SAN JOSE (CBS Sports) — It was always assumed that the Oakland A’s-San Francisco Giants dispute over whether the former can relocate to San Jose would wind up in court. That’s still probably the case, but now there’s a wrinkle.

The Giants claim nebulous “territorial rights” to the San Jose market, and on that basis they’re trying to prevent the Athletics from relocating there (note that in doing so, the A’s would be moving farther away from the Giants). Well, now a San Jose city official is preparing to take the fight to the Giants.

It was in his 2010 State of the City address when San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed wore a green shirt and yellow tie and said he predicted that his city would gain the voter’s approval to move ahead with a Major League Baseball stadium in San Jose. He even went as far as to boast, “Go San Jose A’s”.

Since then there has been no official movement in that direction, and now City Councilman Sam Liccardo, who represents the downtown area, said it’s time to start looking at legal action.

“It’s time for us to force the issue, because we know that the one impediment to this move is located in San Francisco, and that’s the ownership and the lawyers and the lobbyists for the San Francisco Giants,” said Liccardo.

Liccardo proposes suing the Giants, challenging Major League Baseball’s coveted anti-trust exemption while using attorneys willing to be paid only out of a future settlement so that it wouldn’t cost taxpayers a dime.

“We have all of the upside and none of the risk,” Liccardo said.

But Andrew Zimbalist, a sports economist at Smith College, said it’s more likely the threat of a lawsuit could finally bring all sides to the table.

“It’s not crazy to challenge the anti-trust exemption. It’s something that could have legal success,” he said.

In response to proposed legal action by the city councilman, A’s owner Lew Wolfe released the following statement Monday afternoon:

“We are a part of the MLB partnership and will continue to respect the Constitution and agreements that govern our participation in MLB. We seek our needed new venue based solely on the merits of the move and the benefits to MLB, the A’s and our fans and sponsors.”

The San Francisco Giants did not comment on the issue Monday.

(Copyright 2013 CBS San Francisco and CBS Sports. All rights reserved.)

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