The Who To Play At The Superbowl

Along the line in recent Superbowls of old, great rock bands playing at the halftime (Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, and The Rolling Stones), the greatest band to ever play at halftime will be playing at the Superbowl this year- The Who. Although it won't be the same because the best rhythm section in rock history and the band's two greatest musicians are dead, The Who might be the best live band in rock history and still rock with Daltrey, Townshend, and Ringo Starr's son Zak Starkey. I'll treat you with some classic Who songs to get you pumped up for a Patriots/Saints Superbowl, er, the Superbowl this year:

How Does The Name Tiger Woods Not Appear Once In This Police Call?

Seriously, this dude keeps referring to Tiger Woods as his neighbor. How do you not know that your neighbor is Tiger Woods!? Seriously, how many black people, who happen to be the richest most famous athlete of all time, do you have living in the subdivision to not know it's Tiger Woods. Maybe Tiger's face was more messed up than Jimmy Clausen's such that the guy couldn't even recognize him. And Tiger was driving a Cadillac Escalade? I was sure he drove a Buick in real life.

Jay Cutler Does Not Suck

I knew this would happen.

I'll find it somewhere, but I knew Chicago fans would turn on Cutler. I thought it would happen differently, but during every Bears QBs bad stretches, Chicago fans get angry and use the QB as a scapegoat.

Now I'm not saying Cutler doesn't deserve ANY blame. He absolutely does. He still is making poor decisions and tries to force a LOT of passes (especially to Greg Olson) and he needs to learn to sometimes just take the sack. But even is Cutler DID do that, wouldn't we all just criticize for not taking risks? It's hard to justify a guy who has THREE more interceptions than TDs and I don't care what team you're on, that's just unacceptable and turning the ball over (and TO ratio) is the single biggest reason a team wins or loses a game. But Cutler turning over the call is not his fault.

1) The Offensive Line
Football Outsiders ranks the Bears O-line as the 15th best O-line. Dead even; middle of the pack. However, in reality the offensive line is worse than that. FO ranks pass blocking mainly by how many times the QB gets sacked. It seems they don't take into account how many times the QB gets rushed or thrown out of the pocket, which also falls on the O-line. And because of the awfulness of Olin Kruetz and Orlando Pace, Cutler gets rushed and thrown out of the pocket A LOT, on top of all the sacks. This makes it harder for Cutler to make throws. Now normally sacks and S/100 do not affect a QBs performance, but for Cutler, they do make a factor. Throughout Cutler's career, there is a strong correlation between S/100 and completion percentage and a decently string correlation between S/100 and TD/INT ratio. Essentially, the worse off the O-line is, the worse off Cutler is

2) The Receiving Corps
If you watched the Bears first game, you saw Cutler throw 4 interceptions. You also saw that three weren't his fault. On one play, Johnny Knox went the wrong way on his route so Cutler threw the ball where he was supposed to, unfortunately, there was a Packer there instead of Knox. Now the receiving corps is a lot better than we all expected, but still a cause for a handful of Cutler's INTs. I do however take less blame off of them because as the season progressed, they have gotten better and Cutler still hasn't. I.E.- the last game Bears at Eagles where Cutler was missing receivers like Cutler was missing insulin. However, you put Brandon Marshall, Eddie Royal, and Brandon Stokley back with Cutler and I guarantee you Cutler performs better.

3) Ron Turner
I don't know who Turner had naked pictures of, but can we please burn them so Turner has no leverage over people in the Bears front office. This offense has been bad for a long time with multiple players and coaches. It is obvious that Turner is an awful coach and is not qualified to anything football related, nevertheless a NFL offense. A bad coordinator just hurts his offense and Turner hurts his offense.

4) The Running Game
This absolutely goes back to the offensive line. But an O-line can be great at pass blocking and bad at run blocking (or vice versa). The poor blocking up front causes Matt Forte to be crappy. This means teams don't have to respect the run and can send extra defenders into coverage instead of inside the box. This again just makes Jay Cutler's job even tougher.

This entire offense is really bad and I believe the entire blame should not fall on Cutler for the poor effort and lack of talent of the players around him. Do you all forget just how much you loved Cutler just a month or two ago? This guy is young, the franchise QB, and a guy that will be on the team for a long time. We can build our offense around Jay Cutler and just because he's having a bad stretch, doesn't not mean you should be this hard on Cutler. But what do you think?

Overpaid bums of 2009 (Cubs Edition)

DME provided the overpaid bums of 2008 (cubs edition) in the early days of GOI, so let's see how Jim Hendry's team fared this last season. Clearly, the Cubs had a massive profit on their investment in 2008 thanks to a 97 win season. The same cannot be said about the 2009 club. The biggest losers of the season were Kevin Gregg, Aramis Ramirez, Aaron Miles, MIcah Hoffpauir, and the grand champion...Alfonso Soriano with a startling -19.3 million net loss. Despite my criticism of the value system on fangraphs, which I believe overvalues the production of players, the net production was still nearly 19 million dollars below the team payroll. That takes some serious skill on the part of Jim Hendry.

Click on the image to get a sharp view. Maybe one day we'll afford our own domain and be able to post readable data, but that day is not today

Sacks Have No Affect On A QBs Performance: A Statistical Correlation Between S/100 and a QB's Numbers

So I actually did some actual analysis. I've done posts in past showing you loyal viewers what seems to be a strong correlation between how many times a QB gets sacked per every 100 passing attempts and stats like YPA, TD/INT ratio, Completion Percentage, and Passer Rating. However, I actually did a scatter plot to determine what the exact correlation is between S/100 and these stats. First, I decided to study Brett Favre's career. I did this because I thought I would try to leave as many variables out as possible. Brett Favre is a great talent and he's had consistency throughout his entire career. He's also had a great sample size throughout his entire career which makes him, from a quantitative perspective, a great study. So if I wanted to study one individual player to help me with my study, I figured Favre was the best option. So here's data on how S/100 affected Favre's YPA, Comp%, TD/INT ratio, and Passer Rating:

Unfortunately, the correlation is essentially negligible between S/100 and all those stats. The R2 between S/100 and YPA is .002; between S/100 and Comp% is .0008; between S/100 and Passer Rating is .018; and between S/100 and TD/INT ratio is .018. Correlation is between -1 and +1 and is the correlation is 0, that means there is no correlation whatsoever. Very rarely will any number be exactly zero, but the closer the correlation equals zero, the less likely the correlation exists. These numbers are so small, that is laments terms, by looking at Favre's numbers, there is no correlation between S/100 and a QB's performance.

But then I did a quick analysis on Jay Cutler's short career and the numbers looked somewhat different.

Again, there is very little correlation between S/100 and YPA and Passer Rating; however, there is a very strong correlation between S/100 and Comp% and Passer Rating. The R2 for Comp% is very strong for Cutler, being .453 and for TD/INT ratio being .225. There is a strong correlation for Comp% and a slightly strong correlation for TD/INT ratio.

I figured then that maybe studying Favre solely isn't the best idea. Maybe my initial approach was wrong? I want to study the correlation for how S/100 affect ALL QBs, and by just studying one, maybe isn't the best. Maybe one individual QB isn't the best way to determine how often a QB gets sacked affects every other QB. Maybe one QB is better than another when getting sacked. So I decided to look at all QBs last year that had a minimum of 415 passing attempts to see how S/100 affects a QBs performance. This gave me 21 QBs ranging from the great Peyton Manning and Phillips Rivers to the crappy Kerry Collins and Marc Bulger. Here's what I found:

Again, I was disappointed. The R2 between S/100 and YPA is .125; between S/100 and Comp% is .049; between S/100 and Passer Rating is .162; and S/100 and TD/INT ratio is .172. The correlation is slightly stronger when analyzing all QBs as opposed to one, but the correlation is still fairly weak and essentially non-existent.

However, this research is not a total waste of time. Yes, overall, how often a QB gets sacked bears no relevance on how he performs. But that doesn't hold true on every individual QB. Some QBs, like Favre, it does not matter, and even on guys like Aaron Rodgers who gets sacked like crazy. However, on certain guys like Cutler, S/100 does not matter. And sometimes S/100 can show you how crappy certain guys are. Last year, Kerry Collins (min 415 attempts) had the 2nd least S/100, yet put up mediocre to awful numbers. So as a whole, S/100 shows no relevance, but on individual QBs, it may make a difference.

I'm Thankful For The Blackhawks...Oh And Other Stuff

Marian Hossa debuted for the Blackhawks on Wednesday and contributed 2 goals to the Blackhawks' thrashing of the reigning Presidents' cup winners the San Jose Sharks. The Blackhawks scored the first 3 goals shorthanded and followed that with 4 more even strength goals. Despite giving up 2 soft goals at the end of the game, it was still a mighty impressive 7-2 win.

If anyone is in the Hockey spirit, Millenium Park has already opened their ice rink for the winter. Or if that is too far, there are plenty of flooded rinks in the 'burbs that you can get your skate on. I know what i'll be doing over the winter.

Larry David Has A Boner For Derek Jeter

For anyone who does not watch Curb Your Enthusiasm, you are missing out on the funnies show going. And yes, even Kenny Powers himself can't compete with the immortal Jew that is Larry David. Btw Sexy Rexy, how was Larry David not part of our Characters Welcome competition? Dude is a definite final 4 candidate.

This season of Curb may be the funnies one yet. Larry is divorced, living with a black dude, reuniting with the old Seinfeld gang, and more annoying than ever. Basically, he's DME but with a bunch of money. In one episode this season, Larry even gets into an argument about the greatness that is Derek Jeter. Larry defends him to the end, like a loyal New Yorker, even stating that "there's not one person's who's even said that[that Jeter sucks], except this asshole". Apparently Larry David has never been on our blog.

Blackhawks' John Torchetti looks line Forest Gump

Is walking in baseball an old man's skill? (part 2)

As I showed in part one, there was a pretty strong correlation between walking and age last season (R-Squared was .587). I took the idea from part one (is walking an old man's skill?) and took it a step further. According to Fangraphs, there have been 3,636 players in the history of baseball who have accumulated 1000+ PAs. Over the past several weeks, largely because I did not know that there already existed an excel function (pivot table) to do it for me, I organized and sorted every one of those 3,636 players by BB% and took the average PA (and wOBA, for good measure) by walk rate (categorizing each walk rate by 1/10 of a percent). From there, I graphed the data and calculated the correlations. The lowest walk rate in the sample size (0.40%) belonged to a man by the name of George Zettlein (1108 PAs, .209 wOBA). The highest walk rate in the sample size (20.80%) belonged not to Barry Bonds (20.60%), but Ted Williams (9791 PAs, .493 wOBA).

The basis questions to the two data sets was as follows:
1) Do players who walk more get more PAs (in other words, do players who walk more have longer careers)?
2) Are players who walk more generally better at baseball (is BB% correlated to wOBA)?*
*note: wOBA is an OPS-like metric, which is skewed towards OBP rather than SLG and accounts for other factors such as SB%.

Chart #1 (click to enlarge): BB% (x-variable) to PAs (y-variable)

The R-Squared for this data set is .551

Chart #2 (click to enlarge): BB% (x-variable) to wOBA (y-variable)

The R-Squared for this data set is .639 (no surprise).

Other tidbits of data:
-The average wOBA over this sample size was .321
-The average BB% of the 3,636 players was 8.21%
-The average PA/career in the data set was 3596.

-No surprise here, but the backbone of production is walking. There is a very high (approx. +.64) correlation.
-Walking is an old man's skill. There is a strong coefficient of determination between how many PAs a player will get over the course of his career and his walk rate. I feel that the strength of the coefficient is understated by two factors. First, guys like Albert Pujols are still young. In other words, a lot of very good players are still very young and haven't gotten the chance to accumulate 6000+ PAs yet. Secondly, and more importantly, many players with great talent are derailed by injury. There are plenty of players with fantastic peripherals who just cannot stay healthy and thus get fewer PAs across their career, thus distorting the lower ends of the data. When calculating the average PAs for players with better walk rates within the data (13+%), I noticed many players whose careers ended before accumulating even 2500 PAs.

This data should be pretty reliable. The minimum sample sizes necessary to draw statistically relevant inferences from the data is 200 PA for BB% and 500 PA for OPS. wOBA is somewhat related to OPS (though a much better representation of a player's offensive value), thus I make the logical, but mathematically unproven assumption that 1000 PAs would be a good minimum range for the data from which I could draw statistically relevant conclusions about wOBA (in relation to BB%).

All in all, the answer seems to be yes, walking is an old man's sport.

Football Predictions: Week Twelve

There are three games tomorrow so here we go. My selections are in bold.
Here are my Picks for this week:

Green Bay at Detroit
Oakland at Dallas
N.Y. Giants at Denver
Cleveland at Cincinnati
Carolina at N.Y. Jets
Tampa Bay at Atlanta
Seattle at St. Louis
Arizona at Tennessee
Chicago at Minnesota
Miami at Buffalo
Washington at Philadelphia
Indianapolis at Houston
Jacksonville at San Francisco
Kansas City at San Diego
Pittsburgh at Baltimore
New England at New Orleans

Who Do You Blame For The Bears Problems?

