04 June 2008

Baseball, Bench Thyself

Mike Masnick updates the Major League Baseball statistics case, a matter which has been of considerable interest to me for some time (see here, here, here, and here). As Masnick reports, MLB has continued its losing ways in defending an essentially indefensible position -- contending that it owns the statistics produced by its games such that rotisserie or fantasy league players must pay licensing fees. Masnick hits it out of the park with his analysis:
As MLB realized that claiming ownership of game data was never going to cut it in court, it changed the story somewhat, saying that it was really about the players' right of publicity, which also (somehow) included owning their stats. A district court quickly saw through this argument and told MLB that it had no case. Rather than admitting defeat (and recognizing that more widespread use of baseball info should bring more fans into the game), MLB appealed. The appeals court wasted little time in again telling MLB it had no case. But those folks at MLB are nothing if not stubborn. So, they asked the full appeals court to rehear the case and were turned down

So, again, rather than recognizing that perhaps all of these courts (and common sense) had a point, MLB appealed to the Supreme Court, who (as noted) turned them down. If you're keeping score at home (and, we're not claiming ownership of the score), that now makes 4 - 0 for the courts over MLB, and I think we've pretty much hit the 9th inning, as there are no more appeals. The only thing MLB can hope for now is for a different circuit to somehow (unlikely) come to a different conclusion and the Supreme Court to revisit the issue.

All dead on. In fact, Mike had me eating out of hand until he made this gratuitous dig:
But that seems about as likely as, say, the Seattle Mariners somehow coming back to win the World Series this year.

Sure, in only the first week of June, my Mariners are 15½ games out in the A.L. West, but we're only 14½ out in the Wild Card. Mike obviously hasn't the first clue about anything. And he's a big meanie.

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