SBD/June 24, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

San Jose Lawsuit Could Open "Can Of Worms" Regarding MLB Territorial Rights



Reed said he has no doubt A's Owner Lew Wolff would move the team to San Jose
One of the "big fears" MLB has regarding the lawsuit the city of San Jose filed against the league last week about the A's proposed move to the city is that it could open a "can of worms that Major League Baseball has to be worried about opening," according to ESPN's Jayson Stark. The suit is trying to get the A's moved into what "legally in writing" is Giants territory, and Stark asked, "What’s next? Are the Rays then going to move to Brooklyn? Is somebody going to start moving a third team to L.A.?" ESPN's Buster Olney noted if the lawsuit goes forward, it almost gives MLB an “excuse to then at that point go to the Giants and say, ‘Look, from an industry standpoint we don’t want the commissioner testifying under oath so we have to make your best deal with Oakland to allow the Athletics to go down to San Jose” (“Baseball Tonight,” ESPN2, 6/23). In S.F., John Shea noted there is "thought in the industry that MLB quietly might welcome the lawsuit, which breaks the impasse over the A's stadium situation without making MLB the bad guys." MLB and team owners "wouldn't want to open their books to scrutiny, which could happen in an antitrust suit, so the league could simply tell the Giants 'sorry' and erase the delineated territories." However, the opposing view is that the Giants "have support from some of the other 28 owners who want their own territories protected, afraid a precedent would be set for teams to pitch tents in their backyards." San Jose would "gain a huge victory if the case isn't thrown out, thus advancing to the discovery process, in which it could gather information from baseball that baseball doesn't want to surrender" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 6/23).

MAYOR EXPLAINS LAWSUIT: San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed on Thursday appeared on S.F.-based KNBR-AM to discuss the city's lawsuit against MLB and said, "I just eventually reached the point where I concluded we were never going to get an answer out of Major League Baseball. For whatever reason, (MLB Commissioner Bud Selig) didn't want to talk to us and didn't want to tell us why he didn't want to talk to us. We needed to get these territorial things out of the way, so that either me, or a future mayor, or a future council would have a shot at a baseball team." Reed added, "I'm not trying to steal a team, I'm trying to keep them in the Bay Area. They need a new place. They tried and tried and tried in Oakland, they tried in Fremont, it's not going to happen. Oakland had a long, long time to try to put a deal together, and it didn't happen." KNBR co-host Gary Radnich asked, "If the Giants said, 'All right, you can have this territory. We'll relinquish our territorial rights' Would the deal be done?" Reed responded, "I think so. I don't have any doubt that (A's Owner) Lew Wolff wants to do it. They have the capacity to do it. We have the capacity to deliver. The deal would happen." Asked if he had ever tried to talk to the Giants about the situation, Reed said, "No, I didn't feel that was my role. I wanted to let Lew do what he does inside baseball. I didn't want to step on his toes or interfere with that. The relationship inside Major League Baseball is something I don't know anything about" ("Gary and Larry," KNBR-AM, 6/20).

YOU GOT SERVED: In S.F., Scott Ostler reported a process server for city of San Jose attorney Joe Cotchett on Wednesday showed up in the "lobby of Selig's office building on Park Avenue in Manhattan." MLB "refused to send anyone down from Selig's 31st-floor office to meet and greet the server, and they also refused to permit the server to come up to the 31st." After some "back-and-forth, an attorney at Cotchett's firm e-mailed an attorney for Selig." The e-mail read in part, "Because you will not accept service, we will instruct our process servers to effect personal service on the Commissioner immediately." Selig's attorneys on Friday morning decided "to be served with the papers that require Selig to appear in court within 60 days to file a document stating why, in Selig's opinion, San Jose's lawsuit has no merit." Had Selig and his lawyers "continued to play hide-and-seek, Cotchett was planning to send his process server to Selig's residence" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 6/23).
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