SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – The City of San Jose and Major League Baseball head to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Tuesday, where the city will plead its case as to why the A’s should soon be playing ball in the South Bay.
A three-judge panel was set to hear arguments in the case Tuesday. At issue is whether the A’s should be allowed to relocate to a new ballpark in downtown San Jose despite opposition from league officials because the San Francisco Giants hold a territorial claim on Santa Clara County. League commissioner Bud Selig, who assigned a special committee to study the issue in March of 2009, has yet to issue a decision.
San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed told KCBS, however, that no industry should be allowed to tell his city what business they can’ do.
“We think it’s an excellent opportunity for us to get a ruling that would tell Major League Baseball that they’re not allowed to put a big red ‘x’ on my city and prohibit a team from coming here,” he said.
The clock is now ticking on the planned move. The A’s option on San Jose land for a ballpark expires in November.
The city’s lawsuit claims that blocking the A’s from doing business in town is a violation of antitrust laws.
Baseball officials have been exempt from those laws since a court decision made in 1922. Major League Baseball is the only professional sports organization which still enjoys antitrust exemption status.
While no one from MLB had commented on the appeal, but Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said she doesn’t think that San Jose has chance and that A’s owner Lew Wolff appears to want to stay put.
“We have two locations that are site controlled, where there’s money and investors where they could build if they want,” she said.
No matter what the court rules, the case is likely to go before the U.S. Supreme Court if the justices decide to hear the case.
KCBS, KPIX-5 and Chronicle Insider Phil Matier describes San Jose’ lawsuit largely as political theater.
“The real move is the clock ticking behind the scenes and the move to try to use this suit as leverage to embarrass Major League Baseball into making a decision.”