The McCaskey Family
I was having a discussion about this with my dad. He blames the McCaskey family, the owners of the Bears. He blames their cheapness and lack of knowledge for the problems of this team. His argument is that the owners are the ones who determine the front office. They are the ones who hired Ted Thompson the Bears CEO/President and Jerry Angelo as GM. Thompson was an accountant that worked for the organization that the McCaskey's promoted to run the organization. They also were the ones who hired Jerry Angelo. Angelo was a former football player who had little to no experience being a general manager, but who was also within the organization and again, also cheap. He points to guys like Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder who "would never let this happen". Obviously Jones and Snyder have HUGE problems, but I think it's the idea more than the actual example that you should focus on. He also points to their cheapness for hiring guys like Ron Turner and the scouting department.

However, I don't totally but this argument completely. Certainly, there is a problem with all sports that hire former players to run their organization. Teams are more likely to hire a Kenny Williams than a Theo Epstein because of the "experience". Obviously, it's frustrating when a team does this, but I don't know that I'd put the blame on them. Next, I'm not 100% convinced that it's because of the McCaskey's cheapness that we have a poor coaching staff and scouting department. You can be cheap and still have a functional team- as long as you have smart people around you. But are we going to completely take the blame off the people you hire? Maybe hiring Angelo and Smith and Turner was dumb, but are they completely off the hook? If you're bad at your job, then you should be held responsible for your poor performance- and not pass the blame off.

Jerry Angelo

The guy gave huge contracts to an injury prone and on the decline Brian Urlacher and Tommie Harris. The guys went out and got a Orlando Pace in order to "improve" the offensive line. And in the draft, the guy ultimately making the decisions on who to draft is the GM. And since Angelo has been here, we have made some awful awful AWFUL draft choices. You can make the argument that a lot of the people on the field are because of the GM.

However, I believe a lot of the players Angelo gets is not his decision. Bringing in guys like Adam Archelta and Orlando Pace were mainly because Lovie Smith knew them during his stint in St. Louis. It seems to me that Lovie has his system and he tells the GM who to go out and get for his specific system. Sure the GM is the official guy who goes and signs players, but with Angelo, it seems that Lovie has this job more than the guy who has the title. And Aneglo did go out and get Jay Cutler, who is just amazing.

Lovie Smith
You can read the paragraph above as well as a previous post I wrote, chronically my hate of Lovie Smith.

To play devil's advocate, you can say that Smith does have a good system and proven in 2006, but the players on the field are just god awful. And the players on the field are the result of the GM.

The Players Themselves/ Jay Cutler
1) There are arguments of why Cutler is the reason for why this team is bad, but those arguments are flat out wrong. 2) If we're going to hold the coaching staff responsible, then we should hold the players responsible for going out on the field and being and at their job as well

Ron Artest still crazy


Stupid DME thinks Braun can't run the bases

In the Chase Utley comments section, DME proclaimed that Ryan Braun is a horrible baserunner ranking 9th on his own team last season. He points to some stat called EQBRR on BP, which seems reasonable after checking it over, though i still dont know how it is calculated exactly. The baseball analysts did a preview of Bill James Baseball Abstract for 2010

Before listing the best and worst baserunners by position, James compares Chone "Gone" Figgins (23-for-43 going from first-to-third on a single and 26-for-31 second-to-home on a single) with Prince Fielder (1-for-45 first-to-third on a single) and David Ortiz (2-for-16 second-to-home on a single), Emilio Bonafacio (10-for-10 first-to-home on a double) with Mike Lowell (0-for-10), and Denard Span (moved up a base 31 times on a WP, PB, Balk, SF, or Defensive Indifference) with Geoff Blum (never advanced a base on any of those plays).


C Kurt Suzuki +15
C Yadier Molina -26
1B Carlos Pena +9
1B Adrian Gonzalez -29
2B Chase Utley +50
2B Robinson Cano -23
3B Chone Figgins +35
3B Mike Lowell -27
SS Jason Bartlett +30
SS Yuniesky Betancourt -28
LF Ryan Braun +35
LF Juan Rivera -40
CF Michael Bourn +55
CF Kosuke Fukudome -11
RF Ichiro Suzuki +32
RF Gabe Kapler -19
Most people will tell you that we should have Carl Crawford in left field ahead of Ryan Braun, and people will tell you that Yadier Molina actually runs well for a catcher, or at least for a Molina. We don't base this on reputation. Carl Crawford was 8-for-27 going first-to-third on a single. Ryan Braun was 15-for-41, which is better. Crawford was 4-for-9 scoring from first on a double. Braun was 7-for-9. Crawford moved up 24 bases on Wild Pitches, Passed Balls, Balks, Sacrifice Flies and Defensive Indifference. Braun moved up 26 times. Crawford grounded into 7 double plays in 136 DP situations; Braun grounded into 7 in 172 situations. Braun was thrown out 5 times on the bases. Crawford was thrown out 10. Crawford is a very good baserunner—the second-best baserunner among major league left fielders in 2009, including his base stealing—but Braun was better. And Yadi Molina grounded into 27 frigging double plays, which is a record even for a Molina brother.

As James points out, "the difference between the best baserunner in the majors (Michael Bourn) and the worst (Juan Rivera) was 95 bases, or about 24 runs" [editor's note: equal to about 2 1/2 wins].

Who Is The Best AFC QB?

Based upon the best statistic ever (hmm, sarcasism don't translate well on a blog) sacks per 100 passing attempts, I've decided to do a brief analysis of the great AFC QBs preemptively for my new poll.

Big Ben: 8.72
Philip Rivers: 6.23
Matt Schaub: 5.21
Tom Brady: 3.56
Peyton Manning: 2.06

Big Ben: 8.33
Peyton Manning: 8.17
Philip Rivers: 8.17
Matt Schaub: 8.10
Tom Brady: 7.76

Completion Percentage
Peyton Manning: 69.8
Big Ben: 68.9
Matt Schaub: 67.1
Tom Brady: 66.4
Philip Rivers: 63.2

Passer Rating:
Peyton Manning: 102.7
Tom Brady: 100.4
Matt Schaub: 98.9
Philip Rivers: 98.7
Big Ben: 98.6

TD/INT ratio:
Tom Brady: 3.33
Petyton Manning: 2.33
Philip Rivers: 2.83
Matt Schaub: 2.11
Big Ben: 1.70

So who is the best AFC QB? I don't think this one is clear. Peyton clearly takes advantage of his superior O-line but does the increase in sacks make guys like Rivers and Roethlisberger better than Manning? I don't know. But please, when you vote, take sacks and O-line into account.

How Do Sacks Affect a QBs Performance?

Here's some data I did from a recent post of how Matt Cassel, Jay Cutler, and Kyle Orton have performed on new team with a new offensive line. I talked about the reason for the poor/better performance of these players is because of the new offensive line these players had. Now I would love to to a full on regression analysis/ correlation chart to prove truly how QB performance is based upon the O-line. Unfortunately, I have neither the time nor the knowhow. However, I thought I'd do some more analysis of players that have switched teams to see if my data still holds a little bit of water. I decided to do analysis on Brett Favre (both this year and last year), Chad Pennington (two years ago he was on the Jets and last year he was on the Dolphins), and Aaron Rodgers (Yes, he's been a Packer both years but is O-line is drastically different this year/ my outlier to again to show how awesome Rodgers is this year).
NOTE: S/100 = how many times the QB has been sacked per every 100 passing attempts and the (+/-) equals how often or how little the QB was sacked per every 100 attempts compared to the previous year. i.e. +2.00 S/100 means that that QB was sacked 2 more times this year than he was in the previous year per 100 passing attempts.

So here's what I did earlier:

Cassel (2009/2008)(+2.66 S/100)
YPA: -1.2
Completion Percentage: -8.4
Passer Rating: -11.5
TD/INT ratio: +.09

Cutler (2009/ 2008)(+1.79 S/100)
YPA: -0.7
Completion Percentage: -0.6
Passer Rating: -11.5
TD/INT ratio: -0.56

Orton (2009/2008)(-1.41 S/100)
YPA: +0.6
Completion Percentage: +3.5
Passer Rating: +8.2
TD/INT ratio: +0.7

And some my new data:

Brett Favre (2008/2007) (+2.94 S/100)
YPA: -1.1
Completion Percentage: -0.8
Passer Rating: -14.7
TD/INT ratio: -0.87

Brett Favre (2009/2008) (-1.03 S/100)
YPA: +1.3
Completion Percentage: +4.0
Passer Rating: +31.1
TD/INT ratio: +6.0

Chad Pennington (2008/2006) (-1.14 S/100)
Pennington only had 260 passing attempts in 2007. He had 450+ in '06
YPA: +0.8
Completion Percentage: +2.9
Passer Rating: +14.8
TD/INT ratio: +1.65

Aaron Rodgers (2009/2008) (+6.27 S/100)
YPA: +0.7
Completion Percentage: +1.2
Passer Rating: +8.8
TD/INT ratio: +1.65

Take out Aaron Rodgers for a moment and what do you consistently notice? When a QB moves to a new team a thus gets sacked more, his major stats go down. When he moves to a new team and he gets sacked less, his major stats go up (the exception being Matt Cassel and his TD/INT ratio). I think this should come as no big surprise. When a QB is getting sacked more, that means the O-line is allowing more defenders to break penetration and getting to the QB more. And when the defense is getting to the QB more often, it makes the QBs job tougher and makes it harder for the QB to complete throws. This is a simple aspect of the game. Defenses tend to be better when they can get to the QB and offenses tend to be better when the O-line has great pass protection. This again just reinforces the extreme importance of an offensive line and how overrated people make out the QB position to be.

Now we move to Aaron Rodgers. He's not only one of the best QBs in the league right now, he's doing it with an AWFUL O-line. I mean they've been dreadful. Yes, they're injured, but awful nonetheless. Yes, despite this and in the face if statistical data, Rodgers puts up great numbers. Look at his S/100 spike. Out of the seven players, no spike has gone above or below 3.00. Yes, Rodgers S/100 has taken a huge hit this year; he's getting sacked over 12 times per every 100 passing attempt and is getting sacked over six times more per every 100 passing attempt than he was last year. But he's STILL improved. I don't think people realize what an amazing feat this is! (as shown by my crude poll ranking NFC QBs, I was the only one to vote for Rodgers).

So when you go talking trash about your QB, please take a look at his O-line before you judge.

GOI Football Prediction Results: Week Eleven

Pigskin Pick 'Em

1) Cubsfan4evr
Last Week: 14 out of 16-88%
Overall: 109 out of 159-69%

2) The 'Bright' One
Last Week: 10 out of 16-63%
Overall: 101 out of 159-64%

3) Sexy Rexy
Last Week: 5 out of 16-31%
Overall: 96 out of 159-60%

Fantasy Football League
1) Cubsfan4evr (6-5)-1109 pts
2) The 'Bright' One (6-5)-1033 pts
3) Sexy Rexy (5-6)-1017 pts
4) DME (4-7)-923 pts

Greg Oden gets posterized twice

Quick Chase Utley Rant

Despite the fact that the BBWA got it right with Tim Lincecum, Zack Greinke, Joe Mauer and technically Albert Pujols, they are still a bunch of morons. Somehow, Hanley Ramirez, Ryan Howard, Prince Fielder, Troy Tulowitzki, Andre Ethier and Pablo Sandoval all ended up with more MVP votes than Chase Utley. At 7.6 Wins Above Replacement (WAR), Chase Utley was the second most valuable hitter in the NL (behind Pujols, at 8.4 WAR) and the seventh most valuable player overall. A strong balance between fantastic defense at 2B and quality hitting at the plate makes Chase Utley one of the most valuable assets in baseball (based on his production and salary, Fangraphs ranked Utley as a top ten asset earlier this year). Utley does many things very well. He can hit (28+ HRs in 4 of the last 5 seasons, .390 career wOBA), field (career +15.5 UZR/150 at 2B), and run the bases (23 SB last season, 0 CS). He tied Reggie Jackson's World Series homerun record this year. And, as evidenced below, he can even fly.

But Chase Utley gets no love.

At first glance, Pujols appears to deserve the MVP. His monstrous bat was second to none (+16 Runs Above Replacement (RAR) better than the second best hitter last year, Joe Mauer, the AL MVP) and his defense is solid (it has averaged just under +5 RAR per season since 2002). However, Albert Pujols plays first base. Yes, WAR accomodates this with a -12.4 Positional Adjustment to Pujols' cumulative RAR, but there is something more to be said when the WARs are close and the positions played by two players require significantly different levels of skill.

