Should we repeal the Infield Fly Rule?

Believe it or not, the infield fly rule in baseball has generated extensive scholarly commentary over the years, beginning with William S. Stevens’ 1975 paper “The Common Law Origins of the Infield Fly Rule.” The most recent contributions to this literature are Andrew J. Guilford and Joel Mallord’s ten-page paper “Time to Drop the Infield Fly Rule and End a Common Law Anomaly” as well as Howard M. Wasserman’s nine-page reply “Perverse Incentives, Cost-Benefit Imbalances, and the Infield Fly Rule.” Both papers are short by law review standards but replete with footnotes. Guilford and Mallord’s paper, for example, has no less than 48 footnotes, while Wasserman’s paper has ‘just’ 33 footnotes. By comparison, in case you’re wondering, Stevens’ classic paper on the infield fly rule consists of eight pages and 48 footnotes. So, if you want to read about the infield fly rule in baseball, expect to wade through about 4.7 footnotes per page on average. (Hat tip: Steven Lubet, via The Faculty Lounge.)

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Source: H. Wasserman, “An Empirical Analysis of the Infield Fly Rule,” Journal of Law, Vol. 4, No. 2 (2014), p. 136.

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