ARTICLE: The National Pastime of the American Judiciary: Reexamining the Strength of Major League Baseball's Antitrust Exemption Following the Passage of the Curt Flood Act and the Supreme Court's Ruling in American Needle, Inc. v. NFL

ARTICLE: The National Pastime of the American Judiciary: Reexamining the Strength of Major League Baseball's Antitrust Exemption Following the Passage of the Curt Flood Act and the Supreme Court's Ruling in American Needle, Inc. v. NFL

19 Sports Law. J. 325,  Spring, 2012

Author: Avraham J. Sommer

Excerpt

I. Introduction
 
Professional baseball has existed in the United States since the founding of the Cincinnati Red Stockings in 1869. The modern model of professional baseball was created in 1903 when the American League and the National League reached an agreement to coexist. The teams in both leagues agreed to employ the Reserve System and to honor player contracts. After finalizing the union between the American and National Leagues, the first World Series was played in 1903, creating an American tradition that continued without interruption until 1994. From the outset, Major League Baseball's (MLB) evolution has been marked by an overall steady growth in attendance and revenues.

In addition to this economic success, the American judiciary has consistently deferred to "America's pastime." The United States Supreme Court has allowed the business of baseball to become a figurative "field of dreams." The Court's "baseball trilogy" has set baseball apart from all other professional sports leagues by insulating it from the reach of the antitrust laws. This Article details the history of baseball's antitrust exemption, then proceeds to examine the effect of the Curt Flood Act and the Supreme Court's ruling in American Needle, Inc. v. NFL on the potential expansion of the Supreme Court's holdings as applied to baseball.

II. History of Major League Baseball's Antitrust Exemption
 
The merger between the American League and the National League stabilized the business of baseball at the turn of the ... [footnotes omitted]

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