"But DME," you say, "Pujols has a +8.4 WAR and Utley has a +7.6 WAR. That's a chunky +8 RAR difference." True, in theory, but WAR does not encapsulate every aspect of a player's value (and no, I'm not talking about Grindiness Per Nine Inning (G/9)). WAR does not encapsulate baserunning skills. Because WAR is derivative of wOBA, which already accounts for SB%, the additional "Baserunning RAR" (BRAR) is calculated by (EQBRR-EQSBR). According to Baseball Prospectus, Chase Utley was the second best baserunner in the majors last season (behind Michael Bourne) and his BRAR was +5.32. Albert Pujols was not even a top 500 baserunner and his BRAR was -0.62.

This makes the difference between Utley and Pujols' end of season cumulative RAR's within two runs of each other. Such a difference is pretty marginal. Factor in Pujols' +13 PA's and the fact that Chase Utley's team made it to the World Series (where Utley raked), and I would have to tip my hat in favor of Chase Utley, who plays in a much tougher division, for the NL MVP award. By no means is it a travesty that Pujols got the honor. It is a travesty, however, that Utley did not even finish top 5 in NL MVP voting.

This only goes to show that even when the BBWA gets it right, they still manage to get it wrong.

Editor's Note: I am aware that BBWA votes are due prior to the playoffs. I am just using his performance as addition rationale as to why I would prefer him over Pujols for the NL MVP. If Utley didn't hit .193/.290/.325 (.217 BABIP) in Sept./Oct., it is very possible that Utley would have had a more valuable 2009 than Pujols.

Nobody Likes Jimmy Clausen is reporting that a fan punched Jimmy Clausen outside of a restaurant this morning and Clausen now as a swollen eye. Good.

Sacks Per 100 Pass Attempts

Unlike the funny Grindiness Per Nine Inning (G/9), I have started using a real statistic. In my extremely recent post analyzing QB that have recently gone to new teams, I started using sacks per 100 pass attempts (S/100) to help me analyze how offensive lines affect QBs on different. Now I admit this is nothing groundbreaking or earth shattering by any stretch of the imagination, but I still feel like this is a useful stat, especially when analyzing QBs who go to different teams. FootballOutsiders does something similar like this when they analyze offensive lines, but I'm applying this to individual QBs. Also, if a stat like this already exists, please tell me so I can delete this post. Thank You.

How Are Cutler, Orton, and Cassel Doing On Their New Teams?

I was watching the video TBO posted where Cutler says "you know" more times than Joe Morgan says something dumb. It got me thinking, the whole reason the Bears got Jay Cutler was because Josh McDaniels was actively seeking to get Matt Cassel in a trade. The Broncos, Chiefs, and Redskins among others also were actively seeking to get Cassel. The Chiefs did end up getting Cassel, but 10 games into the regular season you think to yourself, was it really worth it? Do teams really want Cassel?

Last year, Cassel Randy Moss and Wes Welker to throw to as well as a great O-line. So you knew his numbers were skewed a bit. Even still, Cassel was never that efficient ranking 17th in DYAR and 12th in DVOA. Those who liked him because of his fantasy football production also were misled the same way we were misled my liking Tyler Thigpen- Cassel was able to run the ball pretty well (again, helped by the Pats O-line). Cassel was 10th in passer rating, 10th in YPG, and 15th in YPA with a 1.91 TD/INT ratio. So how's Cassel doing this year?

To start off with, the Chiefs have an awful O-line ranking 27th in pass blocking (and as any Bears fan can tell you now, it's hard as hell for a QB to throw the ball with an awful line) and Dwayne Bowe and um, uh, whoever the Chiefs #2 receiver was before Chambers arrived are much much much worse than Moss and Welker. However, Cassel still took a 11.5 hit in passer rating, 1.2 YPA hit, and is completing 8.4% less passes. Yet despite this, his TD/INT ratio has gone up .09 points.

Normally, I would think that maybe I would start talking about how shitty Cassel is, but I think looking at Kyle Orton and Jay Cutler from this year to last year is a great example of just how important a line and receiving corps can be.

Jay Cutler went for playing for a team that ranked 4th in pass blocking to a team that now ranks 15th (and I think this is an example where stats can lie b/c I feel Cutler being able to scramble and throws the ball before he gets sacked screws this number because no way in hell the Bears are only middle of the pack in pass blocking). Anyway, Cutler is going from a great line to a shitty one. He's going from a 1.39 TD/INT ratio to a .833 ratio. He took a .56 hit in TD/INT ratio, 11.5 hit in passer rating, a .70 hit in YPA (and to put this into perspective, he has a 7.3, 7.5, and 7.3 YPA in Denver. He's down to 6.6 this year), but only a slight hit in completion percentage. .

Compare this now to Kyle Orton who went from a shitty situation to a better one. Last year the Bears ranked 11th in pass blocking and this year the Broncos rank 7th (again, a slight situation where numbers lie because football outsiders rank pass blocking by sacks and Orton also does a fine job alluding sacks). Trust me, I've actually watched football, Orton is in a much better situation and this shows in his numbers. He has increased his passer rating 8.2 points, his YPA by 0.6, is now completing 3.5% more passes, and has increased his TD/INT ratio by 0.7 percent.

Last year Cutler was sacked only 20 times. This year, he's already been sacked 20. Last year Cutler got sacked 1.79 times for every 100 times he's thrown the ball. This year, he's getting sacked a whooping 5.26 times every times per every 100 pass attempt. Compare this to Orton. Last year Orton was sacked 27 times. This year he's only gotten sacked 14. Orton got sacked 5.81 times per every 100 attempts. This year he's getting sacked 4.4 times per every 100 attempts.

I think this Orton/Cutler trade just goes to show you how important a line can be. So with this in mind, let's look to see how sacks per every 100 attempt has affected each players numbers.

Cassel (+2.66 sacks per 100 attempts)
YPA: -1.2
Completion Percentage: -8.4
Passer Rating: -11.5
TD/INT ratio: +.09

Cutler (+1.79 sacks per game)
YPA: -0.7
Completion Percentage: -0.6
Passer Rating: -11.5
TD/INT ratio: -0.56

Orton (-1.41 sacks per 100 attempts)
YPA: +0.6
Completion Percentage: +3.5
Passer Rating: +8.2
TD/INT ratio: +0.7

Statistically speaking, these numbers are pretty close to each other. The sacks per 100 attempts are vastly different, yet the numbers below seem pretty darn close. The most discernible effect S/100 (sacks per 100 pass attempts) seems to have is on YPA. The more a QB has gotten sacked, the more his YPA is hurt.

Obviously, analyzing three players over 1.5 seasons is absolutely not enough to determine 100% conclusive data. But it certainly just reinforces the point that offensive lines are so important to a team.

So to answer my original question, how are the Chiefs liking this Matt Cassel trade now? Maybe if they put a good team around him Cassel would succeed. And to the point that McDaniels was actively trying to trade for Cassel? He should have kept his big mouth shut because his O-line is good enough for any QB whether it be Cassel or Cutler or Orton. However, as a Bears fan, I'm happy as hell McDaniels is dumb.

You Know, Cutler May Have Brain Damage, You Know

Joe Mauer Wins MVP Unanimously, Minus 1 Moron

Mauer led the American League in average, on-base, and slugging - the true triple crown while playing catcher. Some moron voted for Miguel Cabrera, cause boozing and beating your wife before the most important game of the season really spikes your grindiness per nine (g/9)

Blackhawks Are Really Really Good At Hockey

For those of you still suffering though the NBA and NFL season, how about you check out the only good team in the city. Yup, it's the Blackhawks again. They are on their annual circus trip, the same one which basically destroys the Bulls every year, and they have won 7 games in a row. They just destroyed all of Canada (Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver) and are currently ranked as the top team in the NHL based on's power ranking. All this despite not having their best player, Marion Hossa, though he will make his Hawks debut on Wednesday. Cristobal Huet is playing like a top 5 goalie and all is good in Hawk land.

Also, within the next week, the Blackhawks are expected to sign Kane and Toews to identical 6yr/36mil deals, while Duncan Keith is expected to get a 13yr/65mil deal.

Surprisingly Not The First Time Seeing Hester's Ass

A video replay of an incomplete pass on the final Bears drive showed a "wardrobe malfunction" of Devin Hester's ass to all of America's youth. Considering I have spent 100 hours studying for my anatomy exam the past 3 weeks, I am quite impressed with Mr. Hester's ischial tuberosity. I thought about putting the video on the blog myself, but was too depressed from watching the Bears lose another one. But since deadspin has the pics and video up in the middle of the night, I guess I'll just rip them off for the first time ever.

Randy's Johnson

Just in case you missed this little detail that was buried in my Marlins rant earlier today, the city of Seattle recently approved building a strip club next door to Safe Co. Field. Perhaps it's the city's great "fuck you" to the biggest prudes in baseball for continuously ripping the taxpayers off. They should call it The Foul Pole (or Randy's Johnson) for good measure. Got a funny strip club name that isn't "Big Unit?" Leave it in the comments.

People Search Google For The Strangest Things

I typed "why" into Google and the strangest "fill in your search" text came up...

"What are" will also give you some interesting results...

The Marlins are REALLY cheap

When your highest base salary for a player is $5.5 million for a season, you know that your team is not exactly spending money. No one ever claimed the Marlin's were rolling in the dough, but if you think the Marlins' 2009 payroll of $36.8 million is ridiculously miniscule, look back a few years. According to Cot's Baseball Contracts, the Marlins 2006 base payroll was under $15 million. FIFTEEN MILLION. Ryan Howard has only been in league for four years and is already making more money than the entire team spent that year. Hell, Tim Lincecum might get paid more than $15 million next season and he hasn't even thrown 600 major league innings (a team that plays 162 games without any of its games going in to extra innings will have to pitch 1458 innings).

The 2006 Florida Marlins' revenue stream took in $122 million. Where is that money going and why is Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria forcing the state to subsidize the Marlin's new stadium?? I'm shocked that the citizens of Florida are not more outraged that the city is funding approximately 75% of the $645 million new stadium in Miami. If the team wants to cut costs and increase profits by moving the team to a better location, they should do it on their own dime; it's called a business investment.

The New York Times article (the last link above) frames the issue particularly well:
The economic benefits could also prove illusory, analysts say, because spending at new stadiums often replaces money spent at old ones or comes at the expense of spending at theaters, restaurants and other entertainment sites.

Eager to get the project rolling, Miami-Dade issued its bonds over the summer, when the municipal bond market was in flux. The county paid nearly a full percentage point more in interest to issue its bonds than if it had waited a few months. The Marlins agreed to buy the last $7 million of bonds that the county was unable to sell to the market.

As the recession has revealed, some conservative forecasts elsewhere proved too optimistic. In 1996, officials in Hamilton County, Ohio, expected their local sales tax revenue to grow 3 percent a year when they agreed to add a half-penny to pay for stadiums for the Cincinnati Reds and the Bengals. Instead, it has since grown 1.6 percent per year on average and fallen nearly 10 percent this year, forcing lawmakers to consider cutting the schools budget.

“Cincinnati is a smaller market, but it underscores that all these projects have risks, and Miami has to understand in the depths of this recession it may take longer to recover than people think,” said Mark Rosentraub, the author of “Major League Losers,” which examined stadium deals nationwide. Rosentraub called Miami’s agreement “reckless.”
And yet, the Democrats of this country want more government. Go figure.

This gallimaufry isn't just happening on the Eastern Seaboard. The Mariners pigeon-holed Seattle into building them a new stadium a decade ago and are now forcing the taxpayers to pay for essential repairs to the stadium. I guess the city is going to get the last laugh, however, as they recently approved building a strip club next door. Maybe they'll call it The Foul Pole (or Randy's Johnson).

(Check here to read the details of the Mariners contract with the city as cited in an except from King County v. Taxpayers of King County)

Fastest Fastballs

As Fangraphs previously noted, strikeouts and velocity are correlated. Who packed the heat in 2009? Even Matt Lindstrom's K/9 improved last season and Bill James expects it to go up even more in 2010. So who packed the best heat in 2009?

Starting Pichers (min. 100 IP):

Excluding the 3 pitchers at the very bottom of the list, who combined to be 120 years old (Jamie Moyer, Livan Hernandez and Tim Wakefield), no pitcher who logged 100+ IP in 2009 had a fastball slower than 85 MPH. And people wonder why I refuse to call Rich Harden's "change up" (85.5 MPH) a "change up." Could once uber prospect Homer Bailey be a sleeper in 2009? He did post a 2.08 ERA/3.07 FIP with 42 Ks and 4 Ws over his last 43.1 IP.

Relievers (min. 30 IP)

With a fastball that averages near 100 MPH, its no wonder Zoom-Zoom walked the crap out of batters in 2009 (6.39 BB/9). Maybe he needs to Randy Johnson a few hitters. Thorton and MacDougal each seemingly have one pitch. Too bad MacDougal has absolutely no command of his only pitch.

