The Cory Lidle wrongful death trial begins today

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Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle died when the plane he was piloting crashed into a Manhattan building on October 11, 2006. Today opening statements in the wrongful death case brought by his widow will take place.

The FAA concluded that the crash was pilot errors and that Lidle who was flying with his instructor, misjudged a turn.  The lawsuit contends, however, that the plane had a defective control system. The defendant is the plane’s manufacturer, Cirrus Design Corp..

Of baseball note: Jason Giambi is on the witness list. He and two other players — Aaron Rowand and Mike Lieberthal — have been put up to testify about Lidle’s “style and abilities as a major-league pitcher.”  This is presumably for the damages phase of the case, assuming it gets there.

I can’t really see how their testimony would be useful, however. If the idea is to establish what kind of money Lidle could have made in his career had he not died, there are no shortage of agents, scouts, executives and economists who could talk about that more comprehensively and succinctly than Giambi, Lieberthal and Rowand could.  My guess is that the plaintiffs would like to have some personable baseball stars with some relationship with Lidle to talk about him in more human terms. If Giambi’s testimony is allowed, he will have only one less high profile trial under his belt this month than he has hits this season.

I have no idea if there is merit to Ms. Lidle’s case. Whenever a wrongful death case comes up, however, I feel compelled to link this, which is my emotional response to all wrongful death suits, whether righteous or not.  It’s a view at which I arrived after a decade’s worth of defending wrongful death suits. I don’t claim that it’s unbiased (like I said, it’s emotional). Short version: people shouldn’t hesitate to bring such suits if there is merit to them. But under no circumstances should they expect them to bring closure or peace, if such things even exist after heart-wrenching tragedy.

Giants place Hunter Pence on 10-day disabled list with right thumb sprain

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The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.

Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).

Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.