One of the stranger aspects of the Sotomayor confirmation hearings is that I will be testifying on the same panel as former major league baseball pitcher David Cone. Cone spent six years with Judge Sotomayor’s beloved New York Yankees, and he will be testifying about how her confirmation will serve the nefarious interests of baseball’s Evil Empire. No, just kidding! I assume he will actually be testifying in praise of Sotomayor’s 1995 decision, as a district judge, to end the baseball strike on terms favorable to the players. Cone was for years a prominent figure in the MLBPA, the major league player’s union that was the winning party in the 1995 litigation.
Even some conservatives have criticized the Republicans’ decision to invite firefighter Frank Ricci to testify against Sotomayor, arguing that former litigants don’t have any legal expertise to contribute, and are merely there to make dubious emotional appeals. Cone’s testimony, on the other hand, is a case of a victorious litigant being invited to testify on behalf of a judge who ruled in his favor. Whether he contributes more or better legal insights than Frank Ricci remains to be seen.
I for one am happy that Cone will be there, since I am a huge baseball fan and it will be my first ever chance to meet an all star player. In addition to pitching for the Yankees, Mets, and Royals, Cone also spent a year with my favorite team, the Red Sox, at the ripe old age of 38. Although I vaguely remember him as being ineffective that year, the data show that he actually posted a 9-7 record and an ERA 5% better than league average.