Oh, and because google images is our number one referral, enjoy this hilarious picture I found of Barack Obama:

Fantastic Resource For Minor League Players

I've just recently stumbled across a fantastic website, Minor League Splits. Not only does it contain traditional numbers for minor leaguers around baseball, but it also converts their minor league numbers into expected major league equivalent lines. For example, Cubs SS prospect Starlin Castro's .292/.340/.375 AA batting line in 2009 would translate into a .245/.282/.300 batting line in the majors (click the "mle" line to convert). Yet another reason to part with Castro for anything of value...

Interesting stuff.

Getting "In Shape" Is Overrated

I recall a post back in the day where DME disproved the notion that baseball players who show up to spring training either adding muscle, losing weight, getting their corneas rearranged, or adding "protein shakes" to their veins somehow were suppose to make a player better. Yet despite all their hard work, their wOBAs remain the same no matter what cause they are who we thought they were. Unfortunately I cant find a link to this post, but believe me it exists.

The same notion has been attempted in other sports, with identical outcomes.

A big story over the summer was that Lendale White, that fat fatty who won a national championship at USC, started ahead of Reggie Bush, and scored 15 rushing touchdowns last season, finally got in shape by simply cutting out tequila(Fast Food) from his diet. And how has White's new and improved physique fared this season you may ask? Well he's averaging 6.5 carries a game for about 21 yards, oh and the goal-line running back only has 1 TD run. Going forward this is bad news for the Titans and awesome news for tequila. Can I buy stock in tequila? It's a no lose situation here.

Al Jefferson, the young star for the Minnesota Timberwolves, who was the main guy in the Kevin Garnett trade, lost 30 pounds over the summer by going on the "Jared Diet". Wow that is great news and partly the reason I took Jefferson as my first round pick in fantasy basketball. So let's see what the numbers tell us. FG% 40 points below career average. 5 less rebounds a game from previous 3 years and points are down 7 per game from the past 2 season. Not exactly first round material.

Can The Blackhawks Win It All With Cristobol Huet?

Now I fully admit that I know absolutely nothing about the NHL or hockey. My analysis may be completely wrong and feel free to correct me, but here we go.

A lot of analysts picked the Blackhawks to win the Stanley Cup this year (a lot also picked the Chicago Bears and that worked out well for them). However, as any sports fan or three year old can tell you, you can't win at all without defense. (While this is not true, your defense can't be shitty either). The Blackhawks let go of their aging goalie Nikolai Khabibulin so they can go with the much younger and cheaper Huet. But from what I've heard (and I remember he gave up like five goals in a playoff game last year or something) Huet wasn't good. Which made me wonder, why would people pick the Blackhawks to win at all if they have a goalie that isn't good? So I did my best to research Cristobol Huet to see if he really is good.

To my surprise, when I went to the ESPN NHL stat page, Huet was 5th overall among all goalies in goals against average. However, Huet is only 27th in save percentage and 30th in save percentage in shoot outs. However, statistically speaking, the point differential between Huet and the leaders in save percentage are seemingly very minimal. However, this "minimal" difference seems to show up because Huet is t-17th overall in total goals allowed. So can you really go far in the playoffs if your goalie is allowing all these goals? Obviously, if you're offense is good enough then you can overcome your defensive proficiencies, but not many teams seemingly can do that.

However, there is a glimmer of hope. Chris Osgood, a Stanley Cup winner is not that good either. Last year, Osgood's save percentage in 26 games was really bad and Detroit beat the Blackhawks in the playoffs. Osgood has a career save percentage along the lines that Huet has now and because Detroit is so good, Osgood has multiple championships.

So can the Blackhawks win with Cristobol Huet? Of course it's possible. But is something you should realistically expect? I would say no.

Baseball Was Affected By The Economy

I know we all berated Cubsfan when he made the statement baseball wasn't affected by the economy because attendance was up this year. Well, to add insult to well I guess more insults, Beg Selig recently announced that some teams did lose money this past season.

The Nets Are So Bad That They Need Their Opponent To Shoot Baskets For Them

In the recent Nets v Knicks game, Nate Robinson accidentally shoots the ball in the wrong basket.

Bringing the debate out of the comments

From Sabernomics:
Here are the year-to-year correlations for pitchers throwing back-to-back 100+ innings seasons from 1980–2006.
Metric  Correlation
Strikeout Rate 0.79
Walk Rate 0.64
WHIP 0.42
ERA 0.37

All measures are correlated, but the correlation is lower for the metrics that include fielder contributions. The season-to-season correlation between individuals pitchers’ WHIP and ERA are quite similar. Also, both metrics vary similarly: the average coefficient of variation (mean/standard deviation) for the pitchers in the sample is 2.46 for WHIP and 1.99 for ERA.

Here is a graph of ERA and WHIP by age for Roger Clemens on that using connected scatter plots and quadratic fit curves.


The metrics tend to move in concert (correlation = 0.9), and the small difference in quadratic fit seems to be explained by a few more-extreme deviations in WHIP.

Thus, if WHIP has any advantage over ERA, it is slight...


ESPN & The Simpsons

ESPN has an old, but funny list of Simpsons-sports moments. My favorite:
88. The Benefits of International Waters: While on Mr. Burns' yacht in international waters, Homer proves to Bart that you can do anything out here. "See that ship over there? They're re-broadcasting Major League Baseball with implied oral consent, not express written consent -- or so the legend goes."

Avila v. Citrus Community College Dist., 38 Cal. 4th 148 (2006)

Below is a copy of the text from Avila v. Citrus Community College Dist., 38 Cal. 4th 148 (2006). I've bold the fun part, but it's a good read.

Quick Disclaimer: We did not compile this text nor do we own the rights to it. If we are hosting this material in conflict with fair usage rights, LEXIS should contact us at and we shall remove the material upon request.


[**385] WERDEGAR, J.—During an intercollegiate baseball game at a community college, one of the home team's batters is hit by a pitch. In the next half-inning, the home team's pitcher allegedly retaliates with an inside pitch and hits a visiting batter in the head. The visiting batter is injured, he sues, and the courts must umpire the dispute.

We are asked to make calls on two questions: (1) Does Government Code section 831.7, which immunizes public entities from liability for injuries sustained during “hazardous recreational activities,” bar recovery against the home community college district, and (2) if not, does the community college district owe any duty to visiting players that might support liability? We conclude that section 831.7 does not extend to injuries sustained during supervised school sports, but that on the facts alleged the host school breached no duty of care to the injured batter. We reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeal.

Factual and Procedural Background 1


1 Because this appeal is from the sustaining of a demurrer, we take the facts recited in Avila's complaint as true. (Blank v. Kirwan (1985) 39 Cal.3d 311, 318 [216 Cal. Rptr. 718, 703 P.2d 58].)

Jose Luis Avila, a Rio Hondo Community College (Rio Hondo) student, played baseball for the Rio Hondo Roadrunners. On January 5, 2001, Rio Hondo was playing a preseason road game against the Citrus Community College Owls (Citrus College). During the game, a Roadrunners pitcher hit a Citrus College batter with a pitch; when Avila came to bat in the top of the next inning, the Citrus College pitcher hit him in [**386] the head with a pitch, cracking his batting helmet. Avila alleges the pitch was an intentional “beanball” thrown in retaliation for the previous hit batter or, at a minimum, was thrown negligently. [*153]

Avila staggered, felt dizzy, and was in pain. The Rio Hondo manager told him to go to first base. Avila did so, and when he complained to the Rio Hondo first base coach, he was told to stay in the game. At second base, he still felt pain, numbness, and dizziness. A Citrus College player yelled to the Rio Hondo dugout that the Roadrunners needed a pinch runner. Avila walked off the field and went to the Rio Hondo bench. No one tended to his injuries. As a result, Avila suffered unspecified serious personal injuries.

Avila sued both schools, his manager, the helmet manufacturer, and various other entities and organizations. Only the claims against the Citrus Community College District (the District) are before us. Avila alleged that the District was negligent in failing to summon or provide medical care for him when he was obviously in need of it, failing to supervise and control the Citrus College pitcher, failing to provide umpires or other supervisory personnel to control the game and prevent retaliatory or reckless pitching, and failing to provide adequate equipment to safeguard him from serious head injury. Avila also alleged that the District acted negligently by failing to take reasonable steps to train and supervise its managers, trainers, employees, and agents in providing medical care to injured players and by conducting an illegal preseason game in violation of community college baseball rules designed to protect participants such as Avila.

The District demurred, contending it was protected by Government Code section 831.7, subdivision (a), 2 a public entity tort [***303] immunity statute. The District also contended that under Ochoa v. California State University (1999) 72 Cal.App.4th 1300 [85 Cal. Rptr. 2d 768] (Ochoa), it owed no duty of care to Avila. The trial court sustained the demurrer and dismissed the action against the District.


2 All subsequent unlabeled statutory references are to the Government Code.

A divided Court of Appeal reversed. Relying on Acosta v. Los Angeles Unified School Dist. (1995) 31 Cal.App.4th 471 [37 Cal. Rptr. 2d 171] (Acosta) and Iverson v. Muroc Unified School Dist. (1995) 32 Cal.App.4th 218 [38 Cal. Rptr. 2d 35] (Iverson), the majority concluded that section 831.7 does not extend immunity to claims predicated on the negligent supervision of public school athletes and that the District owed a duty of supervision to Avila. The dissent argued that Acosta and Iverson create a limited exception only for secondary school students and that section 831.7 immunity applied.

We granted the District's petition for review to resolve an apparent split in the Courts of Appeal concerning the scope of section 831.7 immunity and to address the extent of a college's duty in these circumstances. [*154]


I. Section 831.7 Immunity

CA(1)(1) As always, we begin our analysis of a statute's meaning with its text. (Elsner v. Uveges (2005) 34 Cal.4th 915, 927 [22 Cal. Rptr. 3d 530, 102 P.3d 915].) Section 831.7 provides: HN1Go to the description of this Headnote.“Neither a public entity nor a public employee is liable to any person who participates in a hazardous recreational activity … for any damage or injury to property or persons arising out of that hazardous recreational activity.” (Id., subd. (a).) In turn, HN2Go to the description of this Headnote.a “hazardous recreational activity” is defined as “a recreational activity conducted on property of a public entity which creates a substantial (as distinguished from a minor, trivial, or insignificant) risk of injury to a participant or a spectator.” (Id., subd. (b).) “Hazardous recreational activity” is further defined by a nonexclusive list of activities that qualify, including such activities as diving, skiing, hang gliding, rock climbing, and body contact sports. (Ibid.)

The text is ambiguous. The statute does not specifically define “recreational activity,” but instead includes a definition for “hazardous recreational activity.” That definition defines and illustrates what is meant by the term “hazardous,” while merely reusing the [**387] phrase “recreational activity.” (� 831.7, subd. (b).) The term “recreational,” however, is susceptible to multiple interpretations. For example, “recreation” may be defined as “Refreshment of one's mind or body after work through some activity that amuses or stimulates; play.” (American Heritage Dict. (2d college ed. 1982) p. 1035, italics added.) Under this definition, not only the nature of the activity but the context matters. Pitching in an adult amateur softball game would qualify as recreational; pitching for the Oakland Athletics or San Francisco Giants professional baseball teams would not. What of playing in a high school or intercollegiate baseball game, which falls somewhere between these extremes? Does it matter if one is a scholarship athlete, and thus receiving some form of reward for one's continued performance, or if one's participation in a sporting activity is compulsory because of state laws governing physical education instruction? The text alone cannot answer these questions.

This ambiguity is reflected in the disparate conclusions the Courts of Appeal have reached when applying the statutory language to negligence claims against schools and universities. For example, in Acosta, supra, 31 Cal.App.4th 471, a high school gymnast was practicing [***304] at his high school during the off-season under the supervision of an assistant gymnastics coach. He fell during a difficult maneuver, landed on his neck, and was rendered a [*155] quadriplegic. The Court of Appeal ruled that section 831.7 did not immunize the school district from liability for negligent supervision. While the court acknowledged that gymnastics was a hazardous activity, it concluded that school districts have a well-established duty to provide reasonable supervision of school-sponsored extracurricular sports programs. (Acosta, at pp. 477–478 [citing Leger v. Stockton Unified School Dist. (1988) 202 Cal. App. 3d 1448, 1459 [249 Cal. Rptr. 688], and numerous additional out-of-state authorities].) The court found no indication the Legislature, when it adopted section 831.7, had intended to abrogate that duty. In order to resolve the conflict between the language of section 831.7 and the line of cases establishing a duty of supervision, the Acosta court reasoned that the term “recreational” should be interpreted to exclude supervised school-sponsored extracurricular athletics. (Acosta, at pp. 476, 478.)

