.