Spring 2010

POLS 414 Law, Politics & Baseball

“Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball.” – Jacques Barzun, God’s County and Mine: A Declaration of Love Spiced with a Few Harsh Words (Boston: Little Brown, 1954)

Baseball is America’s national pastime. But it is much more than just a game. In this course we will use baseball as a case study of how law and politics function in America. The course is designed for both the baseball novice as well as the expert and we particularly welcome those who are new to the game. Why? Because the course is not really about baseball per se. Instead, we will examine how baseball has been reflective of broader issues such as racial discrimination and business-labor relations and how baseball has come to be the only “business” in America with a constitutional exemption from anti-trust laws. We will explore these and other themes through readings, discussions, and films.

DU 459 T 6:30-9:10pm

 

Instructor: Artemus Ward
E-mail: aeward@niu.edu – Best way to reach me.

Office: Zulauf Hall 405, (815) 753-7041
Office Hours: Tuesdays 2-3:30, 4:45-6:15 and by appointment: talk to me before or after class or send me an e-mail and we’ll set something up.


Required Texts:

Abrams, Roger I. 1998. Legal Bases: Baseball and the Law. Temple University Press. ISBN-10: 1566398908.

 

Goldman, Robert M. 2008. One Man Out: Curt Flood Versus Baseball. University Press of Kansas. ISBN-10: 0700616039.

 

Lanctot, Neil. 2008. Negro League Baseball: The Rise and Ruin of a Black Institution. University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN: 978-0-8122-2027-8.

 

Zimbalist, Andrew. 2004. May the Best Team Win: Baseball Economics and Public Policy. Brookings Institution Press. ISBN-10: 081579729X.

Recommended Texts (for your interest and enjoyment only):

Hogan, Lawrence D. 2006. Shades of Glory: The Negro Leagues and the Story of African-American Baseball. National Geographic. ISBN-10: 079225306X.

 

Jozsa, Frank P., Jr. 2006. Baseball, Inc.: The National Pastime as Big Business. McFarland & Co. ISBN-10: 0786425342.

 

Klein, Alan M. 2006. Growing the Game: The Globalization of Major League Baseball. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Paperback ISBN: 9780300136395.

 

Peterson, Robert. 1992. Only the Ball Was White: A History of Legendary Black Players and All-Black Professional Teams. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. ISBN-10: 0195076370.

 

Tygiel, Jules. 2001. Past Time: Baseball as History. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Paperback ISBN10: 0195146042.

 

Tygiel, Jules. 2008. Baseball’s Great Experiment: Jackie Robinson and His Legacy. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Paperback ISBN10: 0195339282.

 

Zimbalist, Andrew. 1994. Baseball and Billions: A Probing Look Inside the Business of Our National Pastime. Basic Books. ISBN-10: 0465006159.

 


Course Requirements:

Midterm Exam

There will be one midterm exam. It will be an objective test consisting of multiple choice and true/false questions about the course material covered to that point: readings, lectures, and films. There will be 25 questions and you will have 30 minutes maximum to complete the exam once you start. It will be available through Blackboard for a 24-hour period. Make sure you use a reliable computer to take the exam. The exam cannot be made up under any circumstances.

Research Paper

Choose any paper topic you wish and write a 4-5 pp. research paper. Pay particular attention to how your topic relates to at least one of our two course themes: race and business. In addition to consulting the course materials you must have at least four bibliographic sources (books, articles, websites). “A” papers meet the minimum page requirement, minimum number of sources, and cite and discuss required course readings where appropriate. If you have any question about whether your topic is appropriate it is best to consult the instructor. Some  possible topics include, but are not limited to:

·         Jackie Robinson

·         Satchel Paige

·         Josh Gibson

·         Ernie Banks

·         Buck O’Neil

·         Harry Caray

·         Bill Veeck, Jr.

·         Minnie Minoso

·         Charles A. Comiskey

·         Andrew “Rube” Foster

·         Curt Flood

·         Adrian “Cap” Anson

·         Kenesaw Mountain Landis

·         Ted “Double Duty” Radcliffe

Chicago Ballparks:

·         Union Base-Ball Grounds/Lake Front Park

·         23rd Street Grounds

·         West Side Park I

·         West Side Park II

·         South Side Park/Schorling Park

·         (Old) Comiskey Park

·         Wrigley Field

·         U.S. Cellular Field

·         Chicago American Giants

·         Chicago Cubs

·         Chicago White Sox

Field Observation Paper

An important part of learning is experience. In this course you are required to participate (attend, observe, or interact in) aspects of the baseball experience that relate to course themes. Toward that end, you will want to attend a baseball game, watch one on television, or listen to one on the radio.

The field observation must address four topics:

 

1)      The people you observed noting their demographic characteristics, behavior, rhetoric, and emotion, if any that are exhibited;

 

2)      the setting (what is important about the location, what would be different if the event took place in a different location/setting);

 

3)      the process (what took place, how, and why);

 

4)      and a discussion of how what you observed relates to the course material (lecture, readings, films, etc.). Toward this end, you must discuss our assigned readings where appropriate.

