San Jose, MLB square off in court over A's relocation

Selig comments on San Jose lawsuit

San Jose, MLB square off in court over A's relocation
October 4, 2013, 8:00 pm
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San Jose is arguing it has been hurt financially because MLB has delayed a decision on the proposed relocation. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

Lawyers for the city of San Jose and Major League Baseball squared off Friday in federal court as MLB asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit by the city that accuses the league of unlawfully preventing the Oakland A's from moving to San Jose.

U.S. District Judge Ronald Whyte, who asked questions of both sides during the nearly two-hour hearing, said at the end of the session that he would "try to get a decision out shortly."

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San Jose, which filed an antitrust suit in June against MLB and league commissioner Bud Selig, wants a trial held on claims the city has been harmed economically due to the league's "unlawful exercise of market power" in blocking the A's from relocating to the South Bay.

Whyte began Friday's hearing by reviewing major issues in the case, such as the scope of MLB's exemption from antitrust laws, first expressed by a 1922 Supreme Court decision that said baseball was not involved in interstate commerce so those laws do not apply to the league.

Whyte said that antitrust laws apply to other major professional sports, such as boxing and football, and the fact that it does not hold for MLB "doesn't make any sense but that is what the law says."


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