In Iverson, supra, 32 Cal.App.4th 218, an eighth-grade student was injured by a hard tackle during a physical education class soccer game. Here again, the court rejected section 831.7 immunity. Though distinguishing Acosta as involving extracurricular activities, Iverson agreed with much of its reasoning. It found in the legislative history of the statute no indication the Legislature intended to immunize schools from liability for injuries to students participating in school sports. While recognizing that soccer might be hazardous, Iverson agreed with Acosta that school sports activities could fairly be excluded from the definition of “recreational.” Because Iverson was not injured during participation in a hazardous “recreational” activity, section 831.7 had no application. (Iverson, at pp. 225–227.)

In contrast, in Ochoa, supra, 72 Cal.App.4th 1300, a California State University, Sacramento (Sacramento State) student was injured in an intramural soccer game. Escalating roughness culminated in one player throwing a punch, catching plaintiff Ochoa in the jaw. Ochoa sued Sacramento State for negligently failing to supervise the game. The trial court granted Sacramento State's motion for summary judgment and the Court of Appeal affirmed, concluding that section 831.7 immunized the university from liability. (Ochoa, at p. 1306.) The court distinguished Acosta and Iverson as not involving adult students engaged in voluntary activities. Because soccer is a hazardous activity and Ochoa was an adult who was neither required nor expected to participate in the match, the court determined Ochoa was injured during a hazardous “recreational” activity within the meaning of section 831.7 and, accordingly, held Sacramento State absolutely immune. (Ochoa, at p. 1308.)

[**388] In the absence of an unambiguous plain meaning, we must look to extrinsic sources such as legislative history to determine the statute's meaning. [*156] (Wilcox v. Birtwhistle (1999) 21 Cal.4th 973, 977 [90 Cal. Rptr. 2d 260, 987 P.2d 727].) Our review of the legislative history of section 831.7 leads us to agree with Acosta and Iverson. The statute's roots lie in Civil Code section 846, a premises liability statute that provides qualified immunity for landowners against claims by recreational users: “An owner of any estate or any other interest in real property, whether possessory or nonpossessory, owes no duty of care to keep the premises safe for entry [***305] or use by others for any recreational purpose or to give any warning of hazardous conditions, uses of, structures, or activities on such premises to persons entering for such purpose, except as provided in this section.” Civil Code section 846 leaves in place whatever common law premises liability would exist “(a) for willful or malicious failure to guard or warn against a dangerous condition, use, structure or activity; or (b) for injury suffered in any case where permission to enter for the above purpose was granted for a consideration other than the consideration, if any, paid to said landowner by the state, or where consideration has been received from others for the same purpose; or (c) to any persons who are expressly invited rather than merely permitted to come upon the premises by the landowner.” (Civ. Code, � 846.)

In the late 1970's, a split of authority developed over whether Civil Code section 846 immunity extended to public entities. Early cases assumed it did. (See English v. Marin Mun. Water Dist. (1977) 66 Cal. App. 3d 725, 728–731 [136 Cal. Rptr. 224]; Gerkin v. Santa Clara Valley Water Dist. (1979) 95 Cal. App. 3d 1022, 1025–1028 [157 Cal. Rptr. 612]; Moore v. City of Torrance (1979) 101 Cal. App. 3d 66, 72 [166 Cal. Rptr. 192]; Blakley v. State of California (1980) 108 Cal. App. 3d 971, 975 [167 Cal. Rptr. 1].) Later cases reversed this trend. (See, e.g., Nelsen v. City of Gridley (1980) 113 Cal. App. 3d 87, 91 [169 Cal. Rptr. 757].) This court finally resolved the issue in 1983, siding with the later cases and holding that public entities are not protected by Civil Code section 846. (Delta Farms Reclamation Dist. v. Superior Court (1983) 33 Cal.3d 699, 710 [190 Cal. Rptr. 494, 660 P.2d 1168].)

While Delta Farms Reclamation Dist. v. Superior Court, supra, 33 Cal.3d 699, was still pending in this court, Assemblyman Robert Campbell responded to the uncertainty by introducing Assembly Bill No. 555 (1983–1984 Reg. Sess.), which proposed new Government Code section 831.7. The bill's source, the East Bay Regional Park District, had expressed concern that because it was virtually impossible to prevent park users from engaging in hazardous recreational activities, substantial legal claims from recreational users might force it to limit park access. Other supporters decried allegedly baseless personal injury and property damage suits by recreational public property users. (Assem. Com. on Judiciary, Analysis of Assem. Bill No. 555 [*157] (1983–1984 Reg. Sess.) as introduced Feb. 10, 1983, p. 2; Richard C. Trudeau, Gen. Manager, East Bay Regional Park Dist., letter to Sen. Com. on Judiciary, May 26, 1983; Sen. Com. on Judiciary, Analysis of Assem. Bill No. 555 (1983–1984 Reg. Sess.) as amended May 31, 1983, p. 7.) The Assembly Committee on the Judiciary analysis of the bill noted the uncertainty in the Courts of Appeal over the availability of Civil Code section 846 qualified immunity to public entities. (Assem. Com. on Judiciary, Analysis of Assem. Bill No. 555 (1983–1984 Reg. Sess.) as introduced Feb. 10, 1983, pp. 2–3.) It explained that Civil Code section 846's “qualified immunity is [intended] to encourage landowners to make their land available to the general public for recreational purposes without risk of tort liability for permitting that use” and that “[t]his bill is patterned after Civil Code [s]ection 846.” (Assem. Com. on Judiciary, Analysis of Assem. Bill No. 555 (1983–1984 Reg. Sess.) as introduced Feb. 10, 1983, pp. 2, 3; see also Sen. Com. on Judiciary, Analysis of Assem. Bill No. 555 (1983–1984 Reg. Sess.) as amended May 27, 1983, p. 4 [“This bill is patterned after existing law which generally provides that a private owner of any interest in land owes no duty to keep the premises safe or to warn of dangerous conditions when people are permitted to use the land for recreation”].) [**389] [***306]

The Senate Committee on the Judiciary's analysis confirms that Government Code section 831.7 was designed to mirror Civil Code section 846's circumscription of property-based duties. Assembly Bill No. 555, “by providing a qualified immunity, would limit a public entity's duty to keep its land safe for certain recreational users.” (Sen. Com. on Judiciary, Analysis of Assem. Bill No. 555 (1983–1984 Reg. Sess.) as amended May 31, 1983, p. 7, italics added.) The bill's focus, the analysis explained, was on recreational users who might injure themselves during hazardous unsupervised activities and attempt to attribute their injuries to conditions of public property. “The primary purpose of [Assembly Bill No. 555] is to prevent the hang glider or rock climber from suing a public entity when that person injured himself in the course of the activity.” (Sen. Com. on Judiciary, Analysis of Assem. Bill No. 555 (1983–1984 Reg. Sess.) as amended May 27, 1983, p. 6.)

Thus, Government Code section 831.7 was adopted as a premises liability measure, modeled on Civil Code section 846, and designed to limit liability based on a public entity's failure either to maintain public property or to warn of dangerous conditions on public property. Nothing in the history of the measure indicates the statute was intended to limit a public entity's liability arising from other duties, such as any duty owed to supervise participation in [*158] particular activities. Consistent with the legislative history, those cases applying section 831.7 immunity generally have done so only in the context of injuries sustained during voluntary, unsupervised, unsponsored activities and have barred claims alleging breach of the duty to maintain property or to warn of unsafe conditions. (E.g., Wood v. County of San Joaquin (2003) 111 Cal.App.4th 960 [4 Cal. Rptr. 3d 340] [� 831.7 barred claim for injury sustained during unsupervised, unsponsored boating]; Yarber v. Oakland Unified School Dist. (1992) 4 Cal.App.4th 1516 [6 Cal. Rptr. 2d 437] [same for injury sustained during after-hours adult basketball game]; Tessier v. City of Newport Beach (1990) 219 Cal. App. 3d 310 [268 Cal. Rptr. 233] [same for injury sustained during unsupervised diving].)

CA(2)(2) Separate and apart from the body of law governing premises liability claims, another body of law establishes that public schools and universities owe certain non-property-based duties to their students. Public schools have a duty to supervise students (Ed. Code, � 44807; Hoyem v. Manhattan Beach City Sch. Dist. (1978) 22 Cal.3d 508, 513 [150 Cal. Rptr. 1, 585 P.2d 851]; Dailey v. Los Angeles Unified School Dist. (1970) 2 Cal.3d 741, 747 [87 Cal. Rptr. 376, 470 P.2d 360]), a duty that extends to athletic practice and play (see Leger v. Stockton Unified School Dist., supra, 202 Cal. App. 3d at pp. 1458–1459). Although with the demise of the in loco parentis doctrine, colleges and universities do not owe similarly broad duties of supervision to all their students (Stockinger v. Feather River Community College (2003) 111 Cal.App.4th 1014, 1031–1032 [4 Cal. Rptr. 3d 385]; Crow v. State of California (1990) 222 Cal. App. 3d 192, 209 [271 Cal. Rptr. 349]; Baldwin v. Zoradi (1981) 123 Cal. App. 3d 275, 287–291 [176 Cal. Rptr. 809]), that development has not limited the recognition that HN3Go to the description of this Headnote.colleges and universities owe special duties to their athletes when conducting athletic practices and games. 3


3 Fortier v. Los Rios Community College Dist. (1996) 45 Cal.App.4th 430, 435–436 [52 Cal. Rptr. 2d 812] (college instructor has duty not to increase risks inherent in participation in sport); Kleinknecht v. Gettysburg College (3d Cir. 1993) 989 F.2d 1360, 1372 (college owes duty to student-athlete to have timely medical care available); Stineman v. Fontbonne College (8th Cir. 1981) 664 F.2d 1082, 1086 (same); Davidson v. Univ. of N.C. at Chapel Hill (2001) 142 N.C. App. 544 [543 S.E.2d 920, 926–928] (university owes duty of care to members of school-sponsored intercollegiate team); see also Comment, Malpractice During Practice: Should NCAA Coaches Be Liable for Negligence? (2002) 22 Loyola L.A. Ent. L.Rev. 613, 625–635; Comment, Do Universities Have a Special Duty of Care to Protect Student-Athletes from Injury? (1999) 6 Vill. Sports & Ent. L.J. 219, 224–229; Comment, The Special Relationship Between Student-Athletes and Colleges: An Analysis of a Heightened Duty of Care for the Injuries of Student-Athletes (1996) 7 Marq. Sports L.J. 329, 338–342; Whang, Necessary Roughness: Imposing a Heightened Duty of Care on Colleges for Injuries of Student-Athletes (1995) 2 Sports Law. J. 25, 39–44 (hereafter Whang).
[**390] [***307]

As Acosta, supra, 31 Cal.App.4th 471, correctly notes, a tension exists between the immunity language of section 831.7, on the one hand, and the long-standing statutory and common law duties of student supervision schools [*159] have been recognized to have both before and after passage of section 831.7. Tension likewise exists between the legislative history of the statute, which establishes an intent focused exclusively on premises liability claims, and the language the Legislature chose to effectuate its purpose, which conceivably could be applied to a broader range of claims. (Acosta, at p. 476.) But, as in Acosta, we need not decide whether the immunity created by section 831.7 extends only to premises liability claims. We agree with Acosta and Iverson, supra, 32 Cal.App.4th 218, that these tensions can be resolved by acknowledging that school-sponsored and supervised sports activities are not “recreational” in the sense intended by the statute, and thus section 831.7 does not apply to immunize public educational entities from liability to students for injuries sustained during participation in such activities.

As noted, the legislative history demonstrates the Legislature had in mind immunizing public entities from liability arising from injuries sustained by members of the public during voluntary unsupervised play on public land, in order to prevent public entities from having to close off their land to such use to limit liability. Such activities may be fairly characterized as recreational. Sports in the school environment, in contrast, are not “recreational” in the sense of voluntary unsupervised play, but rather part and parcel of the school's educational mission. “It can no longer be denied that extracurricular activities constitute an integral component of public education.” (Hartzell v. Connell (1984) 35 Cal.3d 899, 909 [201 Cal. Rptr. 601, 679 P.2d 35].) “They are ‘[no] less fitted for the ultimate purpose of our public schools, to wit, the making of good citizens physically, mentally, and morally, than the study of algebra and Latin … .’ ” (Ibid., italics added.) Interscholastic athletics are a fundamental, integral part of public education. 4 Through high school, participation in physical education classes is mandatory. (Ed. Code, �� 51210, subd. (g), 51220, subd. (d), 51222; see also id., � 51210.2, subd. (a) [declaring physical fitness of equal importance with other elements of curriculum].) Likewise, “[c]ollege athletic programs have long been regarded as integral components of the college experience.” (Whang, supra, 2 Sports Law. J. at p. 25; see [***308] California State University, Hayward v. National Collegiate Athletic Assn. (1975) 47 Cal. App. 3d 533, 541–542 [121 Cal. Rptr. 85].) Intercollegiate athletics are part and parcel of community colleges' educational mission as well. (Cabrillo Community College Dist. v. California Junior College Assn. (1975) 44 Cal. App. 3d 367, 372–373 [118 Cal. Rptr. 708].) And, as discussed above, a separate body of law has developed to govern the special duties that schools and colleges owe their athletes.