 

“A” papers cover all four topics well. “B” papers cover three of the four topics. “C” papers cover two of the four topics. This write-up should be 3-4 pages long (typed double-spaced). All papers are due at the end of the course. Check the syllabus for the due date.

 

Choose one of the following two topics:

 

Paper #1 – Baseball and Race

Observe the diversity (or lack thereof) at the ballparks among the fans, players, coaching staffs/managers, and those that work at the ballpark. Considering that baseball was once legally segregated, has progress been made to desegregate the sport? Toward this end, you will want to do some independent research on the background of the players for the teams you observed. If you are ambitious, consider doing some research on the owners and front-office executives of the teams.

 

Paper #2 – The Business of Baseball

Observe the extent to which baseball is a business and specifically and national business as opposed to a purely state or local enterprise. Pay attention to advertising, broadcasting, and the teams and players themselves. Should baseball’s antitrust exemption be lifted? Toward this end, you will want to do some independent research on the financial aspects of baseball including revenue from broadcasting, salaries of the players, and the overall economic behavior of the teams you observed.

Final Exam

There will be one final exam. It will be an objective test consisting of multiple choice and true/false questions about the course material that was covered after the midterm. It will be based on the readings, lectures, and films. There will be 25 questions and you will have 30 minutes maximum to complete the exam once you start. It will be available through Blackboard for a 24-hour period. Make sure you use a reliable computer to take the exam. The exam cannot be made up under any circumstances.

 


Grading System:

Final grades will be determined by the following scale:

90-100 = A

80-89 = B

70-79 = C

60-69 = D

0-59 = F

 

% of Total Grade

Midterm Exam

30%

Research Paper

20%

Field Observation Paper

20%

Final Exam

30%

Total=

100%


Course Policies:

1. Extracurricular Activities – It is your responsibility to notify me in advance of any activities that will disrupt your course participation. If your activities make it impossible for you to fully participate in this course, you should consider withdrawing.

2. Late Work – Anything turned in late will be marked down one-third grade for every day it is overdue. Exceptions are made only in the most extraordinary circumstances and I will require some sort of documentation to make any accommodation.

3. Cheating and Plagiarism – Students cheating and plagiarizing will fail the assignment on which they have committed the infraction and will be referred to the appropriate judicial board for disciplinary action. The submission of any work by a student is taken as guarantee that the thoughts and expressions in it are the student’s own except when properly credited to another. Violations of this principle include giving or receiving aid in an exam or where otherwise prohibited, fraud, plagiarism, or any other deceptive act in connection with academic work. Plagiarism is the representation of another’s words, ideas, opinions, or other products of work as one’s own, either overtly or by failing to attribute them to their true source.

4. Undergraduate Writing Awards – The Department of Political Science will recognize, on an annual basis, outstanding undergraduate papers written in conjunction with 300-400 level political science courses or directed studies. Authors do not have to be political science majors or have a particular class standing. Winners are expected to attend the Department’s spring graduation ceremony where they will receive a certificate and $50.00. Papers, which can be submitted by students or faculty, must be supplied in triplicate to a department secretary by the end of February. All copies should have two cover pages – one with the student’s name and one without the student’s name. Only papers written in the previous calendar can be considered for the award. However, papers completed in the current spring semester are eligible for the following year’s competition even if the student has graduated.

5. Statement Concerning Students with Disabilities – Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, NIU is committed to making reasonable accommodations for persons with documented disabilities. Those students with disabilities that may have some impact on their coursework and for which they may require accommodations should notify the Center for Access-Ability Resources (CAAR) on the fourth floor of the Health Services Building. CAAR will assist students in making appropriate accommodations with course instructors. It is important that CAAR and instructors be informed of any disability-related needs during the first two weeks of the semester.

6. Department of Political Science Web Site – Undergraduates are strongly encouraged to consult the Department of Political Science web site on a regular basis. This up-to-date, central source of information will assist students in contacting faculty and staff, reviewing course requirements and syllabi, exploring graduate study, researching career options, tracking department events, and accessing important details related to undergraduate programs and activities. To reach the site, go to http://polisci.niu.edu.


Course Calendar:

Week 1 T Jan 12

·         Introduction, syllabus review, using Blackboard

·         Lecture: Origins and Birth of Baseball (part 1)


Week 2 T Jan 19

·         Reading:

  • Abrams: “Introduction”; Ch. 1 “The Legal Process at the Birth of Baseball: John Montgomery ‘Monte’ Ward”; Ch. 2 “The Enforcement of Contracts: Napoleon ‘Nap’ Lajoie”;

·         Film - Ken Burns’ Baseball (1994): Inning 1: “Our Game” 1840s-1900 (115 min.)

