The Mets have another heavy lawsuit on their hands

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It was nearly four years ago when I first heard the name Ellen Massey. She’s the plaintiff in a lawsuit against the Mets that, while not as sexy as the Madoff stuff, has its own special appeal: On Opening Day, 2007, Massey was fallen on by a 300-pound man who came hurtling out of his seat in her direction, breaking her vertebrae. Massey says the fat guy was drunk and that the Mets are liable because they continued to serve him despite his obvious intoxication.

My take when I first heard about this case — a mere month after I began blogging back at Shysterball — was that Massey had a theoretically a valid claim: ballpark serves an obviously intoxicated man who later causes injury. The problem, though, was that it would be really hard to actually marshal any evidence.  The falling fat guy’s identity was unknown at the time and it wasn’t at all clear how he could be discovered. And it would likely be difficult to prove that he was intoxicated given that he left the park and there was no police report or anything.  I figured it was deadsville.

Yet, despite all of my skepticism, the case is going to trial, reports the New York Post.  Over the past four years Ms. Massey has learned the fat guy’s identity — Timothy Cassidy — and got the depositions of multiple witnesses speaking to his behavior prior to the incident. That’s enough to get her past the summary judgment stage and now she gets to take the Mets to trial.

If I represented the Mets, I’d rather be handling that case than the Madoff case. I always enjoyed the stuff with actual humanity much better than document-intensive financial cases. And there isn’t much more humanity than a 300 pound drunk guy falling on people in Shea Stadium on Opening Day.

Biden praises Braves’ ‘unstoppable, joyful run’ to 2021 win

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said the Atlanta Braves will be “forever known as the upset kings of October” for their improbable 2021 World Series win, as he welcomed the team to the White House for a victory celebration.

Biden called the Braves’ drive an “unstoppable, joyful run.” The team got its White House visit in with just over a week left before the 2022 regular season wraps up and the Major League Baseball playoffs begin again. The Braves trail the New York Mets by 1.5 games in the National League East but have clinched a wildcard spot for the MLB playoffs that begin Oct. 7. Chief Executive Officer Terry McGuirk said he hoped they’d be back to the White House again soon.

In August 2021, the Braves were a mess, playing barely at .500. But then they started winning. And they kept it up, taking the World Series in six games over the Houston Astros.

Biden called their performance of “history’s greatest turnarounds.”

“This team has literally been part of American history for over 150 years,” said Biden. “But none of it came easy … people counting you out. Heck, I know something about being counted out.”

Players lined up on risers behind Biden, grinning and waving to the crowd, but the player most discussed was one who hasn’t been on the team in nearly 50 years and who died last year: Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.

Hammerin’ Hank was the home run king for 33 years, dethroning Babe Ruth with a shot to left field on April 8, 1974. He was one of the most famous players for Atlanta and in baseball history, a clear-eyed chronicler of the hardships thrown his way – from the poverty and segregation of his Alabama youth to the racist threats he faced during his pursuit of one of America’s most hallowed records. He died in January at 86.

“This is team is defined by the courage of Hank Aaron,” Biden said.

McGuirk said Aaron, who held front office positions with the team and was one of Major League Baseball’s few Black executives, was watching over them.

“He’d have been there every step of the way with us if he was here,” McGuirk added.

The president often honors major league and some college sports champions with a White House ceremony, typically a nonpartisan affair in which the commander in chief pays tribute to the champs’ prowess, poses for photos and comes away with a team jersey.

Those visits were highly charged in the previous administration. Many athletes took issue with President Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric on policing, immigration and more. Trump, for his part, didn’t take kindly to criticism from athletes or their on-field expressions of political opinions.

Under Biden, the tradition appears to be back. He’s hosted the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks and Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the White House. On Monday he joked about first lady Jill Biden’s Philadelphia allegiances.

“Like every Philly fan, she’s convinced she knows more about everything in sports than anybody else,” he said. He added that he couldn’t be too nice to the Atlanta team because it had just beaten the Phillies the previous night in extra innings.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was later questioned about the team’s name, particularly as other professional sports teams have moved away from names – like the Cleveland Indians, now the Guardians, and the Washington Redskins, now the Commanders – following years of complaints from Native American groups over the images and symbols.

She said it was important for the country to have the conversation. “And Native American and Indigenous voices – they should be at the center of this conversation,” she said.

Biden supported MLB’s decision to pull the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to protest Georgia’s sweeping new voting law, which critics contend is too restrictive.