Simon Says

Simon SaysSimon Says

NPR's Scott Simon Shares His Take On Events Large And Small


Last Tuesday night, President Obama took the mound in a Chicago White Sox jacket in St. Louis to throw out the first pitch at the All-Star game. The lanky southpaw from the South Side threw a dying quail of a pitch that reminded fans: He's a great basketball player.

But presidents can inspire and on Thursday, Mark Buehrle of the White Sox, who shook hands with President Obama, threw a perfect game: a no-hits, no-walks, no-errors, 5-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.

This tied the White Sox with the Detroit Tigers for the first place in the American League Central Division. The president's team is in a pennant race. The president doesn't have to stay just on the sidelines. In Chicago, politics isn't just a chance to do good, but to do some good for your friends.

So this week, I wondered if the president could declare that it's a matter of national security for the White Sox to acquire another good starting pitcher for their pennant run.

I got a bracing bit of analysis from Lior Strahilevitz of the - it may surprise you, or not surprise you to learn — University of Chicago Law School, who says the Supreme Court's 2005 Kelo decision upholds the right of cities to invoke eminent domain to transfer property, which, no matter how much money they make, baseball players are to stimulate economic development.

Professor LIOR STRAHILEVITZ (University of Chicago Law School): Under the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution, it's not impermissible for the government to try and say, transfer land from a Motel 6 to owners who want to build a Ritz-Carlton on it. And you could imagine taking the contract of a really gifted player from a last-place baseball team to a first-place team, like the White Sox, as fitting within the same paradigm.

SIMON: Could you give us a for instance, for example?

Prof. STRAHILEVITZ: I think you could make an argument that a really gifted pitcher, Zach Greinke, toiling in front of only a few thousand fans in Kansas City, would acquire a lot more attention, many more fans, and frankly boost the economy on the South Side if he could be thrown into the midst of a pennant race.

SIMON: Of course, someone like Professor Alan Dershowitz — rather famously a Red Sox fan — and his colleagues at the Harvard Law School could file some spurious objection. But Lior Strahilevitz points out the Red Sox are in the American League East. Harvard would have no legal standing.

Prof. STRAHILEVITZ: I mean, I think as we've discussed it so far, we're really confining ourselves to the American League Central Division, so I think I would tell my colleagues at that terrific law school to, you know, mind their own business.

SIMON: Alan Dershowitz?

Unidentified Man: Here comes the pitch.

(Soundbite of song, "Go Go Sox")

Mr. PAUL MALL (Singer): (Singing) Come with me to South Side of Chicago. It's where the Sox play. Come out, come out, come out today. Those Sox won't let you down.

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Simon Says

Simon SaysSimon Says

NPR's Scott Simon Shares His Take On Events Large And Small