 


Week 3 T Jan 26

·         Lecture: Origins and Birth of Baseball (part 2)

·         Reading:

o       Lanctot: Preface

·         Film - Ken Burns’ Baseball (1994): Inning 2: “Something Like a War” 1900-1910 (107 min.)

 


Week 4 T Feb 2

·         Lecture: Foundations of Racial Discrimination

·         Reading:

o       Lanctot: Ch. 1-2.

·         Film - Eight Men Out (1988). 119 minutes.

 


Week 5 T Feb 9

·         Lecture: Negro League Baseball (part 1)

·         Reading:

o       Lanctot: Ch. 3-4.

·         Film - Ken Burns’ Baseball (1994): Inning 3: “The Faith of Fifty Million People” 1910-1920 (120 min.)


Week 6 T Feb 16

·         Lecture: Negro League Baseball (part 2)

·         Reading:

o       Lanctot: Ch.5-6

·         Film - Ken Burns’ Baseball (1994): Inning 4: “A National Heirloom” 1920-1930 (117 min.)

 


Week 7 T Feb 23

·         Lecture: Breaking the Color Barrier (part 1)

·         Reading:

  • Lanctot: Ch. 7-.8.

·         Film - Ken Burns’ Baseball (1994): Inning 5: “Shadow Ball” 1930-1940 (126 min.)


Week 8 T Mar 2

·         Lecture: Breaking the Color Barrier (part 2)

·         Reading:

  • Lanctot: Ch. 9-.11.

·         Film - The Bingo Long Travelling All-Stars & Motor Kings (1976). 110 minutes.

The Midterm exam will be available on-line for a 24-hour period beginning at the end of class.


Week 9 SPRING BREAK


Week 10 T Mar 16

·         Lecture: Baseball Monopoly (part 1)

·         Reading:

  • Abrams: Ch. 3 “Baseball’s Antitrust Exemption: Curt Flood” (Up to p. 64 only).
  • Zimbalist: “Preface,” Ch. 1 “Introduction: Cause for Concern,” Ch. 2 “Baseball’s Presumed Antitrust Exemption.”

·         Film - The Pride of the Yankees (1942). 128 minutes.

 


Week 11 T Mar 23

·         Lecture: Baseball Monopoly (part 2)

·         Reading:

  • Goldman: Ch. 3 “Just a Game”; Ch. 4 “More Than Just a Game”

·         Film - The Natural (1984). 144 minutes.

 


Week 12 T Mar 30

·         Lecture: Lecture: Curt Flood: The Struggle for Free Agency (part 1)

·         Reading:

  • Abrams: Ch. 3 “Baseball’s Antitrust Exemption: Curt Flood” (start on p. 64); Ch. 5 “The Owners and the Commissioner: Branch Rickey and Charles O. Finley.”

·         Film - Ken Burns’ Baseball (1994): Inning 6: “The National Pastime” 1940-1950 (151 min.)

 


Week 13 T Apr 6

·         Lecture: Curt Flood: The Struggle for Free Agency (part 2)

·         Reading:

  • Goldman: “Preface”; Ch. 1 “The First Inning”; Ch. 2 “Your Grandfather and I”; Ch. 5 “The Trial”; Ch. 6 “The Senator from Copenhagen”; Ch. 7”The Ex-Senator and Ex-Justice Meet the Supreme Court”; Ch. 8 “Flood Strikes Out”; “Epilogue: One Man Out.”

·         Film - Ken Burns’ Baseball (1994): Inning 7: “The Capital of Baseball” 1950-1960 (134 min.)


Week 14 T Apr 13

·         Lecture: Modern Baseball’s Antitrust Exemption (part 1)

·         Reading:

  • Abrams: Ch. 4 “Collective Bargaining: Marvin Miller”; Ch. 6 “Labor Arbitration and the End of the Reserve System: Andy Messersmith”;

·         Film - Ken Burns’ Baseball (1994): Inning 8: “A Whole New Ballgame” 1960-1970 (116 min.)


Week 15 T Apr 20

·         Lecture: Modern Baseball’s Antitrust Exemption (part 2)

·         Reading:

  • Abrams: Ch. 7 “The Collusion Cases: Carlton Fisk”; Ch. 9 “Baseball’s Labor Wars of the 1990s: Sonia Sotomayor”; “Conclusion”

·         Film - Ken Burns’ Baseball (1994): Inning 9: “Home” 1970-Present (148 min.)

Research Papers Due Today.


Week 16 T Apr 27

·         Lecture: The Future of Baseball

·         Reading:

o       Zimbalist: Zimbalist: Ch. 4 “Profitability”; Ch. 5 “Collective Bargaining.”; Ch. 7 “What is to be Done?”

·         Film - Field of Dreams (1987). 107 minutes.

Field Observation Papers Due Today.


Week 17 T May 4

Final exam will be available on-line for a 24-hour period beginning at 6pm.