SJ battles MLB in court to bring A's to South Bay

October 4, 2013 6:24:55 PM PDT
The latest fight over a proposal to move the Oakland A's to the South Bay played out in a San Jose courtroom Friday. Major League Baseball is trying to stop a lawsuit by San Jose challenging MLB's antitrust exemption.

It's a legal battle that could last for years.

While the A's focus on the playoffs, San Jose's legal team of Joe Cotchett and Phil Gregory headed to a federal courtroom to convince a judge not to dismiss the case. Commissioner Bud Selig and Major League Baseball argue that they're exempt from antitrust laws so San Jose can't sue them over a proposed A's move to the South Bay.

"They say they have an exemption from a 1922 Supreme Court case. We take the position, quite frankly, as you heard in the courtroom, that this exemption they claim has long passed. It is gone and is not relevant to the economy of today," Cotchett said.

District Court Judge Ronald Whyte will review past challenges of baseball's antitrust exemption before making a decision in about a month. No matter which way he decides, the case is expected to be appealed by the losing side.

The A's themselves are not part of the lawsuit. However, ABC7 News broke the news first on Twitter Friday morning that the A's sent a $25,000 check to San Jose to extend the option on land near Diridon Train Station for a San Jose baseball stadium. The check is marked "void" because it's a copy.

"So, that option agreement is alive and well, and we're still trying to work with the A's to bring them to the South Bay," said San Jose City Attorney Rick Doyle.

Major League Baseball's attorney, John Keker of San Francisco, declined interviews after the nearly 2-hour hearing. A request for comment from the office of the baseball commissioner in New York was not returned.

San Jose City Councilmember Sam Liccardo expects this to be a protracted legal fight. "We're simply going to dig in and keep pushing, recognizing the settlement may not be any time soon. We may have to push this all the way to the Supreme Court," he said.

Load Comments