Defending World Champions of Major League Baseball, the San Francisco Giants control the territorial rights to the city of San Jose. Well San Jose doesn’t much like this, and has decided to sue the MLB in an attempt to finally acquire the franchise it has desired.
San Francisco has blocked any attempts at relocating a team to San Jose out of fear of losing its market share. The relocated team would be just forty miles away from their own stadium. San Jose on the other hand, believes that such a block on relocation is against both state and federal laws in place to regulate marketplace competition.
The law suit is particulary targeting a portion of such marketplace competition laws that give Major League Baseball an exemption that allows them to establish “unreasonable restraint on competition.”
San Jose’s basis for suing the MLB in order to get the Oakland Athletics to move to their city can be summarized in a few words spoken by Joe Cotchett, the attorney representing the city. “All we’re looking for is for the A’s to come to downtown San Jose,” he said.
MLB Executive Vice President Rob Manfred released an emotionally charged statement in response to the news San Jose is suing his league over the Athletics. “The lawsuit is an unfounded attack on the fundamental structures of a professional sports league. It is regrettable that the city has resorted to litigation that has no basis in law or in fact.”
Courts have typically sided with the major sports leagues in cases such as this, allowing them to regulate their own competition and avoid intervening in such activities. However the city of San Jose believes its law suit against the Athletics will be successful because it is taking a different, economical approach.
In the suit, they argue that as a result of this block on their acquiring a baseball franchise, they have lost out on billions of dollars worth of job creation and other economic development that comes with possessing a sports franchise. Simply put, Cotchett says that “We’re going to challenge the exemption. I believe we’re going to win.”
The fight that San Jose has been battling through in hopes of gaining the Athletics, or any other franchise for that matter, has been on going since 2009. It started when Commissioner Bud Selig created a task force to explore the possibilities of moving the Athletics to San Jose. No decision, or plans to make one, have been announced in the four years since that task force was created, and the city has grown tired of the indecision.
Oakland Athletics’ management has not taken any supporting role in the law suit, believing that the matter should be settled away from the courts, according to Lew Wolff, managing partner of the Athletics. The Athletics have been exploring the possibility of relocating their franchise elsewhere for some time, although this apparently isn’t the means they see appropriate to do so.
The San Francisco Giants had no comment on the pending law suit.
Whether or not San Jose is successful in suing the MLB over acquiring the Athletics, they hope to gain the momentum necessary to finally realize their dream to have a baseball team in their city.
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieGille
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express