4 See Brentwood Academy v. Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Assn. (2001) 531 U.S. 288, 299 [148 L. Ed. 2d 807, 121 S. Ct. 924]; City of Santa Cruz v. Santa Cruz City Schools Bd. of Ed. (1989) 210 Cal. App. 3d 1, 8–9 [258 Cal. Rptr. 101]; Kelley v. Metropolitan County Bd. of Ed. of Nashville, Etc. (M.D.Tenn. 1968) 293 F. Supp. 485, 493; Lee v. Macon County Board of Education (M.D.Ala. 1968) 283 F. Supp. 194, 197.

CA(3)(3) HN4Go to the description of this Headnote.The paramount goal of statutory interpretation is to “ascertain the intent of the drafters so as to effectuate the purpose of the law.” (Esberg v. Union Oil Co. (2002) 28 Cal.4th 262, 268 [121 Cal. Rptr. 2d 203, 47 P.3d 1069].) Nothing in the legislative history indicates the Legislature ever contemplated or intended that passage of section 831.7 would overrule the body of law governing supervisorial duties and liability in the school sports context. We agree with the Court of Appeal in Acosta, supra, 31 Cal.App.4th at page 478: In the absence of any indication of such a legislative intent, we will not read section 831.7 as immunizing public entities from potential liability arising out of their oversight of school-sponsored activities. CA(4)(4) Thus, we conclude that HN5Go to the description of this sports in general, and organized intercollegiate games in particular, are not “recreational” within the meaning of the statute. 5 [**391] Avila was injured while participating in an intercollegiate baseball game. Section 831.7 does not immunize the District from liability.


5 Taking the allegations of the complaint as true, it is clear Avila's injury occurred during a school-sponsored intercollegiate game that was supervised in part by Citrus College coaches. We need not define further the degree of school sponsorship necessary to render participation in a hazardous sport “nonrecreational.” Consequently, we have no occasion to question the conclusion that injuries sustained in unsupervised intramural or club matches may fall within the scope of section 831.7. (See Ochoa, supra, 72 Cal.App.4th at pp. 1307–1308 [holding injury from voluntary participation in intramural match subject to � 831.7 immunity].) However, to the extent Ochoa v. California State University, supra, 72 Cal.App.4th 1300, 1308, suggests section 831.7 always immunizes universities against liability for injuries sustained by their adult student-athletes, we disapprove it.

II. The Duty of Care Owed College Athletes

A. Primary Assumption of the Risk and the Duty Not to Increase Risks Inherent in a Sport

CA(5)(5) The District asserted as an alternate basis for demurrer that it owed Avila no duty of care. HN6Go to the description of this Headnote.To recover for negligence, Avila must demonstrate, inter alia, that the District breached a duty of care it owed him. Generally, each person has a duty to exercise reasonable care in the circumstances and is liable to those injured by the failure to do so. (Rowland v. Christian (1968) 69 Cal.2d 108, 112 [70 Cal. Rptr. 97, 443 P.2d 561].) By statute, the Legislature has extended this common law standard of tort liability to public employees (� 820, subd. (a); Hoff v. Vacaville Unified School Dist. (1998) 19 Cal.4th 925, 932 [80 Cal. Rptr. 2d 811, 968 P.2d 522]) and has extended liability for public employees' negligent acts to public entity defendants (� 815.2, subd. (a); Hoff, at p. 932).

CA(6)(6) HN7Go to the description of this Headnote.The existence of “ ‘ “[d]uty” is not an immutable fact of nature “ ‘but only an expression of the sum total of those considerations of policy which lead the law to say that the particular plaintiff is entitled to protection.’ ” ’ ” [*161] (Parsons v. Crown Disposal Co. (1997) 15 Cal.4th 456, 472 [63 Cal. Rptr. 2d 291, 936 P.2d 70].) Thus, the [***309] existence and scope of a defendant's duty is an issue of law, to be decided by a court not a jury. (Kahn v. East Side Union High School Dist. (2003) 31 Cal.4th 990, 1004 [4 Cal. Rptr. 3d 103, 75 P.3d 30].) When the injury is to a sporting participant, the considerations of policy and the question of duty necessarily become intertwined with the question of assumption of risk.

The traditional version of the assumption of risk doctrine required proof that the plaintiff voluntarily accepted a specific known and appreciated risk. (Prescott v. Ralph's Grocery Co. (1954) 42 Cal.2d 158, 161–162 [265 P.2d 904], citing Rest., Torts, � 893.) The doctrine depended on the actual subjective knowledge of the given plaintiff (Shahinian v. McCormick (1963) 59 Cal.2d 554, 567 [30 Cal. Rptr. 521, 381 P.2d 377]) and, where the elements were met, was an absolute defense to liability for injuries arising from the known risk (Quinn v. Recreation Park Assn. (1935) 3 Cal.2d 725, 731 [46 P.2d 144]).

CA(7)(7) California's abandonment of the doctrine of contributory negligence in favor of comparative negligence (Li v. Yellow Cab Co. (1975) 13 Cal.3d 804 [119 Cal. Rptr. 858, 532 P.2d 1226]) led to a reconceptualization of the assumption of risk. In Knight v. Jewett (1992) 3 Cal.4th 296 [11 Cal. Rptr. 2d 2, 834 P.2d 696] (Knight), a plurality of this court explained that there are in fact two species of assumption of risk: primary and secondary. (Id. at pp. 308–309 (plur. opn. of George, J.).) HN8Go to the description of this Headnote.Primary assumption of the risk arises when, as a matter of law and policy, a defendant owes no duty to protect a plaintiff from particular harms. (Ibid.) 6 Applied in the sporting context, it precludes liability for injuries arising from those risks deemed inherent in a sport; as a matter of law, others have no legal duty to eliminate those risks or otherwise protect a sports participant from them. (Id. at pp. 315–316.) [**392] Under this duty approach, a court need not ask what risks a particular plaintiff subjectively knew of and chose to encounter, but instead must evaluate the fundamental nature of the sport and the defendant's role in or relationship to that sport in order to determine whether the defendant owes a duty to protect a plaintiff from the particular risk of harm. (Id. at pp. 313, 315–317.) A majority of this court has since embraced the Knight approach. (Kahn v. East Side Union High School Dist., supra, 31 Cal.4th at pp. 1004–1005; Cheong v. Antablin (1997) 16 Cal.4th 1063, 1067–1068 [68 Cal. Rptr. 2d 859, 946 P.2d 817].)


6 Secondary assumption of the risk arises when the defendant still owes a duty of care, but the plaintiff knowingly encounters the risks attendant on the defendant's breach of that duty. (Knight, supra, 3 Cal.4th at p. 308.) We deal here with an issue of primary, not secondary, assumption of the risk.

CA(8)(8) Here, the host school's role is a mixed one: its players are coparticipants, its coaches and managers have supervisorial authority over the conduct [*162] of the game, and other representatives of the school are responsible for the condition of the playing facility. We have previously established that HN9Go to the description of this Headnote.coparticipants have a duty not to act recklessly, outside the bounds of the sport (Knight, supra, 3 Cal.4th at pp. 318–321), and coaches and instructors have a duty not to increase the risks inherent in sports participation (Kahn v. East Side Union High School Dist., supra, 31 Cal.4th at pp. 1005–1006); we also have noted in dicta that those responsible for maintaining athletic facilities have [***310] a similar duty not to increase the inherent risks, albeit in the context of businesses selling recreational opportunities (Parsons v. Crown Disposal Co., supra, 15 Cal.4th at p. 482 [collecting cases]). In contrast, those with no relation to the sport have no such duty. (Id. at pp. 482–483 [garbage truck operator has no duty not to increase risks inherent in horseback riding].)

CA(9)(9) In interscholastic and intercollegiate competition, the host school is not a disinterested, uninvolved party vis-�-vis the athletes it invites to compete on its grounds. Without a visiting team, there can be no competition. Intercollegiate competition allows a school to, on the smallest scale, offer its students the benefits of athletic participation and, on the largest scale, reap the economic and marketing benefits that derive from maintenance of a major sports program. 7 These benefits justify removing a host school from the broad class of those with no connection to a sporting contest and no duty to the participants. In light of those benefits, we hold thatHN10Go to the description of this Headnote. in interscholastic and intercollegiate competition, the host school and its agents owe a duty to home and visiting players alike to, at a minimum, not increase the risks inherent in the sport. Schools and universities are already vicariously liable for breaches by the coaches they employ, who owe a duty to their own athletes not to increase the risks of sports participation. (Kahn v. East Side Union High School Dist., supra, 31 Cal.4th at pp. 1005–1006.) No reason appears to conclude intercollegiate athletics will be harmed by making visiting players, necessary coparticipants in any game, additional beneficiaries of the limited duty not to increase the risks of participation. Thus, we disagree with the Court of Appeal dissent, which argued that the District is little more than a passive provider of facilities and therefore should have no obligation to visiting players.


7 These benefits may include enhanced recruitment of athletes and other students, increased alumni donations, and revenue from the sale of broadcasting rights. (See Note, Taking One for the Team: Davidson v. University of North Carolina and the Duty of Care Owed by Universities to Their Student-Athletes (2002) 37 Wake Forest L.Rev. 589, 589–590, 605–606; Whang, supra, 2 Sports Law. J. at pp. 26–27, 40–42.)

The District relies on cases establishing that colleges and universities owe no general duty to their students to ensure their welfare. (Crow v. State of California, supra, 222 Cal. App. 3d at p. 209; Baldwin v. Zoradi, supra, 123 Cal. App. 3d at pp. 287–291.) We have no quarrel with these cases. Nor do we [*163] have occasion to decide what duties a college or university might owe in the context of intracollegiate competition, as with the intramural competition at issue in Ochoa, supra, 72 Cal.App.4th 1300, also relied upon by the District. The duty of a host school to its own and visiting players in school-supervised athletic events is an exception [**393] to the general absence of duty, an exception plainly warranted by the relationship of the host school to all the student participants in the competitions it sponsors.

B. Application

We consider next whether Avila has alleged facts supporting breach of the duty not to enhance the inherent risks of his sport. Though it numbers them differently, Avila's complaint in essence alleges four ways in which the District breached a duty to Avila by: (1) conducting the game at all; (2) failing to control the Citrus College pitcher; (3) failing to [***311] provide umpires to supervise and control the game; and (4) failing to provide medical care. 8 The District's demurrer was properly sustained if, and only if, each of these alleged breaches, assumed to be true, falls outside any duty owed by the District and within the inherent risks of the sport assumed by Avila.


8 Avila abandoned at oral argument a fifth theory, that the District breached a duty to him by providing faulty equipment, counsel stating he had learned through discovery that the District had not furnished the allegedly defective batting helmet. We take a dim view of counsel's decision to wait until oral argument to apprise this court that a claim is being abandoned. When counsel learns of new facts that cause him to abandon a claim, the proper course is promptly to advise opposing counsel and the court.

With respect to the first of these, conducting the game, Avila cites unspecified “community college baseball rules” prohibiting preseason games. But the only consequence of the District's hosting the game was that it exposed Avila, who chose to participate, to the ordinary inherent risks of the sport of baseball. Nothing about the bare fact of the District's hosting the game enhanced those ordinary risks, so its doing so, whether or not in violation of the alleged rules, does not constitute a breach of its duty not to enhance the ordinary risks of baseball. Nor did the District owe any separate duty to Avila not to host the game.

The second alleged breach, the failure to supervise and control the Citrus College pitcher, is barred by primary assumption of the risk. Being hit by a pitch is an inherent risk of baseball. (Balthazor v. Little League Baseball, Inc. (1998) 62 Cal.App.4th 47, 51–52 [72 Cal. Rptr. 2d 337]; see also Mann v. Nutrilite, Inc. (1955) 136 Cal. App. 2d 729, 734 [289 P.2d 282] [same regarding being hit by thrown ball].) The dangers of being hit by a pitch, often thrown at [*164] speeds approaching 100 miles per hour, are apparent and well known: being hit can result in serious injury or, on rare tragic occasions, death. 9


9 Most famously, in August 1920, Cleveland Indians shortstop Roy Chapman was hit by a pitch from the New York Yankees' Carl Mays. He died the next day. (Sowell, The Pitch that Killed (1989) pp. 165–190; James, The Bill James Baseball Abstract (1985) pp. 131, 137.) At least seven other batters in organized baseball have been killed by pitches. (James, at pp. 131, 137.)

