March Madness or Baseball?

American Sports

It’s spring, which means that as I write, there is March Madness basketball happening and baseball season is now underway. Which brings to mind the vast difference in how those two sports take space in our brains, as well as how different people process information.

What does any of this have to do with law, personal injury, or workers’ compensation? Read further and find out.

Immediacy Vs. Long-Term Outcome

For those unfamiliar with “March Madness,” the NCAA basketball tournament is a single-elimination playoff. The four lowest ranked teams play “play-in” games to enter the field of 64 teams. This is the same format in both the men’s and women’s tournaments.

Pretty simple—lose and you’re done and go home. Win and you advance. Win 6 games (or 7 if you are a play-in team and magically advance to and win in the final) and you are the national champion.

Compare and contrast this with baseball, which is a 162-game season lasting six months. And that’s before the playoffs. Each starting pitcher can expect thirty-plus starts. Some relief pitchers may appear in upwards of 100 games, and a few regular position players will play all 162 games, or close to that. It’s a long slog. A grind.

A team almost never wins or loses consistently; instead, baseball randomizes itself. A lousy team might win eight in a row, while a great team expected to win the World Series may lose 10 straight. Odd things happen. Injuries occur. When the dust settles at the end of the season, the best teams usually make the playoffs. Then you start the playoffs and baseball goes all “baseball” and you never know what’s going to happen. Teams who barely made the playoffs (like Arizona last year) nearly win it all.

Simply put, some of us (yes, you, prospective claimants, jurors, and the like) make decisions instantly. Others mull things in a non-linear fashion (yeah, that’s my wife!).

Again, what’s this have to do with personal injury, workers’ compensation, medical malpractice, or law?


If you are an immediate, linear thinker, you might sit on a jury and process information in a logical manner, checking off boxes (Duty? Check, breach of duty? Yes, damages? Okay. Damages proximately caused by defendant’s negligence? Got it. How much to compensate? Compare what the plaintiff's attorney asked for versus what the defendant's attorney claimed the case was worth. Weigh all the testimony and evidence. Decisions made. Relatively quickly and orderly, like a flow chart.

But what if you are a long-term muller? You might hear some evidence of how the crash occurred, but then go back to the defendant’s background, hung up by her check-kiting conviction. Or you’ll hear the whole trial, but in the jury room you may want to read the jury instructions again. Or do math to see how the attorney for the plaintiff arrived at the figures she asked for to compensate her client.

Mullers (baseball thinkers) may even wish to take time just to let things settle before making any initial decisions. Or they’ll make a decision (I think I believe the defendant more but I need to re-read the plaintiff’s testimony), only to not be certain enough and wish to revisit documents or transcripts before finalizing their thoughts.

Every fact of every single case is evaluated by someone who is more of a March Madness thinker or more of a baseball thinker. Doctors hearing you complain about your pain, the police officers or paramedics at the scene, the insurance adjuster or defense attorney. The plaintiff’s attorney. Every single juror. Judges too; some judges rule on motions immediately while many will defer ruling (“under advisement”) until a later time in the trial.

The way people process information, listen to your story, evaluate credibility, and arrive at decisions is affected by the way they think. Thus, it is really important to know who your audience is when presenting your facts. For example, your attorney may be a March Madness thinker and will evaluate your case quickly in the initial interview while the defense lawyer may be a baseball thinker, and she may repeatedly backtrack during your deposition to ask clarifying (or confusing) questions about areas already covered. Understanding this is key to how you present your information.


  • People evaluate information in different ways
  • Thinking about the NCAA Tournament vs. professional baseball is one way to conceive of this dichotomy
  • It is important to understand the type of thinker(s) to whom you are presenting your information, so you can tailor your approach and presentation

Contact Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Stephen Hoffman

As in all cases involving injury, dog bites or injuries, workers’ compensation, medical malpractice, or other injury and potential liability, if you have been injured by someone’s negligence immediately get medical treatment, report the crash to police and your own insurance company, and contact a lawyer with expertise in your type of case, such as bicycle accidents or pedestrians hit by cars.

If you've been in an accident and have questions, contact Chicago personal injury attorney Stephen L. Hoffman for a free consultation at (773) 944-9737. Stephen has over 30 years of legal experience and has collected millions of dollars for his clients. He is listed as a SuperLawyer, has a 10.0 rating on Avvo, and is BBB A+ accredited. He is also an Executive Level Member of the Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce.

Stephen handles personal injury claims on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay anything up front, and he only gets paid if you do. Don’t wait another day; contact Stephen now.

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