Jeff Lipshaw started a great discussion over at the Legal Profession Blog about Tony LaRussa's decision not to require an inspection of Kenny Rogers while Rogers was on the pitching mound during the second game of the World Series.
Let's assume, as Jeff did, that if the inspection had occurred while Rogers was on the mound, the umpires would have found pine tar on Rogers's hand and that Rogers would have been tossed from the game and suspended for the rest of the Series. Let's also assume that LaRussa, who happens to be a lawyer, decided not to take advantage of this opportunity, because he "didn't want to win that way" against his good friend, the manager of the Tigers. (Both assumptions are strongly supported by news stories.)
Using legal ethics as an analogy, I believe that LaRussa made a mistake. In my mind, the most appropriate legal ethics analogy would be if a lawyer produced discovery but intentionally withheld a smoking gun document. This lawyer ("the producing lawyer") cheated and didn't play by the rules. Now let's assume that the recipient of the discovery ("the receiving lawyer") comes to learn of the producing lawyer's rule violation. Is there any doubt whatsoever that the receiving lawyer should march directly into court and seek severe sanctions against the producing lawyer? Certainly, the receiving lawyer should not call the producing lawyer and say, "I just learned that you didn't give me some documents that were directly responsive to my document requests. Would you mind sending me a copy? Get them to me tomorrow, and we won't need to mention this to the court." The latter course wouldn't be justified, even if the receiving lawyer was good friends with either the producing lawyer or some partner at the producing lawyer's firm.
Personally, I am not a believer in the zealous advocacy model in its purest form, but I do think zealous advocacy plays an important role in lawyering. And it seems to me that zeal is particularly appropriate in response to an opponent who engages in rule-breaking behavior in order to gain a tactical advantage in litigation.
Is my analogy appropriate? Is there another legal ethics analogy that would actually support LaRussa's decision not to act in his team's best interests?