Even though sports fans have been starved for live-action in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a strikeout recorded of sorts earlier this April in a federal district court. Taking place in New York, the case was Olson v. MLB. Mr. Olson is a daily fantasy sports player who brought a lawsuit against two of the biggest teams in all of baseball, the Houston Astros and the Boston Red Sox, who have both won World Series titles recently. They have also been widely linked to the sign-stealing scandal that has plagued the MLB for the past few months.
During the sign-stealing scandal, players in the dugout would be using video cameras to watch the signs the catcher puts down, indicating the pitch. Then, players in the dugout would bang on a garbage can. This would let the batter know if a breaking ball was coming or not. This advantage makes it easier for the player to make solid contact with the ball. Presumably, this helped both teams to their World Series titles.
In the lawsuit, Olson alleged that the sign-stealing scheme breached a duty of care held by the MLB that they needed to ensure the games were being played within the rules. He alleged that this impacted his daily fantasy sports winnings. It turns out that the court was not buying his argument.
In a decision that was well-reasoned, the federal court granted the motion put forth by the defendants to dismiss the lawsuit. This relegated Olson to the long list of sports consumers, fans, and spectators who have tried to sue sports leagues in the past for a variety of reasons.
When it comes to sports fans, everyone experiences the agony of defeat and the jubilation of victory; however, there is no duty on behalf of the sports leagues to compensate fans who feel cheated out of their enjoyment in some way. Numerous complaints have been taken up over the years, even by customers who have bought tickets. This decision simply falls in line with what courts have found in the past. It will be interesting to see if fans continue to try to sue sports leagues in the future.