SBD/December 10, 2013/Franchises

MLB Attorneys Say Selig Rejected A's Move To San Jose Prior To City's Lawsuit

Selig rejected the A's proposal, but not the principle of relocation
Attorneys for MLB in a Friday court filing said that league Commissioner Bud Selig "told the Oakland Athletics six months ago that they would not be allowed to move to San Jose," according Bill Shaikin of the L.A. TIMES. Although no formal notification letter was included in the filing, MLB attorneys wrote Selig was "not satisfied with the club's relocation proposal." The filing called Selig's rejection of the move "his final decision." However, a source said that Selig's decision was "specific to that proposal and was not a judgment that the A's would not be allowed to move at all." Shaikin reported it is "expected that the league would consider a new proposal once the court case -- filed by the city of San Jose -- is resolved" (LATIMES.com, 12/7). In San Jose, Howard Mintz noted Friday was the "first time" MLB attorneys "argued they already made that decision in June -- a day before the city sued." The letter itself "has not been made public, thus it remains unclear how far it went in sidetracking the A's desire to relocate to San Jose, and whether it simply identified further steps the team would have to take to proceed." U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Whyte is "scheduled to hold a hearing in the case on Friday, when he will consider a variety of legal issues, including the importance of the letter" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 12/8). 

THIS ISN'T OVER: In S.F., Susan Slusser cited sources as saying that MLB "did not outrightly reject an A's move to San Jose, despite that contention" in the filings. Sources said that Selig's letter "addressed only the details of the stadium relocation proposal -- not the principle of relocation." The league "questioned the feasibility of that project and felt that insufficient financial information and attendance projections had been provided about a downtown San Jose site." The sources said that the nature of the dispute "suggests there is a chance that a revised stadium deal might still work" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 12/8).
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