SANTA CLARA (KCBS)— Major League Baseball revealed over the weekend that their commissioner sent a denial letter to the Oakland Athletics over the summer, to block their plans to move to San Jose.
Commissioner Bud Selig sent the letter to the A’s back on June 17th, but San Jose City Councilman Sam Liccardo said in the overall scheme of things that nothing changes and the team will continue to work with the city on the relocation bid.
“News of the demise of Major League Baseball in San Jose are greatly exaggerated. We have great opportunity to prevail in court,” Liccardo said.
The main point of contention the claim by the San Francisco Giants that they hold the territorial rights to the South Bay. MLB defines San Jose and its suburbs in Santa Clara County as the exclusive territory of the Giants.
“If in fact Major League Baseball sent a letter the day before we filed our lawsuit— if anything it strengthens our hand by showing that Major League Baseball has actively engaged in anti-competitive behavior,” he added.
Liccardo said the city will be back in court on Friday.
“We’re going to be pursuing effort to appeal the decision on the federal claims up to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. There are many legal experts who believe that is the last thing in the world that Major League Baseball wants to see is a federal appellate court with the ability to overturn an anti-trust exemption.”
MLB declined comment. Athletics owner Lew Wolff said in an email “I do not comment on legal proceedings” and “I continue to follow the process that MLB has set forth.”
While MLB decided there was not a proposal it could approve last June, it’s unclear whether that stance could change in the future.
U.S. District Judge Ronald M. Whyte decided in October to dismiss San Jose’s antitrust claims, citing the sport’s antitrust exemption created by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1922. He allowed the city to pursue allegations of contract interference.
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