It’s a Great Game
But A Funny Business

Buy the Book!Read the Free Sample Chapter Here!

Think NFL Deflategate was a Brawl? Read Lawyerball!

An owners’ fight over an “inside baseball” arbitration splitting cable television profits spills into a New York City trial court. Lawyerball traces this dispute from the baseball antitrust exemption to the implications of the judge’s rulings for the baseball business, the game, its fans, and ordinary Americans.

Lawyerball tells the story of the monopolization of baseball as an American business, and its disappearance from much of American life. It has lessons about the shrinking rights of Americans to go to court with their grievances. It also has lessons about the vanishing freedom of Americans to choose their work. This story about the future of baseball might foretell the future of America.

In 2005, thirty Major League Baseball clubs owned the near-bankrupt Montreal Expos. The clubs signed a television contract with the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles owner agreed to not sue MLB over the relocation of the Expos to Washington, D.C. In return, MLB gave the Orioles the rights to cablecast the Washington Nationals future games. MLB then sold the Expos to a Washington real estate billionaire. He had to work with the Orioles owner, a class-action lawyer, to make a contract work that he had not negotiated.

The first time these owners were required to cooperate, accusations flew between them. Three years later, the Orioles, the Nationals and MLB sat before a New York trial judge. He would decide how to shift more than $100 million dollars between the teams. He would chart the future of baseball.

Read My Final Chapter in Baseball’s Business
-The Winter Meetings, 1958-2016
“Has A New Diamond Age Begun for Baseball?”

Buy the Book!Read the Free Final Chapter on the Resources Page! (Get the Password at the Bottom of This Page)

Book Reviews and Interviews

Read them here and add your own at the Amazon book page.

Listen to this Kojo Nnamdi Show excerpt with Fred Frommer and Tim Kurkjian where I explain why Nats fans cannot find Nats games on local TV.

Sports Law Biz 2
Listen to Sports Law Biz Podcast 21 – Peter Ott’s Interview with Charles H. Martin about “Lawyerball”
Read the Interview Transcript on the Resources Page

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Read an interview with Charles H. Martin at
“In a moment when sport seems to be as much about law and finance as what happens on the field, Charles Martin’s Lawyerball offers welcome insight, skillfully weaving Washington D. C.’s baseball history with the legal and corporate meanderings of Baseball Inc. This is an accessible read that would be a solid primer for those seeking to work in the baseball industry.”- Professor Rob Ruck, Author of Raceball: How the Major Leagues Colonized the Black and Latin Game
“Charles Martin’s Lawyerball is an engaging read for fans of both baseball and the law. He does a nice job of explaining how a nearly century-old Supreme Court ruling granting baseball an antitrust exemption influenced the courtroom battle between the Nationals and Orioles. Readers will get an ‘inside baseball’ look at the still simmering dispute.”
– Frederic J. Frommer, author of Washington baseball history You Gotta Have Heart, and head of sports business practice at the Dewey Square Group


Link Below to Hear or to Watch Charles Martin’s
SABR 46 Talk on the
Orioles vs.Nationals
Lawsuit on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter

Link Below to See the SlideShare Version of My Honorable Mention SABR 46 Poster Presentation on the Baseball Reserve Clause and Employee Non-Compete Agreements



Enter your email at the bottom menu of this page to get the Resources Page password. Then visit the continuously updated Resources Page of PDFs of legal and other documents (at least twenty) helpful for understanding the Lawyerball lawsuit and the business of baseball, including these documents.

Visit the Resources Page
  • 1876 National League Constitution

    This document created the first of the two surviving major leagues. Reserve clause rules were added in 1882.

  • 1903 AL-NL Peace Agreement

    This agreement ended the inter-league war for players with an agreement to respect every club’s contract reserve clauses.

  • 1903 National Agreement

    The 1883 version obligated the major and minor league signatories to respect each other’s reserve clauses. The 1903 version applied to the new American League, added a three-member Commission to govern both major leagues, and established club relocation rules for major and affiliated minor leagues.

  • 2019 Justice Cohen Decision Affirming Second MLB Arbitration Award

    August 22, 2019 New York Supreme Court Decision

  • Key Court Decisions in Nats v. Orioles Case

    These are the final decisions by Justice Marks, and by the Appellate Division, in the cable television rights fees litigation.

  • 2017-2021 MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement

    The New CBA and the 2008 Major League Rules establish the business rules for MLB and its Minor Leagues.

  • 2005 Orioles-Nationals Television Contract

    This contract was made between the Orioles and MLB, when all thirty clubs owned the Montreal Expos. It bound the new Washington Nationals owners when they bought the relocated team.


About the Author

Charles H. Martin is an attorney with more than twenty years of experience practicing law for private, government and corporate clients. He taught as a full-time professor of contracts, sales law and international law at U.S. and foreign law schools and universities. He graduated cum laude from Harvard College. He received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of California (Boalt Hall) School of Law, and his M.B.A. from Columbia Business School. He is the author of Every1’s Guide to Electronic Contracts and academic articles on contract law, sales law and international law.