In an interesting ruling, the Missouri Supreme Court held yesterday that a spectator at a Kansas City Royals baseball game could get a new trial on a lawsuit against the team for an injury he suffered at a game in 2009. According to the allegations in the case, the fan was hit in the eye by a wrapped hot dog thrown into the stands by the Royals’ mascot, Sluggerrr. The lawsuit further alleges that the incident caused the fan to experience a detached retina and required him to undergo two surgeries to try to repair the damage.
In Missouri, as in many other states, the “baseball rule” applies to fans who go to a professional sports event. Teams are protected from claims for injuries arising from the inherent risks involved in watching the event in person — like the possibility that a foul tip might come your way. The Missouri Supreme Court said, however, that a hot dog thrown by a mascot is not an inherent risk — and thus the “baseball rule” doesn’t apply.
Some legal observers say the decision might cause sports teams to reassess their use of mascots, like Sluggerrr. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? I despise lame, furry, meaningless mascots and deeply regret how they have assumed increasingly prominent roles in virtually every sporting venue. When I was a kid, the organist would play between innings at a ball game, and you could have a conversation and eat some peanuts; now every spare moment is cause for loud music, stupid contests, and idiotic mascots firing cheap t-shirts into the stands and engaging in other antics. If the Missouri Supreme Court’s decision about Sluggerrr and his hot dog have brought that appalling era to a close, the judicial system has done a very good thing for society.
For those of us who associate summer with grilled cheeseburgers eaten on the back patio, brace yourselves: beef prices recently hit a record and are expected to remain at high levels indefinitely.
The causes seem to be Mother Nature, the domino effect, and the law of supply and demand. There have been sustained droughts in the cattle-herding states, which makes feed more expensive. More expensive feed has caused ranchers to cut back on the size of their herds. And smaller herds mean fewer cattle available to be converted into those steaks, and burgers, and roasts that Americans relish. With the supply of beef diminished, the price inevitably increases.
Don’t expect to find cheap relief for your beef craving at the local restaurant, either. They’ve been hit as hard by the spike in prices as anyone. And don’t be surprised if other meats are more costly — with beef prices hitting the pocketbooks hard, consumers will be looking for alternative meats like chicken and pork to slap on the grill, and the increased demand is causing an increase in those meats, too.
There’s nothing quite like a piping hot, melted cheeseburger straight from the grill on a summer’s day. This year, though, we may be making do with hot dogs.
Stadium mustard is the best mustard there is — thick and and brown and spicy, with a nice little kick — and it tastes even better in a stadium. Today, Russell and I were up in ice-cold Cleveland Browns Stadium to watch the Browns take on the Steelers, and we had to get some stadium dogs and some crinkle cut fries. The $9.50 price tag put a dent in the wallet, but we were there to root on the Brownies and you just have to eat a dog before you can root for the Dawgs.
As good as the Stadium mustard was, the game itself was even better. The Browns beat the Steelers for the first time since 2009 and one of the few times since Cleveland came back into the NFL in 1999. It was a tough, hard-hitting game in which the Browns forced 8 turnovers, the rhythm of the game was destroyed by constant penalties, and the Browns offense was unable to put the game away despite repeated opportunities. Still, a win is a win is a win, and lately any win over the Steelers is a win worth savoring — with a little mustard, of course.