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I have a number of professional opportunities that are enabling me to complete the Burnham Baseball Project. These include being a visiting professor, being on the Board of Directors of CALI, being on the committee that writes questions for the Multistate Bar Exam, and being a good friend of Tina, who organizes programs for the American Bar Association. The evidence of how these contribute to the project is illustrated by the fact that at the beginning of this baseball season I had 15 teams on my Teams Not Visited list (at the time, this was a bunch of pencil scrawls on a piece of paper, not a neato web site), which, if my math is correct, represents exactly half of the Major League teams. In early September, I am now down to 10, and in a couple of weeks, after a planned visit to Pittsburgh, I will be down to 9. Seeing six new teams in a year (it would be seven if I was going by parks rather than teams, because I also got to the new Yankee Stadium, but my faithful reader will recall the rule I established early on) makes for a pretty impressive year. Note to self – create a graphic showing the year and the number of parks visited in that year. I suspect any other year would peak at two.

These professional opportunities contributed to the Project long before I was conscious that there was a project. Let me explain visiting for those who are not familiar with it. It is like Musical Chairs for law professors. You let it be known that you wish to visit another law school. If you get an offer that you accept, then your school has to scramble to find a visitor, and so the circle widens. It is a great opportunity for seeing how things are done at other law schools and for getting to know other parts of the country (not to mention foreign visiting opportunities, of which I have had several, but since they don’t involve baseball, they will not be further mentioned here).

My first visiting opportunity was in 1988-89, when I visited Santa Clara, which is just outside San Jose, which is at the bottom of the San Francisco Bay, equidistant between San Francisco up the west side and Oakland up the east side. We went to those parks a lot. I especially enjoyed Oakland, which had a better stadium (San Francisco, you will recall, had Candlestick Park at the time) and a better team (Dave Stewart and Dennis Eckersley,  for example, were a pleasure to watch). Although I visited many times after that, none of the other visits furthered the Project until this year’s visit to Columbus, which is conveniently located within a 3-hour radius of four parks I had not previously been to. Not that my principal purpose in visiting Ohio State was to further the Project, but it is certainly a dividend. I am also probably the first person in history who enjoys being at The Ohio State for the baseball rather than the football. We have been in cities with pretty good minor league ball (Knoxville Blue Jays, Memphis Redbirds, Las Vegas 51s), but I never got into that. Columbus has the Clippers. I had heard they were a Yankee club, so I thought it might be fun to go and root against them, but then I learned that they have changed their affiliation to the Indians, so all the air went out of that balloon.

CALI is the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction. We meet twice a year, once in conjunction with the law professors annual meeting, which is in January – not prime baseball viewing time – and the other in June, at various law schools around the country. In 2006, the meeting was in Ft. Lauderdale, and I was able to get to the Florida Marlins. In fact, after the CALI meeting I was scheduled to teach in New York City for the summer, so I took a train up and got off at Philadelphia and watched the Phillies. This summer the meeting was in Denver, so I got see the Rockies. Next year, Rutgers-Camden, outside Philadelphia. Let’s see, I could take the train down to Washington, D.C….

Another professional opportunity is serving on the committee that writes questions for the bar exam. This is a very cool committee. There are only six of us, we get along well, and we meet twice a year in interesting places, in the spring and the fall just as the baseball season is beginning and ending. And we get to sit around for a couple of days talking about contract law, which is even better than talking about baseball. A couple of years ago, our chair decided that we should rotate deciding where to meet. When it came my turn, I picked Detroit, much to the surprise of most of the committee members who did not know about the Project. But before we held that meeting, I was asked to speak the same weekend at another conference in Dallas. In order to accommodate my doing that, we moved the meeting to Fort Worth. I used the opportunity to see a Texas game, and if I were counting parks, I could check off The Park Where the Rangers Play, but since I am counting teams, I had already seen the Rangers when Terry and I were living in Dallas early in our marriage (long story, to be told in my post about the Rangers). I did get to go to a Red Sox game when Juliet Kostritsky picked Cambridge for the meeting (though I went with Carol Sanger and not Juliet), and last April, John Kidwell picked Madison, and he and I went to Miller Field (The Park Where the Brewers Play) in nearby Milwaukee. So it should be evident that I am planning to use my selection to pick one of my remaining out-of-the-way parks. Toronto, anyone?