Being intentionally hit is likewise an inherent risk of the sport, so accepted by custom that a pitch intentionally thrown at a batter has its own terminology: “brushback,” “beanball,” “chin music.” In turn, those pitchers notorious for throwing at hitters are “headhunters.” Pitchers intentionally throw at batters to disrupt a batter's timing or back him away from home plate, to retaliate after a teammate has been hit, or to punish a batter for having hit a home run. (See, e.g., Kahn, The Head Game (2000) pp. 205–239.) Some of the most respected baseball managers and pitchers have openly discussed the fundamental place throwing at batters has in their sport. In George Will's study of the game, Men at Work, one-time Oakland Athletics and current St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa details the strategic importance of ordering selective intentional throwing at opposing batters, principally to retaliate for one's own players being hit. (Will, Men at Work (1990) pp. 61–64.) As Los Angeles Dodgers Hall of Fame pitcher Don Drysdale and New York Giants All Star pitcher Sal “The Barber” Maglie have explained, intentionally throwing at batters can also be an integral part of pitching tactics, a tool to help get batters out by upsetting their frame of [***312] mind. 10 Drysdale and Maglie are [**394] not alone; past and future Hall of Famers, from Early Wynn and Bob Gibson to Pedro Martinez and Roger Clemens, have relied on the actual or threatened willingness to throw at batters to aid their pitching. (See, e.g., Kahn, The Head Game, at pp. 223–224; Yankees Aced by Red Sox, L.A. Times (May 31, 2001) p. D7 [relating Martinez's assertion that he would even throw at Babe Ruth].)


10 Kahn, The Head Game, supra, at pages 211–212, 232–235. As Maglie explained the strategy: “ ‘You have to make the batter afraid of the ball or, anyway, aware that he can get hurt … . A good time is when the count is two [balls] and two [strikes]. He's looking to swing. You knock him down then and he gets up shaking. Now [throw a] curve [to] him and you have your out.’ ” (Id. at p. 211.) Maglie's nickname is attributed to his propensity for shaving batters' chins with his pitches. (Ibid.) Similarly for Drysdale: “ ‘[T]he knockdown pitch upsets a hitter's timing, like a change-up. It's not a weapon. It's a tactic.’ ” (Id. at p. 235.)

While these examples relate principally to professional baseball, “[t]here is nothing legally significant … about the level of play” in this case. (West v. Sundown Little League of Stockton, Inc. (2002) 96 Cal.App.4th 351, 359–360 [116 Cal. Rptr. 2d 849]; see Balthazor v. Little League Baseball, Inc., supra, 62 Cal.App.4th at pp. 51–52; Mann v. Nutrilite, Inc., supra, 136 Cal. App. 2d at p. 734.) The laws of physics that make a thrown baseball dangerous and the [*165] strategic benefits that arise from disrupting a batter's timing are only minimally dependent on the skill level of the participants, and we see no reason to distinguish between collegiate and professional baseball in applying primary assumption of the risk.

It is true that intentionally throwing at a batter is forbidden by the rules of baseball. (See, e.g., Off. Rules of Major League Baseball, rule 8.02(d); Nat. Collegiate Athletic Assn., 2006 NCAA Baseball Rules (Dec. 2005) rule 5, � 16(d), p. 62.) But “even when a participant's conduct violates a rule of the game and may subject the violator to internal sanctions prescribed by the sport itself, imposition of legal liability for such conduct might well alter fundamentally the nature of the sport by deterring participants from vigorously engaging in activity that falls close to, but on the permissible side of, a prescribed rule.” (Knight, supra, 3 Cal.4th at pp. 318–319.) It is one thing for an umpire to punish a pitcher who hits a batter by ejecting him from the game, or for a league to suspend the pitcher; it is quite another for tort law to chill any pitcher from throwing inside, i.e., close to the batter's body—a permissible and essential part of the sport—for fear of a suit over an errant pitch. For better or worse, being intentionally thrown at is a fundamental part and inherent risk of the sport of baseball. 11 It is not the function of tort law to police such conduct.


11 The conclusion that being intentionally hit by a pitch is an inherent risk of baseball extends only to situations such as that alleged here, where the hit batter is at the plate. Allegations that a pitcher intentionally hit a batter who was still in the on deck circle, or elsewhere, would present an entirely different scenario. (See Note, Dollar Signs on the Muscle … and the Ligament, Tendon, and Ulnar Nerve: Institutional Liability Arising from Injuries to Student-Athletes (2001) 3 Va. J. Sports & L. 80, 80, 111–112 [recounting the notorious 1999 incident in which Wichita State University pitcher Ben Christensen hit University of Evansville second baseman Anthony Molina with a pitch while Molina was still in the on deck circle].)

CA(10)(10) In Knight, supra, 3 Cal.4th at page 320, we acknowledged that an athlete does not assume the risk of a coparticipant's intentional [***313] or reckless conduct “totally outside the range of the ordinary activity involved in the sport.” Here, even if the Citrus College pitcher intentionally threw at Avila, his conduct did not fall outside the range of ordinary activity involved in the sport. The District owed no duty to Avila to prevent the Citrus College pitcher from hitting batters, even intentionally. Consequently, the doctrine of primary assumption of the risk bars any claim predicated on the allegation that the Citrus College pitcher negligently or intentionally threw at Avila. 12


12 The dissent takes issue with our deciding this question. (Conc. & dis. opn., post, at pp. 171–173.) Notwithstanding the official condemnation we and the dissent cite, pitchers have been throwing at batters for the better part of baseball's century-plus history. The taking of judicial notice of such matters is not reserved to trial courts, but lies within the power of every court. (Evid. Code, � 459.) To ignore this history in favor of reversal and remand would do nothing to enhance respect for the trial and appellate courts' respective roles. Similarly, a declaration of the scope of a defendant's duty is a statement of law. (Kahn v. East Side Union High School Dist., supra, 31 Cal.4th at p. 1004.) HN11Go to the description of this Headnote.Where, as here, the pleadings and matters subject to judicial notice establish the defendant owed the plaintiff no duty, a case may properly be disposed of on demurrer, without further waste of judicial resources.
[*166] [**395]

CA(11)(11) The dissent suggests primary assumption of the risk should not extend to an intentional tort such as battery and that Avila should have been granted leave to amend to allege a proper battery claim. (Conc. & dis. opn. post, at pp. 171, 173.) Amendment would have been futile. HN12Go to the description of this Headnote.Absence of consent is an element of battery. (Barouh v. Haberman (1994) 26 Cal.App.4th 40, 45–46 [31 Cal. Rptr. 2d 259].) “One who enters into a sport, game or contest may be taken to consent to physical contacts consistent with the understood rules of the game.” (Prosser & Keeton, Torts (5th ed. 1984) � 18, p. 114; see also Knight, supra, 3 Cal.4th at p. 311 [“It may be accurate to suggest that an individual who voluntarily engages in a potentially dangerous activity or sport ‘consents to’ or ‘agrees to assume’ the risks inherent in the activity”]; Ritchie-Gamester v. City of Berkley (Mich. 1999) 461 Mich. 73 [597 N.W.2d 517, 523] [“The act of stepping onto the field may be described as ‘consent to the inherent risks of the activity’ ”].) Thus, the boxer who steps into the ring consents to his opponent's jabs; the football player who steps onto the gridiron consents to his opponent's hard tackle; the hockey goalie who takes the ice consents to face his opponent's slapshots; and, here, the baseball player who steps to the plate consents to the possibility the opposing pitcher may throw near or at him. The complaint establishes Avila voluntarily participated in the baseball game; as such, his consent would bar any battery claim as a matter of law.

The third way in which Avila alleges the District breached its duty of care, by failing to provide umpires, likewise did not increase the risks inherent in the game. Baseball may be played with umpires, as between professionals at the World Series, or without, as between children in the sandlot. Avila argues that providing umpires would have made the game safer, because an umpire might have issued a warning and threatened ejections after the first batter was hit. Whatever the likelihood of this happening and the difficulty of showing causation, the argument overlooks a key point. The District owed “a duty not to increase the risks inherent in the sport, not a duty to decrease the risks.” (Balthazor v. Little [***314] League Baseball, Inc., supra, 62 Cal.App.4th at p. 52; accord, West v. Sundown Little League of Stockton, Inc., supra, 96 Cal.App.4th at p. 359.) While the provision of umpires might—might—have reduced the risk of a retaliatory beanball, Avila has alleged no facts supporting imposition of a duty on the District to reduce that risk.

Finally, Avila alleges that the District breached a duty to him by failing to provide medical care after he was injured. Relying on Brooks v. E. J. Willig Truck Transp. Co. (1953) 40 Cal.2d 669 [255 P.2d 802] (Brooks), he argues [*167] that because the District placed him in peril through the actions of the Citrus College pitcher, it had a duty to ensure he received medical attention.

CA(12)(12) In some circumstances, the common law imposes a duty on those who injure others to mitigate the resulting harm. Under the Restatement Second of Torts, section 322, HN13Go to the description of this actor who “knows or has reason to know that by his conduct, whether tortious or innocent, he has caused such bodily harm to another as to make him helpless and in danger of further harm … is under a duty to exercise reasonable care to prevent such further harm.” (Boldface omitted.) In Brooks, we recognized and applied this principle, holding in the context of a hit-and-run death that “[o]ne who negligently injures another and renders him helpless is bound to use reasonable care to prevent any further harm which the actor realizes or should realize threatens the injured person.” (Brooks, supra, 40 Cal.2d at pp. 678–679.)

CA(13)(13) Avila's proposed extension of Brooks to this case encounters at least three main difficulties. First, Avila has not alleged a [**396] basis on which to conclude the District caused his injury. HN14Go to the description of this Headnote.Universities ordinarily are not vicariously liable for the actions of their student-athletes during competition. (Townsend v. State of California (1987) 191 Cal. App. 3d 1530, 1536–1537 [237 Cal. Rptr. 146] [university not vicariously liable for actions of its basketball player]; see also Fox v. Bd. of Sup'rs of La. State Univ. (La. 1991) 576 So. 2d 978, 982–983 [no vicarious liability for actions of rugby club]; Kavanagh v. Trustees of Boston University (2003) 440 Mass. 195 [795 N.E.2d 1170, 1174–1176] [no vicarious liability for actions of basketball player]; Hanson v. Kynast (1986) 24 Ohio St. 3d 171 [24 Ohio B. 403, 494 N.E.2d 1091, 1096] [no vicarious liability for actions of lacrosse player].) While Avila argues the District should be responsible for the Citrus College pitcher's conduct if the Citrus College coaches ordered or condoned a retaliatory pitch, the complaint notably lacks any allegation they did so.

Second, even if Avila might have amended his complaint to add such an allegation, Brooks and the common law duty it recognizes are confined to situations where the injured party is helpless. The complaint establishes that Avila was able to make it to first and then second base under his own power, and was able to alert his own first base coach to his condition. These allegations cast serious doubt on whether Avila was sufficiently helpless so as to warrant imposing a Brooks/Restatement Second of Torts, section 322-type duty on the District.

Third, even if we were to impose a duty, the face of the complaint establishes that Avila's own Rio Hondo coaches and trainers were present. They, not Citrus College's coaches, had exclusive authority to determine whether Avila needed to be removed from the game for a pinch runner [***315] in [*168] order to receive medical attention. 13 Likewise, to the extent Avila argues a Citrus-College-provided umpire could have insisted Avila receive medical treatment, there is no basis for concluding a home team umpire would have been authorized to overrule the medical judgments of Rio Hondo's trainers. Thus, even if the District were responsible for causing Avila's injury, at most it would have had a duty to ensure that Avila's coaches and trainers were aware he had been injured so they could decide how best to attend to him. The complaint indicates Avila alerted his own first base coach to how he was feeling, and when he arrived at second base, a Citrus College player, recognizing Avila was injured, alerted the Rio Hondo bench, at which point Rio Hondo removed Avila from the game. If the District had a duty, it satisfied that duty. In the possibly apocryphal words of New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra, “It ain't over till it's over,” but this means that for Avila's complaint against Citrus College, it's over.


13 Any departure from this rule would lead to chaos, as teams asserted a legal duty to remove their opponents' “injured” star players from competition in order to evaluate them and provide any necessary medical care.


For the foregoing reasons, we reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeal.

George, C. J., Baxter, J., Chin, J., Moreno, J., and Corrigan, J., concurred.



KENNARD, J., Concurring and Dissenting.—I concur in part I of the majority opinion. There, the majority correctly holds that the statutory immunity conferred on public entities for an injury occurring during a “hazardous recreational activity” (Gov. Code, � 831.7) does not apply to injuries in intercollegiate baseball games.

I do not, however, join part II of the majority opinion. There, the majority holds that a baseball pitcher owes no duty to refrain from intentionally throwing a baseball at an opposing player's head. This is a startling conclusion. It is contrary to the official view in the sport that such conduct “should be—and is—condemned by everybody.” (Off. Rules of Major League Baseball, rule 8.02(d), off. coms.)

