The Case of the Sleeping Yankees Fan v. ESPN
There are two things I truly enjoy during the summertime: Taking naps and watching baseball games.
And from where I sit (either a bleacher seat in Auto Zone Park or my recliner lounge chair in my den), I believe naps and watching baseball go together hand in glove.
I’m a firm believer in the power of naps, and I take a power nap just about every day.
I generally take a quick snooze right after lunch. I just close the door to my office, recline on my sofa and snore away for 10 to 15 minutes.
This is truly unbillable time.
I then awaken bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to spend the rest of the day in a wide-awake pursuit of justice for my clients.
I have two great role models as nappers.
The first is Winston Churchill. I’ve read everything I can get my hands on about Sir Winston, including the late William Manchester’s marvelous multi-volume biography, The Last Lion. As it turns out, the lion slept not only in the mighty jungle at night, but at Number 10 Downing Street for an hour or so each afternoon.
He did this every day during the Second World War and . . .he saved civilization!
Sir Winston was never really asleep on the job. You might say that his daily naps were . . .his finest hour!
And my other great napping role model was my mentor, the late Judge Billy Frank Crawford.
Judge Billy Frank was a great trial lawyer and later a great judge. He enjoyed life and lived it intensely. He had a wild side to him. As was said in the best line of his eulogy, he was a cross between Atticus Finch and Ernest T. Bass!
Judge Billy Frank took a nap almost every afternoon, even when he was in a jury trial. During the lunch hour, he would walk from the courthouse back to the office and take a 10 to 15 minute nap. He would then head back to the courthouse and conduct a devastating, cross-examination like Perry Mason or bring a jury to tears in closing argument with his rendition of Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If”.
I’m neither Sir Winston nor Judge Billy Frank. But I’ve tried to follow their models in taking brief snoozes each day, and I think I’m a better lawyer and better person for it.
But I not only nap when I’m at my office. I also take frequent naps when I’m enjoying the national past time—Baseball!
I love baseball. I love it when I’m sitting in beautiful Auto Zone Park watching the Redbirds or during an occasional visit to Busch Stadium in St. Louis to watch my beloved Cardinals.
And I particularly love baseball on evenings when I’m sitting in my favorite seat . . .my lounge chair recliner in my den.
I spend many wonderful summer nights in the recliner with man’s best friend (the remote control channel changer) in my left hand and a glass of iced tea in my right, watching the Cardinals or the Braves on the Haltom jumbotron, my big screen HDTV.
When I’m watching baseball, either at Auto Zone Park or in my den, I often fall asleep for an inning or two.
It’s not that I find baseball boring. I find it ...relaxing.
It has been said that baseball is a game in which 30 minutes of action is packed into three and a half hours. And I thank God for that!
With the exception of my daily power nap, I spend about half my life rushing from meeting to meeting, trying to meet deadlines, and engaging in billable time.
And when I come home at night, or when I spend an occasional evening or a glorious afternoon in a baseball park, I want things to slow down.
In the fall and winter I watch football and basketball on TV. I particularly spend many autumn afternoons watching my Tennessee Volunteers lose football games.
And while I’m addicted to football and basketball, I do not really like either sport. They make me uptight.
But baseball . . .ahhh, baseball! It’s a sport with no shot clock, no overtime, and no sudden death!
And, yes, it often puts me to sleep.
Watching the Atlanta Braves play extra innings on the Ted Turner channel is a sure cure for insomnia.
I love to nod off while I’m watching baseball. And I really don’t care if anybody sees me fall asleep while I’m watching baseball.
But there’s a Yankees’ fan who apparently doesn’t see it this way.
On April 13, Andrew Robert Rector was attending a game at Yankee Stadium between his Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. The game was telecast on ESPN.
At some point during the game, Mr. Rector fell asleep.
The image of him snoring away was caught on national television by ESPN and was the subject of good-natured commentary by ESPN announcers John Kruk and Dan Shulman.
When Rector woke up and heard he had been featured on ESPN, he was upset, and he didn’t just roll over.
Believe it or not, he filed a ten million dollar defamation suit against ESPN, complaining “I have a reputation to defend.”
I’m not sure what his reputation is. After all, he’s a Yankees’ fan which means he couldn’t have had a good reputation to begin with.
In any event, Rector’s lawsuit is now pending in a New York courtroom.
Well, I predict Rector’s suit will soon be dismissed. ESPN lawyers will probably file a motion to dismiss for failure to take a nap for which relief may be granted.
If it were up to Judge Haltom, I’d sure dismiss the case. And then after doing so, I would adjourn court, go back to my chambers and take a nap.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to get back to the game. It’s the top of the 7th, and the Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright is pitching a shutout, and while the Cardinals have not yet scored, the top of the order is scheduled to . . .ummm...as I was saying, it’s the top of the ...zzzzzz...zzzzzz.