Here is something weird. While I was writing this post, admittedly at work, a colleague came by and introduced herself. I was telling her about the Baseball Project and also about my committee work. I mentioned the happy confluence of the two, and the bad news for purposes of baseball that this fall the meeting is in Charlotte, North Carolina. She concurred that it was not near anything. “Except maybe Atlanta,” I noted somewhat meaninglessly. But after she left, I googled the Braves schedule and discovered that they are at home that weekend, playing their last game on Sunday, October 4. I then google mapped (if google is a verb, then so is google map) the driving directions from Charlotte to Atlanta and found that it is 4 hours. We were planning to drive from Columbus to Charlotte, so we will have the car. If we leave early Sunday morning from Charlotte, we could easily make it to the 1:30 game! Tickets should not be a problem, as I suspect Atlanta v. Washington will not be a sellout, as little is likely to hinge on the outcome. [note to fact-checker. Check this out – can Atlanta get the wild card?] Now I just have to sell this scheme to my wife. The amazing thing is that she is pretty game (no pun intended) for these plans, so if I were a betting man, I predict she would say Yes. I am now writing the next day and can confirm that she said Yes! So, on to Atlanta.

Finally, Tina Stark has, like me, developed a specialty in drafting contracts. She is often asked to present seminars to teach young lawyers these skills, and to host conferences. She has kindly invited me to work with her on a number of occasions, and many of the sites have been cool. A year ago, she invited me to a conference in Atlanta, but alas, not when the Bravos were in town. Bad scheduling, Tina. This summer, she invited me to Chicago. I quickly checked the White Sox schedule (I have seen the Cubs) and discovered that not only were they in town, but they were playing the Yankees, and I got seats – woo hoo! Meanwhile I discovered that Tina is a Yankee fan. Note to self – later discourse on how otherwise intelligent and reasonable people can go over to The Dark Side. She kindly invited me to a game at Yankee Stadium, and I reciprocated by inviting her to go to The Park Where the White Sox Play (for a million dollars, I couldn’t name it). To cap it off, the Yankees lost both games!

So as you read through my posts, you now understand the professional opportunity that may have gotten me to the park.


What is the Burnham Baseball Project?

The Burnham Baseball Project records my attempt to attend baseball games at all the Major League Parks, and provides me with an excuse to discourse on whatever strikes my fancy in connection therewith. New readers may want to read my first post, Pre-game Warm-up, to get an introduction to the Project. From there feel free to read chronologically or by Team by clicking on the list below.

Ballparks Visited

American League Teams:

* Baltimore (Oriole Park)

* Boston (Fenway Park)

* Chicago (U.S. Cellular Field)

* Cincinnati (Great American Ball Park)

* Cleveland (Progressive Field)

* Detroit (Comerica Park)

* Kansas City (Kauffman Stadium)

* Los Angeles (Angel Stadium)

* Minnesota (The Metrodome)

* New York (Yankee Stadium)

* Oakland (Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum)

* Seattle (Safeco Field)

* Tampa Bay (Tropicana Field)

National League Stadiums:

* Atlanta (Turner Field)

* Chicago (Wrigley Field)

* Colorado (Coors Field)

* Florida (Land Shark Stadium)

* Milwaukee (Miller Park)

* New York (Citi Field)

* Philadelphia (Citizens Bank Park)

* Pittsburgh (PNC Park)

* San Diego (PETCO Park)

* San Francisco (AT&T Park)

* Washington (Nationals Park)

Ballparks Yet to See

American League Teams:

* Toronto (Rogers Centre)

National League Stadiums:

* Arizona (Chase Field)

* Houston (Minute Maid Park)

* Los Angeles (Dodger Stadium)

* St. Louis (Busch Stadium)