How to Feed a Lawyer (and Other Irreverent Observations from the Legal Underground)

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It *might* be the baseball analogy run amok, but the baseball example itself manifests a certain perception that three chances may be fair. Which is certainly tenable:

The first strike might have been an accident. A bad pitch call, a law suit misconstrued as frivolous, etc. So it wouldn't be fair to punish someone for that.

The second strike is more serious. It is likely that at least one of these two actions (bad swings, bad lawsuits) was truly bad. But, it's not fair to punish without a warning, so consider this second strike designation a warning.

By the third strike you've certainly had adequate warning. So NOW you get punished.

This is not to say, of course, that I buy into the whole lawsuit = bad behavior thing. I make no comment on that. But I can understand why generally "three strikes" might be a reasonable number of chances to have before there being a negative consequence for sanctionable activity.


A friend of mine who was an anthropology student said that in our culture, three is a "magic" number -- i.e., we put special significance on things that happen in threes (which is probably why baseball has three strikes). He said that other cultures use different numbers.

On the other hand, a comedy teacher once told me that when something happens once, it has no significance; twice is a coincidence; three times is a pattern.


Also, Ian Fleming: "Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action." But the appeal of the baseball metaphor probably has something to do with it.

David Giacalone

That being settled, why do four balls permit a Walk?

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