The assistant professor of sport and event management traveled to New Orleans in late February to present at the Sport and Recreation Law Association’s annual conference.
Mark Cryan, an assistant professor in Elon University’s Sport and Event Management Department, co-presented in late February at the Sport and Recreation Law Association’s annual conference, held in New Orleans. His presentation, titled “The carnage in MLB: Is it time to revisit the Baseball Rule?” addressed foul ball injuries and a long-standing legal principle known as the “Baseball Rule,” which shields teams and stadium owners from liability as long as screens and netting protect spectators in the most dangerous seats.
Cryan and his co-presenter, Jordan Kobritz of SUNY Cortland, led a 25-minute lecture examining “whether it’s time to put the Baseball Rule on the bench.” A portion of the presentation abstract reads, “The purpose of this presentation is to explore whether the Baseball Rule should be abandoned in light of current realities.”
According to Cryan, the game has changed. “Newer ballparks have seating closer to the field, and there is a new emphasis on in-game entertainment and attracting people who are not necessarily big baseball fans,” he said. “As a result, it’s no longer reasonable to assume that all fans understand the dangers they may face. This is a big issue in the game right now. Major League Baseball has been studying these issues, and recently issued new guidelines calling for expanded netting in many stadiums.”
Cryan worked in minor league baseball with the Burlington Indians in the Appalachian League and the Fayetteville Generals of the South Atlantic League, and was one of the founders of the summer collegiate Coastal Plain League. The professor authored “Cradle of the Game: Baseball and Ballparks in North Carolina,” a city-by-city history book and travel guide to baseball in the Tar Heel state.
Kobritz is the former owner of the Maine Guides of the International League and the Daytona Cubs of the Florida State League.