91/08/26: "Even on the Grass, Lawyers Complain About Unlevel Field;
Softball League Brings Comic Relief As They Nitpick Over Lineups, Bats," New York
Law Journal, at 1 (available in LEXIS-NEXIS News Library):
"Your Bat's Too Big
"The July 1 game between Chadbourne & Parke and the Attorney General's office
gave rise to this year's other major controversy. Both teams were at the bottom of the
League's weakest division, having won none of their games.
"Chadbourne captain Lawrence Savell has been playing in the league for 10 years.
He said it give 'lawyers a chance to have a good time" except when games are marred
by "a few anal retentive types.'
"The 200-pound Mr. Savell plays first base, batting right-handed with 'power to
all fields,' he said. At least until the Attorney General's team complained about his bat,
which is labelled for use in baseball, not softball.
"The umpire ruled the bat could not be used, giving rise to Mr. Savell's protest.
Forced to use a lighter bat, the decision 'cost us significant run production, and
ultimately the game,' he wrote. The final score was 16-10.
"'When we start getting overly technical about things like bat size (as in other
contexts where we have ridiculously worried about size), we put a higher value on the
technicalities and the game suffers for it,' he wrote.
"Assistant Attorney General Robert L. Osar responded in a brief which opened with
the sportsman-like phrase, 'Beyond all the rhetoric and whining in Mr. Savell's letter . .
. .' Mr. Osar, who has since left the government, claimed the bat was clearly too large
"In a rebuttal brief, Mr. Savell replied 'To me, the definition of
"whining" is insisting the outcome of a game turn on how a manufacturer happened
to label its product.'
"'I thought the idea of our League was to let lawyers, stressed-out from a career
of nitpicking and invoking spurious technicalities, for a change just play and have some
fun, and to leave this kind of obsessive hairsplitting back at the office,' he
[We won the protest.]