Central to the majority's holding is its reliance on the legal rule that there is no duty to avoid risks “inherent” in a recreational [**397] sport. 1 This rule had its inception in this court's plurality opinion in Knight v. Jewett (1992) 3 Cal.4th 296 [11 Cal. Rptr. 2d 2, 834 P.2d 696], and it was later embraced by a majority of this court in Kahn v. East Side Union High School Dist. (2003) 31 Cal.4th 990 [4 Cal. Rptr. 3d 103, 75 P.3d 30]. Unlike good wine, this rule has not [*169] improved with age. I have repeatedly voiced my disagreement with this court's adoption of that rule, which is “tearing at the fabric of tort law” (Cheong v. Antablin (1997) 16 Cal.4th 1063, 1075 [68 Cal. Rptr. 2d 859, 946 P.2d 817] (conc. opn. of Kennard, J.); see also Kahn v. East Side Union High School Dist., supra, 31 Cal.4th at pp. 1021–1022 (conc. & dis. opn. of Kennard, J.)), because it “distort[s] the negligence concept of due care to encompass reckless and intentional conduct.” (Cheong, supra, at p. 1075 (conc. opn. of Kennard, J.).) Moreover, because the question of what is “inherent” in a sport is amorphous and fact-intensive, it is impossible for trial courts “to discern, at an early stage in the proceedings, which risks are inherent in a [***316] given sport.” (Knight v. Jewett, supra, 3 Cal.4th at p. 337 (dis. opn. of Kennard, J.).) As explained below, this case illustrates that the no-duty-for-sports rule is unworkable and unfair. 2


1 In this opinion, I frequently refer to that rule as the no-duty-for-sports rule.

2 Similar criticisms have appeared in scholarly journals. (See, e.g., Comment, Looking Beyond the Name of the Game: A Framework for Analyzing Recreational Sports Injury Cases (2001) 34 U.C. Davis L.Rev. 1029, 1057 [“The Knight decision sets an unreasonable standard of care for recreational sports injury cases that violates public policy.”]; Fore! American Golf Corporation v. Superior Court: The Continued Uneven Application of California's Flawed Doctrine of Assumption of Risk (2001) 29 Western St. U. L.Rev. 125, 145–146 [“Knight's vague guidelines regarding duty analysis” are “a flawed conceptualization of the doctrine of assumption of risk” that have “produced uneven results.”]; Sugarman, Judges as Tort Law Un-Makers: Recent California Experience with “New” Torts (1999) 49 DePaul L.Rev. 455, 485 [expressing “disagreement with the policy judgment that recreational injuries are an appropriate place for such a ‘no duty’ rule.”].)


Citrus Community College hosted a team from Rio Hondo Community College to compete in a baseball game. (Both schools are located in Southern California.) Because this was a preseason practice game, there was no umpire. Shortly after the Rio Hondo pitcher hit a Citrus player with a pitched ball, the Citrus pitcher, allegedly in retaliation, hit Rio Hondo player Jose Luis Avila in the head with a pitch. Avila suffered unspecified injuries.

Avila sued the Citrus Community College District (the District) and other parties not relevant here, alleging causes of action for general negligence, premises liability, products liability, and intentional tort. As pertinent here, Avila asserted the District was liable for (1) conducting an illegal preseason game in violation of community college rules, (2) failing to supervise and control the Citrus pitcher, (3) failing to provide umpires or other supervisory personnel to prevent reckless and retaliatory pitching, and (4) failing to summon medical care after Avila was hurt. 3


3 Avila's complaint actually listed eight separate allegations, but the majority has consolidated and renumbered the allegations. (Maj. opn., ante, at p. 163.) For the sake of clarity, I have adopted the majority's numbering system.

The District demurred. Curiously, it made no mention of the no-duty-for-sports rule. Rather, the District asserted that it was not liable under Government Code section 831.7, which immunizes public entities from liability for an injury occurring during a “hazardous recreational activity,” and that plaintiff Avila could not assert a claim for premises liability because he had not alleged that the conditions of the baseball field played any role in the injury. The trial court sustained the District's demurrer without granting Avila leave to amend his initial complaint, but the Court of Appeal reversed. This court granted the District's petition for review.


The first, third, and fourth of the legal theories alleged in Avila's complaint can be disposed of without resort to the no-duty-for-sports rule. [**398]

Avila's first theory of liability (that the District conducted an illegal preseason game) fails because, as the majority explains, the District did not breach any duty to Avila by conducting the game, irrespective of whether community college rules permitted it to be played. Avila's third theory (that the District failed to provide umpires) must be rejected because baseball games are often played without umpires, and there is no reason to impose on [***317] community colleges a duty to provide them. (See generally Rowland v. Christian (1968) 69 Cal.2d 108 [70 Cal. Rptr. 97, 443 P.2d 561].) And Avila's fourth theory (that the District failed to provide medical care) fails because, as the majority points out, the District had no duty to provide medical care when Avila's team came equipped with its own trainers, who were present to treat his injuries.

Avila's second theory of liability (that the District failed to supervise and control the Citrus pitcher) presents a more difficult question. As the majority notes, colleges “ordinarily are not vicariously liable for the actions of their student-athletes during competition.” (Maj. opn., ante, at p. 167.) Although Avila now argues that the District would be liable if its coaches ordered or allowed a retaliatory pitch aimed at Avila's head, his complaint does not expressly allege that they did so. Thus, his failure to do so justifies the trial court's decision to sustain the District's demurrer. But the trial court should have given Avila at least one opportunity to amend his original complaint to include such an allegation. (See generally 5 Witkin, Cal. Procedure (4th ed. 1997) Pleading, � 944, p. 402 [“An amendment should be allowed where the defect, though one of substance, may possibly be cured by supplying omitted allegations, and the plaintiff has not had a fair opportunity to do so, as where the demurrer was sustained to his first complaint.”].) [*171]

The majority, however, upholds the trial court's sustaining of the District's demurrer without leave to amend. Relying on the no-duty-for-sports rule, the majority, in essence, concludes that even if the District's coaches had ordered the Citrus pitcher to hit Avila in the head with a pitched ball, the District is not liable for Avila's injuries because the risk that a batter will be injured by a pitch intentionally thrown at his head is “an inherent risk of the sport.” (Maj. opn., ante, at p. 164.) According to the majority, “[s]ome of the most respected baseball managers and pitchers have openly discussed the fundamental place [that] throwing at batters has in their sport.” (Ibid.) The majority acknowledges that those comments were made in the context of professional baseball. The majority then proceeds to hold that throwing at batters is a risk as inherent in college baseball as it is in professional baseball. My concerns are threefold.

First, the determination whether being hit by a pitched ball intentionally aimed at one's head is an inherent risk of baseball, whether professional or intercollegiate, is a question of fact to be determined in the trial court. “It has long been the general rule and understanding that ‘an appeal reviews the correctness of a judgment as of the time of its rendition, upon a record of matters which were before the trial court for its consideration.’ [Citation.] This rule reflects an ?essential distinction between the trial and the appellate court … that it is the province of the trial court to decide questions of fact and of the appellate court to decide questions of law . …’ ” (In re Zeth S. (2003) 31 Cal.4th 396, 405 [2 Cal. Rptr. 3d 683, 73 P.3d 541], italics added.) Here, the trial court never heard, and thus never considered, the comments from professional baseball managers and pitchers on which the majority relies; indeed, not only did the District offer no evidence on this issue, but the District did not even argue that Avila's complaint was barred by the no-duty-for-sports rule. Undeterred, the majority has done its own research and made its own factual findings on this issue, thus invading the province of the trial court.

[***318] I recognize that this court must take judicial notice of “[f]acts and propositions of generalized knowledge that are so universally known that they cannot reasonably be the subject of dispute.” (Evid. Code, � 451, subd. (f); see also Evid. Code, � 452, subd. (h) [court may take judicial notice of “[f]acts and [**399] propositions that are not reasonably subject to dispute and are capable of immediate and accurate determination by resort to sources of reasonably indisputable accuracy.”].) But the majority's assertion that intentionally throwing a ball at a batter's head is inherent in intercollegiate baseball is not a fact so “universally known” that it “cannot reasonably be the subject of dispute.” (Evid. Code, � 451, subd. (f).) [*172]

Had Avila been given the opportunity in the trial court, he might well have called expert witnesses who could have refuted the majority's factual determination that aiming at a batter's head is inherent in professional baseball. And he could have pointed to the official comments accompanying Major League Baseball's rule 8.02(d), which prohibits pitchers from trying to hit the batter: “To pitch at a batter's head is unsportsmanlike and highly dangerous. It should be—and is—condemned by everybody. Umpires should act without hesitation in enforcement of this rule.” (Off. Rules of Major League Baseball, rule 8.02(d), off. coms.)

Alternatively, Avila could have called expert witnesses to refute the majority's finding, which is unsupported by any citation of authority, that the conduct in question is as inherent in intercollegiate baseball as it is in professional baseball. And he could have pointed out that, unlike the rules of professional baseball, the rules of the National Collegiate Athletic Association provide that a pitcher who intentionally throws at a batter is not only ejected from the game in which the pitch was thrown, but is also suspended for the team's next four games, and a pitcher who intentionally throws at a batter on three occasions must be suspended for the remainder of the season. (Nat. Collegiate Athletic Assn., NCAA Baseball Rules (Dec. 2005) rule 5, � 16(d).)

I turn to my second concern. This matter is here after an appeal from the trial court's order sustaining a demurrer. A demurrer “tests the pleading alone, and … lies only where the defects appear on the face of the pleading.” (5 Witkin, Cal. Procedure, supra, Pleading, � 900, p. 358.) It raises only questions of law. (Id. at p. 357.) But by relying on the no-duty-for-sports rule to hold that the District's demurrer was properly sustained, the majority imposes on trial courts the obligation to decide—in ruling on a demurrer—a question of fact: that is, whether a particular sports injury arises from an activity inherent in the game. Questions of fact cannot be decided on demurrer, however; they must be decided on summary judgment or at trial. Thus, the no-duty-for-sports rule is unworkable because it forces trial courts to decide questions of fact at the demurrer stage when the only method available to them is suitable only for deciding questions of law.

My third concern is that the majority's application of the no-duty-for-sports rule to include pitches intentionally thrown at a batter's head is an ill-conceived expansion of that rule into intentional torts. In Knight, the plaintiff alleged only that the defendant acted negligently (Knight v. Jewett, supra, 3 Cal.4th at p. 318), and the plurality there justified the no-duty-for-sports rule with the comment that a baseball player should not be held liable “for an [*173] injury resulting from a carelessly thrown ball or bat during a baseball game” (ibid., italics added). Here, however, the majority applies [***319] that rule to hold that the trial court properly sustained the District's demurrer to Avila's cause of action alleging an intentional tort, in which he alleged that the pitch that hit him “was thrown in a deliberate retaliatory fashion, with reckless disregard for the safety of plaintiff.” Even if I were to accept the majority's misguided no-duty-for-sports rule, I would apply it only to causes of action for negligence, not for intentional torts.

I would analyze Avila's claim under the traditional doctrine of assumption of risk. Under that doctrine, the pertinent inquiry is not what risk is inherent in a particular sport; rather, it is what risk the plaintiff consciously and voluntarily assumed. That issue, as I explained earlier, is not one involving a duty of care owed to another, to be resolved on demurrer; rather, it is an affirmative defense, to be resolved on summary judgment or at trial.

Under traditional assumption-of-risk analysis, “sports participants owe each other a duty to refrain from unreasonably risky conduct [**400] that may cause harm.” (Comment, Looking Beyond the Name of the Game: A Framework for Analyzing Recreational Sports Injury Cases, supra, 34 U.C. Davis L.Rev. at p. 1060.) Intentionally hitting another person in the head with a hard object thrown at a high speed is highly dangerous and is potentially tortious, no matter whether the object is a ball thrown on a baseball field or is a rock thrown on a city street. Thus, if the District here was complicit in a decision by the pitcher to hit Avila in the head with the baseball, it may be held liable for Avila's injuries if Avila did not assume the risk that the pitcher would hit him in this manner. But, as I explained earlier, Avila has thus far not alleged that coaches employed by the District either advised or condoned any such act. Thus, the trial court properly sustained the District's demurrer; but Avila should be given leave to amend his original complaint to allege that the District was legally responsible for the pitcher's decision to aim the baseball at Avila's head.

If Avila were to amend his complaint to allege the District's complicity in the pitcher's decision to hit him in the head with the baseball, the District should be permitted to deny liability on the ground that Avila assumed the risk of an intentional hit in the head during the game: that is, he “voluntarily accepted [that] risk with knowledge and appreciation of that risk.” (Knight v. Jewett, supra, 3 Cal.4th at p. 326 (dis. opn. of Kennard, J.).) Whether Avila assumed that risk is a question of fact that has no bearing on the District's duty of care toward Avila. Therefore, it cannot be decided on demurrer, but should be decided on a motion for summary judgment or at trial. [*174]

I would remand the matter to the Court of Appeal, and have that court direct the trial court to sustain Avila's demurrer with leave to amend the original complaint.