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Number 23 for the Portland Rockies stepped up to the batter’s box that steaming July evening of 1995. Bad enough it was hot. It also had to be “Turn Back the Clock Night” at the Oregon ballpark. Accordingly, the Portland hitter was obliged to be outfitted in the fashion of 1920: stripy woolen jersey, matching pantaloons and long, itchy socks. His adversary on the mound, pitching for the Eugene Emeralds, was advantageously cooler in a contemporary uniform of breathable poly/cotton. Neither man, of course, could know his destiny four short years hence. One would become a hugely reviled personality in Big League baseball. The other would enroll at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, retiring from the game as a self-described “above average player.” But back to that steaming night: The southpaw pitcher wound up and delivered a devastating waist-high fastball to the righty at bat. In turn, David Feuerstein blasted the pitch clear up to the “rock pile” at Historic Civic Stadium — a dinger of better than 400 feet into the bleachers over left field. “That’s my big claim to fame,” said Feuerstein, 27. He offered the merest smile in remembrance of short-season A Ball in the minor leagues, and his encounter with John Rocker, the now-notorious Atlanta Braves hurler. Rocker’s dim view of immigrants, as quoted in the December 1999 issue of Sports Illustrated magazine, failed to charm the baseball world. A public backlash no doubt contributed to his subsequent poor performance for Atlanta, resulting in a temporary demotion back to the minors. At the same time that Rocker’s world was shaken, Feuerstein retired from baseball to take up the law. LEARNING FROM SPORTS “I know it’s a clich�,” said Feuerstein during a recent luncheon interview, “but one of the things you learn on the athletic field is probably one of the most important things in life: emotional control.” Over a plate of lamb chops, Feuerstein spoke of baseball, of course. He spoke of the law, too: of his signing on this summer as an associate with the New York-based firm of Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper and Scinto; and of his part in organizing this week’s daylong symposium at Cardozo — “Batter Up! From the Baseball Field to the Courthouse: Contemporary Issues Facing Baseball Practitioners.” While Feuerstein will not be engaged in baseball legal issues at Fitzpatrick Cella — he was hired for patent litigation and intellectual property matters — he said he would “somehow” keep his hand in the sport. Raymond R. Mandra, a partner at Fitzpatrick Cella who recruited Feuerstein, is quick to mention the firm’s softball team. “I’ve had the privilege of playing softball with him, last summer when he interned,” Mandra said of his recruit. “I can tell you he’s an incredible athlete.” But it is the law — not baseball, not medicine — to which Feuerstein is now committed. “I need a separation from baseball. I need to do something else,” Feuerstein said. “At Yale, I was thinking I would go into orthopedic surgery. But now I’m glad I didn’t. I think the personal relationships in law will be more rewarding than doctor-patient relationships.” For five seasons — including his first year at Cardozo — Feuerstein played as left fielder for such Colorado Rockies affiliate teams as the Portland squad of the same name, the Asheville Tourists, the Salem Avalanche, the Carolina Mudcats and the New Haven Ravens. “In legalese, it’s like being a first-year associate — only for more than just a year,” Feuerstein said of his career in the minors, which was something of an accident. “I was actually recruited by Yale [from Scarsdale High School] to play football.” He makes it sound easy. Playing football for Yale while on a scholastic track to medical school. “Just by coincidence, the baseball coach was also the defensive coordinator for the varsity football team,” Feuerstein said. “As the freshman squad, we were basically tackling dummies for varsity. All the big guys would come after me. I had a no-complaints attitude. I guess the baseball coach took a liking to me.” Save for the screws a doctor implanted into the top of his right hand — Feuerstein, as noted, is a righty — he said he had a “very good year” on the Yale freshman football squad. The injury was the result of Feuerstein’s hand being accidentally crushed between an opponent’s helmet and his own shoulder pad. “I either had to have the screws removed to continue football, or leave them in and play baseball. So I left them in,” Feuerstein said. One of the results of that decision is that his right index finger is a nip shorter than his left. “I had to learn how to throw again. I was throwing sinkers. That’s okay for a pitcher, but not so good for a fielder.” Nothing to it. “Right off the bat, you know Dave’s an easy-going person,” said Mandra. “Then you find he has a lot of drive. He had to work out a lot of things in order to go to [law] school. He juggled, and he did great.” Cardozo Professor Kyron Huigens spoke of Feuerstein’s juggling act — especially the first year, when Feuerstein had to skip orientation and the first full week of classes, and take his final examinations at Duke University in North Carolina, where he was playing at the time for the Mudcats. “We were willing to accommodate his playing baseball, and it worked out very well for us,” said Huigens, who was Feuerstein’s instructor in criminal law and procedure. “He’s the kind of student you want in your class. He was consistently the guy I would go to when there was a difficult question on the floor. He’s always thinking ahead, and thinking at a deeper level.” Likewise, Cardozo Professor Stewart Sterk said of Feuerstein’s sometimes frantic calendar. “He wanted his assignments ahead of time so he could spend as much time as possible reading during his road trips,” said Sterk, who teaches trust and estates. “He always wanted to stay on schedule. He’s an enormously responsible person.” BASEBALL SYMPOSIUM Although Professor Charles Yablon never had a classroom relationship with him, it was Feuerstein he tapped when he had the idea for the “Batter Up!” symposium. Monday’s scheduled speakers included Fay Vincent, the former baseball commissioner; Steve Greenberg, a former deputy baseball commissioner and co-founder of the Classic Sports Network; and David P. Samson, executive vice president of the Montreal Expos. Attendees topped off the day with dinner at Shea Stadium and a game between the New York Mets and the Houston Astros, courtesy of Mets owner and Cardozo donor Fred Wilpon. “When the idea first developed, he [Feuerstein] was the logical candidate to be the point person to help me get it organized,” said Yablon. “David was really good at bringing it all to fruition.” The ability to organize, Feuerstein suggested, is another valuable lesson from his baseball schooling. Not only did he have to keep his eye on the ball (literally), he had to find an accommodating law school, scholarship money (he is a Heyman scholar at Cardozo), and sustain a years-long romance with Dara Cohen, a woman he met when they were both camp counselors. “I had a lot of big phone bills,” Feuerstein said. He and Cohen became Mr. and Mrs. Feuerstein last January. “We waited to get married until I basically decided what I wanted to do.” Which leads to something else Feuerstein said he wants to do: “I’d like to coach a son or a daughter.”

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